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Netiran>Interview with Mohammad Javad Larijani; Forget All Prominent Figures

Netiran>Articles>Politics>Internal Affairs>Interview with Mohammad Javad Larijani; Forget All Prominent Figures: "Date Added:Dec 11 2003 Print Version

Interview with Mohammad Javad Larijani; Forget All Prominent Figures

Jam-e-Jam, Daily Newspaper, Vol. 4, No. 1033, Dec. 11st, 2003, Page 8
By : Farshad Mehdipoor
Word Count : 2020

Deputy Head of judiciary for international affairs Mohammad Javad Larijani is a conservative politician but he sometimes speaks differently from other conservatives. In an interview with Jam-e-Jam, he comments on Iran's human rights challenges, Iran-US ties and the seventh legislative elections. Larijani calls on the conservatives to forget about their prominent forces and let younger ones run for poll. In that case, he believes, that 50-60 new conservative lawmakers will wean seats in Majlis.
Mohammad Javad Larijani

We met Dr Mohammad Javad Larijani in a rainy evening. We passed through scattered buildings to reach the office of the 54-year-old politician. An attractive white Benz led us to the office. The mathematician and philosopher, Dr Larijani warmly received us in his office. He exchanged pleasantry with us. We talked about Iran's human rights record, Iran-US ties and the Feb 2004 parliamentary poll. Asked to tell us his prediction about legislative elections, he quipped that his predictions always prove wrong!

Q: After nuclear crisis, Iran's human rights record has caught attention worldwide in recent months. The United Nations General Assembly is poised to examine Iran's human rights record. What do you think about the recent events?

A: We have to deal with two aspects of human rights. The first aspect is Iran's human rights record while the second one is politically-motivated attack on our country under the cover of human rights. We are cooperative about the former but resist against the latter. The United Nations may be pitted against us to issue a resolution. We will show cooperation so long as no resolution is worded against us.

Q: Where do these pressures stem from?

A: We will have our vulnerability undermined if we improve our system. But the West is suffering from two fatal diseases; the West considers itself superior to others and the West is not tolerant of Islam. For example, secularists in France are opposed to headscarf at schools. How can the West criticize Iran for its human rights record while it is the origin of fascism, belligerency, colonialism and dominance? No common sense accepts such gesture from the West. Our positions are clear.

Q: Our judiciary is criticized for being more kind toward the Westerners. For instance, Europeans were promised to visit Iran's prisons to dispel any doubt (The criticisms mostly come from the reformists). To what extent do you accept such criticism?

A: Such criticism is not correct. No country opens up its prisons. The lawmakers and some foreign delegations are allowed to visit the prisons. But there exists no absolute freedom for visiting prisons in the world. The UN delegates who officially come to Iran can visit the prisons under aegis of cooperation on part of the judiciary. All these visits lie within the framework of diplomatic interactions and the foreign delegates are invited by the Foreign Ministry.

Q: Do you think that Iran's human rights record is snowballing into a challenge like the nuclear crisis?

A: We will not face any crisis for human rights because we are accustomed to human rights resolutions against our country. The important thing for us is the West's milder position toward us. The West has always chastised us relying in its anti-Islamism sentiment and the nuclear energy and human rights have served as its fronts. They failed to reach any objective by focusing on Iran's nuclear ambitions but they have managed to pass a contradictory resolution against Iran's human rights record. The resolution is unlikely to win endorsement at the United Nations General Assembly. This onslaught is too meager to become a crisis against Iran.

Q: Don't you think that we may give them pretext to feed the pressures?

A: I do not approve of the idea of "pretext". We have our faults and we have to account for them. They are not "pretexts". We have to establish justice in the country for administration. Today, the West has based its attacks on Islamic teachings. They insist on secularist views and highlight Iran's alleged fight with civilization. Everything is clear today. Of course we have to familiarize our citizens with their civil rights. At the same time, we should take into account that the West assault on us targets Islam. We have to define our judicial regulations and clarify our regulations about presence of jury at press tribunals. Our laws can head off threats. Regarding freedom of expression, I have to say that we need define boundaries for such freedom. Freedom of expression should not become a cover for insult against Islam and Quran.

Q: We have not defined ourselves to the world as we should. The delegates our judiciary sends abroad are not influential and powerful enough. What can be done in this regard?

A: We have not had coordination in the judiciary for interaction with the world and the judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi has moved to lift the barriers. In that case, we can use the experiences of others and introduce ourselves to the world and defend our judicial system. Our judiciary has launched widespread activities over the past 7-8 months. Anyhow, I acknowledge that our interaction with the world has been weaker than the executive and legislative powers. I do not approve of sending delegates of the same opinion because compulsive equation is not good. The judges should not raise political issues.

