Azerbaijan, Baku, June 1 / Trend , D.Khatinoglu/
Advisor to former Iranian Spiritual Leader Imam Khomeini, Ex-Foreign Minister Ebrahim Yazdi spoke with Trend Persian Desk in an exclusive interview.
Trend : Recently, reports have been spread on the arrest of Imad Behaver, a member of the Freedom Movement of Iran and a supporter of presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi. What can you say about the intervention in the electoral process in the country and pressure from the governmental agencies?
Ebrahim Yazdi: This happens for several reasons. One of them is one group's intention to keep the electoral process under its control. They fear failure of their candidates in elections, as it was in 1997. In every country, the government does not agree with the current situation and is trying to prevent it by intervening in the process during such situations. Besides the arrest of members of the Movement for Freedom and Behavar and Motamidimehr, we are witnessing other events, as well. From reliable sources, we are aware of attacks on election headquarters, candidates' images were torn in the central streets. The only reason this kind of action is fear of this group's failure in the elections.
Q: Unlike the presidential elections, held four years ago, the parties and organizations have not boycotted the electoral process this year. What do you think of the main reason for refusal from the boycott?
A: The main reason is that the tactic of boycott of elections in Iran has been proved to be ineffective. In other countries, boycotting the elections can yield any fruit. Political parties are using the boycott to influence on people's decision refuse to participate in the polling. That is the party's position can influence the people's choice. In doing so, politicians and party leaders may apply the boycott to ensure the democratic conduct of elections. However, in Iran, it has no meaning, because the people take part in the election, not basing on the positions of political figures and parties. From this point of view, the boycott of elections in Iran could lead to the opposite effect. Political camps should encourage people to actively participate in the elections. Boycott of the elections did not give positive results, and may even hurt the boycotting figures, as well.
We have witnessed this in the Iranian municipal, parliamentary and presidential elections. People's passive participation in the elections led to the victory of a certain group of people. In the presidential election of 2005, some parties and camps declared a boycott of the elections, the people were inactive, and it was resulted in Ahmadinejad's victory. The figures criticizing Ahmadinejad and being against of his re-election are aware that a boycott leads to quite opposite results. At present, we see that those who boycotted the previous elections are actively participating in the electoral process this year.
Q: Presidential candidates Mousavi, Karroubi and Rezai strongly criticized Ahmadinejad. They accuse him of leading the country to crisis and collapse. What do you think about it? Did Ahmadinejad's presidency lead to crisis in the country?
A: Yes, Iran actually faces crisis in different areas, but it began not during Ahmadinejad's tenure. However, economic crisis got out of control during Ahmadinejad's presidency. During the past four years, fifty well-known Iranian economists contacted the president by a letter and informed him about it and said that his economic policy will lead to economic crisis. Some of these economists were working for the Ahmadinejad government and some were persons close to him who have served in parliament or other bodies. All have a common view that policy of the Ahmadinejad government led to economic crisis in Iran.
Q: Majority of presidential candidates in Iran has promised to evenly distribute oil revenues among population. However, great part of economy experts argues that it will cause high inflation in the country. Can these promises be fulfilled? Can they influence people's choice?
A: Similar economic transformation is fruitless. It is naïve to think about the equal distribution of oil revenues among the population in order to achieve economic equality on the backdrop of a crisis. Regarding the impact of this issue on the election, I can say that part of such promises has an impact on the population. But candidates should not think that these promises may attract people. This happens mostly because of the lack of political literacy among the population. I think despite the fact that such promises will have some impact on the population as a whole, they will prove ineffective.
Q: U.S. President Barack Obama has announced its readiness to continue talks with Iran after elections. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad expressed the same intention. Formation of a new government following elections in Iran will take 4-5 months. How would you describe process of improving ties between Iran and U.S. after elections?
A: After being elected President U.S. President Barack Obama said he is interested in improving ties with Iran. On the other hand, there were statements that Iran intends to respond to intentions to begin dialogue. Ahmadinejad probably was interested in these discussions before the elections. Some experts believe that if the discussions had been held before the election, it would increasthe chances for re-election of Ahmadinejad. However, these talks have been postponed for some reasons.
I think whoever wins the elections in Iran, those who in Iran make decision about talks with the United States, will once again consider this issue positively. It does not matter who becomes president - Ahmadinejad or any other candidate. In this respect the final decision is made not by President, but National Security Council. Under the Iranian Constitution, the Council determines foreign policy and leader of Iran approve it. I think regardless of who wins the election, the question of the discussions between Tehran and Washington will remain on the agenda.