۱۳۹۱ فروردین ۱۸, جمعه

The English Version of My Latest Article " A Non-Iranian Can be the Supreme Leader, but Has no Travel Rights"

A Non-Iranian Can be the Supreme Leader, but Has no Travel Rights Nargess Tavasolian: A while ago on the Day of Nature, the remarks of an Iranian official brought forth the anger of many Iranians. Ahmad-Reza Shafiei, the head of the security committee of the tourist board of Isfahan announced that Afghans were disbarred from going to the mountain park of Safe. He justified this decision by claiming that it was taken for the security and welfare of Iranian citizens. This racist policy pursued by the Iranian official comes as the Islamic republic of Iran joins the international convention on removing all forms of racial discrimination, according to which it is committed to remove such practices and laws. But what is important to point out is that not only are the Iranian regime’s policies and laws racially discriminatory against non-Iranians, but that there are basic contradictions in Iranian laws and the constitution over the issue of nationality. Non-Iranians are generally deprived of many citizenship rights while there are no nationality requirements for the most senior positions in the Islamic republic, such as the supreme leader, the head of the judiciary, members of the Experts Assembly, and members of the Guardians Council. Here are some of the discrepancies. 1-Leadership Article 109 of the constitution lays down four conditions for the supreme leader, which are that he have the scientific qualification to pass judgment on Islamic law, be fair and just to be the leader of the Islamic nation, and have the right political and social view, including thought, bravery, management and the power to be a leader. The two leaders, ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei, since the 1979 revolution have of course been Iranians. But this may not always be the case and so it is possible that the leader who has vast authority (including being the supreme commander of the armed forces, can appoint the clerical members of the Guardians Council, can appoint the highest judiciary authority, can appoint the head of the national radio and television network, can appoint the joint chief of staff of the armed forces, can appoint the supreme commander of the Revolutionary Guards, can appoint the supreme military and law enforcement officers, etc) may turn out to be a non-Iranian by birth. 2-Members of the Experts Assembly The most important task of this body is the appointment of the supreme leader. Article 107 of the constitution in this regard says that the selection of the supreme leader is the prerogative of the experts elected by people. Article 108 of the constitution says that members of the first Assembly will be elected by the Guardians Council and approved by the supreme leader. Following the first Assembly, all regulations regarding the duties and qualifications will be determined by the Assembly itself. According to article 9 of the implementation regulations of the Assembly, the qualifications for being elected to the Assembly are that the candidates be Iranian but in article 11 says that this is not a necessary condition for being election. This article says that the candidates must be religious and have outstanding morals and ethics, must fully understand Islamic jurisprudence and have studied at the prominent theological centers so that they can identify senior clerics and leaders; must have political, social and current affairs knowledge; must pledge allegiance to the Islamic republic, and; must not have political or social criminal records. It is clear that non-Iranians can get into the Experts Assembly. 3-Members of the Guardians Council Article 91 of the constitution says that to protect rules of Islam and the constitution and to ensure that the laws of the Majlis are not in contradiction with them, a body shall be set up under the name of the Guardians Council whose responsibilities will be such: Six just clerics to be appointed by the supreme leader, and; Six lawyers to be introduced to the Majlis by the head of the judiciary and elected by a vote of the Majlis. The Guardians Council has vast authority that includes the veto right over any legislation passed by the Majlis, and it has the authority to oversee all elections. Here too, there is not specific requirement that members of the Council must be Iranian born. 4-Members of the State Expediency Council The most important decision making body in the Islamic republic, after the supreme leader, is the State Expediency Council, which enjoys vast authority under the constitution. Article 112 says that the body is set up on orders of the supreme leader to resolve instances when the Guardians Council rejects the laws passed by the Majlis on grounds that they are unconstitutional or contrary to the principles of Islam. The supreme leader shall identify the permanent and rotating members of the Council. So the leader is free to appoint anyone he wishes to this body, which includes any non-Iranian born person. 5-The Judiciary The head of the judiciary in the Islamic republic can also be a non-Iranian. Article 157 of the constitution says that the supreme leader can appoint one just cleric, who is knowledgeable in judiciary and who has managerial capabilities to head the judiciary for five years. As is clear, there is no requirement that the person be Iranian-born. It is noteworthy that while there are no specific stipulations that the highest offices and authorities in the Islamic republic be Iranian born, lower positions require this very clearly. For example, while the highest judiciary authority does not have to be Iranian, all judges must be Iranian by nationality. The employment rules to the government service also require that candidates be Iranian by nationality. 6-The Legislature Members of the legislature must be Iranian nationals. But what is significant is that while a Lebanese or Iraqi cleric cannot become the head of the judiciary or vote in the elections for the Majlis, he can become a member of the Guardians Council and join those who can veto the laws passed by the Majlis. 7-Membes of the Armed forces and the Police Iranian nationality is a requirement to join the members of the armed forces or the police. Article 145 of the constitution specifically says that non-Iranians cannot join these forces. So Palestinians cannot do this, but according to article 110 the supreme leader who is the supreme commander of the armed forces can be a Palestinian. So the very same Afghan national who is barred from going to a park can be appointed to the Guardians Council or become the head of the judiciary or even become the supreme leader of the Islamic republic of Iran. But were the authors of Iran’s constitution aware of these contradictions when they wrote the document in 1979? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- http://www.roozonline.com/persian/news/newsitem/archive/2012/april/05/article/a-non-iranian-can-be-the-supreme-leader-but-has-no-travel-rights.html

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