By: Kayhan Int’l Staff Writer
Friday’s huge turnout of voters nationwide for electing candidates of their choice to the 11th 4-year term of the Majlis – parliament or legislature – was yet another proof of the Iranian people’s enthusiasm for pillars of the system of popular religious rule governing the country.
As usual, the long queues at the ballot boxes in several cities and towns made election officials extend the deadline for casting of votes, from 18 hours to 20 hours, and to 22 hours – as we go to the press.
It is now 41 years since the victory of the Islamic Revolution, and the millions, or more properly the multimillions (as the population now stands at over 83 million), have continued to be present on the scenes that determine the destiny, the identity, the power, the prestige, and the independence of the nation.
What a dynamic legacy did Imam Khomeini, who delivered the country from domestic despotism and foreign hegemony by holding the first ever fair and free public vote in Iran’s history – the nationwide referendum on 1st April 1979 for establishing the Islamic Republic – bequeathed to the nation!
Over the past four decades an average of at least one nationwide election has been held every year for the various elected bodies, such as the Presidency, the Parliament, the Municipal Councils, and the Assembly of Experts that determines the Leader and supervises his performances.
On every occasion the massive number of voters not just indicates the Iranian people’s unflinching support for the Islamic Republic and its dedicated leadership, but a teeth-smashing punch on the mouth of Global Arrogance, especially the Great Satan (the U.S.), which has the sickening habit of blaring its media horns in vain to heap all sorts of lies against Iran in a vain bid to dissuade the Iranian people from exercising their right to vote.
As a matter of fact, over the past few months Washington has been receiving blow after terrible blow from the Iranian people as they take to the streets in tens of millions all over the country to decry the violence perpetrated by American agents, to pay homage to Martyr General Qassem Soleimani, and to celebrate the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution.
An exasperated U.S. is now at its wit’s end, as is evident by its "sour grapes reaction” at the multitudinous turnouts of the Iranian people.
The criminals in the White House, who are not the true representatives of the American people because of the highly flawed system of the Electoral College, and who waste no time in felicitating the dubious winners of the mostly rigged elections in several world countries where the turnout hardly exceeds 30 percent of the eligible voters, accuse Iran of depriving religious minorities of their rights, when facts and statistics speak otherwise.
As per the clauses of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Constitution, the recognized religious minorities are Christians, Zoroastrians, and Jews, who as citizens of Iran enjoy equal rights as their Muslim compatriots.
Article 4 has reserved five parliamentary seats for the minority representatives on the basis of their numbers in the country. These representatives take care of the affairs of the followers of their faith, freedom of ceremonies of worship in churches, synagogues and fire temples, as well the right to speak and teach their respective languages to their communities.
For instance, the Christians who are numerous compared to the other minority religions in Iran are divided into followers of the Armenian Church, the Assyrian Church, and the Chaldean Church. Interestingly, these ancient Christian sects have their own languages and rites of worship, for the practice of which they have complete freedom. The government also allocates a separate budget for the religious minorities, in order to enable them to conduct their cultural and sporting festivals, as well as religious ceremonies.
According to Article 13, they actively take part in elections and the lawmaking process by electing to the parliament, representatives of their own community. This is in sharp contrast to the western countries which claim to champion human rights, but deny religious minorities their basic rights. For instance, Muslims constitute 3.5% of Germany’s population, but they are not represented in the German parliament. The same is the case in France, Britain, and the U.S.
Even India, which claims to be world’s largest democracy and has more than 250 million Muslims, has only a very few Muslim MPs, because Indian Muslims are not allowed to elect representatives of their own community for the Legislature and are forced to vote for members of the majority community who are not familiar with, or are unconcerned, about the rights and welfare of the followers of Islam.
This means the Islamic Republic of Iran has the most dynamic system of government in the world, and the 11th parliament which is taking shape promises to be a bastion for protection of the rights of the people in the face of the terrorist policies of the U.S.