Skip to comments.IRAN PROPOSED REFERENDUM TO NORMALISE TIES WITH WASHINGTON
Posted on 04/12/2003 11:57:32 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
PARIS 12 Apr. (IPS) Iranian ruling ayatollahs, seriously concerned at the perspective of being the next on the Americas list of rogue regimes to be removed from power, paved Saturday the way for normalising relations with the United States, suggesting to organise a national referendum on the subject.
The proposal was made by Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in an interview with "Rahbord" (Strategy) periodical, saying the problem of Iran's thorny relations with both the US and Egypt could be resolved through a referendum or by referring it to the Assembly for Discerning the Interests of the State (ADIS, or Expediency Council).
As some political analysts interpreted the suggestion as a "turning point" in the 24 years-old life of the Islamic Republic or describing it "a great leap forward", other cautioned against "over simplification" and said it is a "new cup of poison" the clerical leaders are drinking in order to save the regime, referring to the dramatic decision taken by the leader of the Islamic Revolution in 1989, accepting a United Nations resolution proclaiming cease-fire in the war with Iraq.
"Now that the ruling ayatollahs have realised the danger that looms over their head, that this American Administration is serious in its menaces, they try to get out of the pit in which they had plunged themselves", commented Mr. Ahmad Ahrar, a seasoned political analyst.
"Even if they are sincere, the big question is whether Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, the flag bearer of the policy of no dialogue with the Great Satan has the backing of the hard liners who control the Iranian theocratic system from behind the scene or it is just a political game aimed at fooling the hawks in Washington?" he said.
But other observers noted that coming from Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani, the regimes second most influential voice after that of the leader, the proposal must have been already decided by the Khameneh'i, Hashemi Rafsanjani and Khatami Troika.
"Unites States biggest mistake would be to shake the hands of the Islamic Republic, a regime that has no legitimacy with the Iranian people, a regime that is in a vegetal state. If the Americans fall fool of these statements and buy such lies, they would also loose the sympathy they enjoy with the Iranians", said one students leader speaking on cndition of anonymity.
"If the American want establish real democracy in the region, they must help Iranians to change their regime", he added.
"Of course the leader should approve the final decision", Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani, who chairs the Expediency Council, pointed out, adding: "When an issue turns into a problem, it is referred to the Expediency Council to make a decision on that and when we approve an issue we send it to the leader who usually accepts it", he told the weekly, as reported by the official news agency IRNA.
A consultative body to the leader of the Islamic Republic, the 32-members ADIS also arbitrates in disputes between the Majles and the conservatives-controlled Council of Guardians (CG), which must approve all laws adopted by the parliament to make sure they are in strict conformity with Islamic canons, and also vets all candidates to all elections.
"In both cases of, the proposal would be approved, as, in the one hand, members of the EC are appointed by the leader and on the other, opinion polls shows that more than 74 per cent of the nation approve normalisation of ties with Washington", one analyst told Iran Press Service.
Under the present Constitution, the supreme leader decides on the governments major policies, both domestic and foreign.
But Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani said the issue of Iran's resumption of ties with the US and Egypt is not included among Iran's general policies. "It is clear that the problems with the US and Egypt do exist, and we have had these problems from the era of the late founder of the Islamic Revolution Imam Khomeini", he said, without explaining.
Reminding remarks by Grand Ayatollah Roohollah Khomeini placing the interests of the State above those of the faith, Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani observed that
"Therefore, whenever it comes to our interests, we can solve whatever foreign problem which is threatening us from the viewpoint of Islam".
"Our ideology is flexible. We can choose our interests on the basis of Islam. Still, to put the country in jeopardy on the ground that we are acting on an Islamic basis is not at all Islamic", he said, noting that Iran's stance of distancing itself from the US is "political rather than religious".
Elsewhere in the interview, Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani criticised the Foreign Affairs Ministry for its "weaknesses" and accepted that the problem come from a lack of experienced staff.
"It is true that in the early years after Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, the experienced experts of the Ministry fled the country or were dismissed, replaced by a group of youth who took over the affairs of a Ministry which like the Foreign Affairs requires knowledge, expertise and prudence", he said.
"We should not be biased. We have lost many opportunities in the past, we have made inappropriate measures or never made any measure, and we have also delayed in making decisions", he acknowledged.
Washington cut all relations with the newly established Islamic Republic of Iran after revolutionary students now most of them turned reformists and defending dialogue with the United States -- stormed the American embassy in Tehran and held 55 diplomats and staff as hostage for 444 days.
Tehran cut ties with Egypt after former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat signed the Camp David peace treaty with Israel and sheltered the deposed Shah of Iran. ENDS IRAN US RELATIONS 12403
It appears the pressure is on the Iranian leadership. The people want a national referendum on the future of their governemnt. I believe this is just an attempt to calm down the pro US sentiment in Iran. It is looking like Iran is taking the same path as the former USSR. They would only do this if they see no other option.
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