Q: Now I want to go beyond human rights. You talked about normalization of ties with the United States several months ago. Where is Iran-US interactions headed for under the present circumstances?

A: Both sides favor normalization of bilateral ties but the United States should deserve it. The American leaders are too rude and impolite to deserve any negotiation. Our foreign diplomacy further focuses on the enemies and the strategies we have to adopt in their face. But I do not give any positive assessment of Iran-US ties. Washington has opted for wrong war-mongering policies and such behaviors do not herald any good. What can we do then? We have to safeguard our national interests and do not fuel tensions. The Americans are trying to keep tensions high but we have to be careful and avoid any inflammation of tensions. I hope that George W. Bush would be crushed in next presidential elections so that the Americans are emancipated from his negligence. Adolph Hitler, Changeez the Conqueror and Alexander Macedonian were like Bush but all of them fell. I am hopeful of the future because I am sure that the US policies will founder.

Q: The United States has encircled Iran from all sides and the Islamic Republic is the sole unconquered spot in the region. What doctrine do you think the United States will adopt for the future of Iran and the Middle East region?

A: Iran is not totally beleaguered by the United States but we have to note that the US doctrine for the Middle East is a Zionist one because the Zionists are thirsty for reorganization of the region. So, we have to see obliteration of Israel or Zionist dominance on the region. This double- choice question is the start of a failure. The United States cannot reshape the region so it has to change its doctrine or tone down its rhetoric. I think that the US would opt for the second option without putting behind its expansionism.

Q: How do you think enraged anti-American sentiments sway US doctrine for the region?

A: The United States has never been so disgusting and the Muslims' abhorrence with this country is running deep. George Bush is very angry at the opinion polls and so it feigns oversight. The public opinion poses a major challenge to the United States and their plans would be hindered.

Q: But election rivals of President Bush do not adopt positions much different from him regarding Iran. How can the US presidential elections affect Iran?

A: The US presidential vote will not significantly affect our relations and the Zionists are investing in Bush's victory to have their views fixed.

Iran's atomic policy was good and we won the match. We do not seek to develop atomic bomb and accusing Iran of attempts for making nuclear bomb has no legal standing. We should know that we can serve our national interests by continuing our efforts for peaceful nuclear energy.

Q: Now I want to seize the moment and ask you questions about the seventh legislative elections.

In an interview with German weekly Der Spiegel you talked about emergence of pragmatist forces. Did you mean birth of any third current?

A: I talked about "pragmatists" because the people do not approve of factional wrangling between the rightists and the leftists. The leftist faction has failed to prove good administration in the past years. President Khatami has undertaken valuable measures but now more qualified forces should jump to the fray. The pragmatists rely on the Islamic nature of the establishment and the Constitution to present a more modern civil structure. Changing the Constitution for better administration is a mistake because the same law has its own vacuums. We have to accept the fact that administration of a country is not a piece of cake and we have experienced managers to offer ideas. We do not need any secularist revolution and we have to boost our internal balance under the auspices of the Islamic system to have a more efficient establishment.

Q: Do you find any such development within the conservative camp?

A: I have advised the rightists to close their eyes on their prominent figures and let new forces run.

Q: Do they constitute the third current?

A: I do not label them the "third" but we have to let them grow from the heart of political forces. The factional affiliation of these forces is not important and they have to rely on efficiency of the system to win the hearts and minds in the society. The people would vote those who can present a more efficient system. Of course we should not allow political bickering overshadow efficiency preoccupations.

Q: Do you think that the conditions are becoming emotional?

A: The people show mature behavior but parties have not succeeded in our country. I expected the Islamic Iran Participation Front to be a rational and modern party but it is on the wane. We have to wonder why parties do not take shape in the country. The people bear grudge of the parties and that is a weak point for our country.

Q: Why do you think the reformist faction is on the decline?

A: The IIPF did not go beyond the boundaries of an election headquarters and their slogans did not develop. At the beginning the people were to some extent sympathizing with them but now they question their competence. When some reformists threatened to step down I was very happy because their resignation was acknowledgement of their inefficiency. The reformist faction was moving as if a plane running on the streets. After the May 23, 1997 presidential elections, the privatization drive did not make any progress and the government became more obstreperous. The reformists could have reached better results had they not get themselves involved in political wrangling.

Q: What do you think about the outcome of seventh legislative elections?

A: I predict that the rightists will win 50 to 60 more seats to form a majority or at least powerful minority.

Q: As the last question, I want to know your opinion about the possible influence of the legislative poll on the next presidential elections?

A: Some politicians in our country are opportunists and they say they will boycott the legislative elections. They are afraid of defeat in the poll. We want brave politicians to offer modern views. That is a wrong idea to elect a president from the majority faction of the next parliament. Fearful politicians follow up such objective. We do not need opportunists and we want valorous president to heal the wounds."

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