Is there a shared responsibility of the authorities in Iran?

Commentary Materials 12 May 2018 13:23 (UTC +04:00)
If something goes wrong in Iran, it is the president who bears the responsibility, while the Supreme Leadership should always remain beyond criticism.
Is there a shared responsibility of the authorities in Iran?

Baku, Azerbaijan, May 12

By Azer Ahmadbayli – Trend:

If something goes wrong in Iran, the president is seen as responsible, while the Supreme Leadership should always remain beyond criticism.

Recently, Tehran’s Culture and Media Court signed a decree for telecommunication companies to block the Telegram on the pretext of protecting national security.

In Iran, Telegram app is used by almost a half of the population.

The Iranian president said it was not his administration that blocked the Telegram messaging service, the IFP News reported.

“So far, no social network or messenger has been blocked and will not be blocked by this administration. The recent filtering and blocking of Telegram was neither done, nor approved by the administration,” Rouhani wrote on his Instagram page.

Then, President Rouhani made another comment. Responding on criticism that the Telegram, among other sins, is a source of pornography and amorality, he posted the following: “If someone bought gasoline at a gas station, and then used it to set fire to someone's house, does this mean that we should close all the gas stations? Sometimes in social networks some people scold and insult the government, but I believe this is also no reason to close them.”

Why has President Rouhani dissociated himself from that decision so clearly and without further ado? After all, he could remain silent or say something about "terrorist threat" Telegram poses to the state.

But no, he further says: “Any move pertaining to executive affairs which is done without going through legal procedures by using force and judicial channels runs counter to the motto of “Independence, Freedom, Islamic Republic” and is the direct opposite to democracy.”

Most of the comments in social networks criticize the presidential administration or express mistrust to Rouhani’s position.

This user also remains skeptical about Rouhani’s power: “Mr. President, I am addressing you. You are the nation’s first executive person. You have no right, under various pretexts, to shift matters that you are responsible for, onto others. Cancel Telegram filtering or, if you can’t do it, resign and we will elect the state’s new executive power.”

There have been fewer comments in the Net that supported the president.

The post says: “If Telegram is still working, it means that behind the scene there is an implacable war going on between Rouhani and the internet-filtering brothers. We will be standing by him.”

The exact answer to above said question remains open, but it seems Rouhani is quite sincere in his words.

And yet… tension among the top Iranian leadership is increasing, and this is not in favor of Rouhani. After all, he, though a member of the regime, is only a president, that is the executor of the will of the Supreme Leadership.

In this regard one can recall the words of the former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, who once characterized the post of a president in Iran as a “chief of logistics.”

Many Iranians, who voted for Rouhani, are now disappointed that since the nuclear agreement was signed, domestic problems are not only unresolved, but many have worsened.

But is it solely Rouhani who has to bear responsibility for that? Aren’t all significant steps in Iran's domestic and foreign policy taken after the approval of the Supreme Leader?

Khamenei controls all the power institutions in the country, including the judiciary that has blocked Telegram. Why not to say to 40 millions of his people – followers of Telegram: it is me who gave an order to ban this social network. Or would he be disgusted by the Iranians' anger?

It is interesting who in Iran - except for the US and President Trump - will be named a major contributor to the failure of the nuclear agreement and imposition of new sanctions due to his “moderate” policy. I think it will also be President Rouhani and his administration.