Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Ayatollah Montazeri interview with Iraqi news agency Aswathura

Translated over at MEMRI.

So who would Montazeri be giving interviews too without an independent press in Iraq?
The Rulers Say: We Have No Need for Parties, The Mosques are Our Parties... The Elections are a [Mere] Formality, and If a Citizen Expresses Dissent, He is Subject to Persecution

"If we want a truly popular government, then the elites of society, and those possessing political thought and awareness, must independently establish parties - parties that will be able to form and oversee a government. But this is not happening. The rulers say: We have no need for parties; the mosques are our parties. That is, if somebody speaks in a mosque, what he says takes on the aura of religious law, and he motivates the people to go and vote for so-and-so and do such-and-such.

"This is wrong. If we want a popular government, people must have a genuine role in forming and maintaining it. They need to oversee [the government], provided that they do not overstep the law or the principle of 'the rule of the jurisprudent' that is laid out in the constitution. [The ruling jurisprudent] must ensure that the government does not stray from the Islamic checks and balances. He should not be the absolute ruler who controls everything.

"For this reason, the administration must be given to the public and to the political elites, by way of the parties... To date, the parties have not been allowed to play their part. Temporary parties are formed and elections are conducted as a [mere] formality, and promises are given - and if a citizen expresses dissent, he is subject to persecution..."

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