Profile of Developers of Islamic Iran Alliance
Iran, Daily Newspaper, Vol. 9, No. 2734, Feb. 25th, 2004, Page 3-6
Word Count : 1748
The low-profile Developers of Islamic Iran Alliance swept the Feb 20 legislative elections. They were crowned winners as the Guardian Council decimated many reformist candidates and barred them from standing in the closely watched poll.
Here we offer an outline of the alliance and their promises for the country.
Several days before the Feb 2003 local council elections, a group of little-known figures coalesced under the label of "Developers". Mehdi Chamran and Abbas Sheibani were the only two members of the group to be partly known to the public. They launched their electoral campaign on slogan of development and managed to sweep the municipal elections. Chamran, the top vote-getter, garnered 192,616 votes in the elections. The Developers of Islamic Iran Alliance took over the posts initiated by reformists thanks to high abstention rate. Anyhow, "unknown group" promoted into "unknown winners".
One year later, the alliance put up new candidates for the legislative elections. They introduced certain changes into their policies to win over the public. They used up developed campaigning means like Internet, state media and traditional tools like the bazaar and the mosques to run for the closely watched elections. This time, the developers stood in a vote whose result was a foregone conclusion.
Developers; Centralist Group
The Developers of Islamic Iran Alliance fielded its favorite candidates for the parliamentary elections and called for developing the entire Iran. The developers did not introduce themselves as a party but an alliance. But reformists announced that the developers were anti-reformists who are jumping to the fray under cover. Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, the top vote-getter, says: "Beyond the names, we base our policies on the methods and anyone working for development of the country is with us."
Hossein Fadaie, another member of the alliance, says: "We are not worried with the low-profile background of the candidates and the important thing for us is that the figures be populist."
In the run-up to the elections, outspoken hardline nominees (like Habibollah Asgarowladi and Assadollah Badamchian) stood down. Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri, member of the Association of Combatant Clergy, said the association took side with the "developers". Asgarowladi, secretary general of the Islamic Coalition Society, called on the people to vote for the candidates fielded by the Developers of Islamic Iran Alliance. Members of the alliance were indirectly announcing their firm determination to be crowned the winners.
The alliance demonstrated that it was following up the policies and attitudes of reformists by sending new figures like Hadad-Adel and Ahmad Tavakoli to the parliament.
Development, Social Welfare
Relying on "improvement is our wish", the developers ran for the elections. The spokesman for the alliance told press conferences that the group was working for urban development, economic welfare, development, improvement, justice and fight against corruption and service providing. With a comparative view, one can understand that the alliance has replaced development and improvement with freedom and political development chanted by the reformists.
The developers made it clear that they intended to transform Iran into a developed nation enjoying social welfare. "We will do our best to promote Iran into a developed nation. We will focus our programs on promoting the level of social welfare, amelioration of living standards, promotion of justice, eradication of poverty and discrimination and narrowing social gaps," they said in their statements.
Above all, Hadad-Adel told the Agence France Presse (AFP) that the Developers of Islamic Iran Alliance intended to make Iran an Islamic Japan. Developers meant that they will promote living standards to bring economic and social prosperity for the people.
The charter the developers offered for construction and improvement has other aspects.
a. Social and Cultural Fields
In order to express their views about social and cultural affairs, the developers used a familiar literature - stabilization of the values. "We will move based on Islamic culture and identity and reliance on religious prosperity, immunity against negative aspects of other cultures, protecting the Persian language and working to come up with software movement."
Anyhow, the developers offered interesting views for cultural conundrums. They specifically talked about satellite networks, social freedoms and press liberty. They said they had worked out solutions to these problems. Regarding satellite dishes, Hadad-Adel says: "We have to make amendments to the pieces of legislation passed by the fifth Majlis for satellite networks and we have to set the stage for positive use of satellite programs." As for press law, he said: "The parliamentary pieces of legislation are not lasting." The developers also came out in support of social freedoms with reservations.
Hadad-Adel says: "We envision freedom as a road with ups and downs, twists and turns. Any deviation may give rise to damage."
In their charter, the developers announced that they avoided any interference in the private livings. They said they will undertake efforts for avoiding corruption and social vices. However, they promised to promote the women rights. The developers have proposed changes into the education system.
b. Economic Field; Disputable Investment
Development and construction was once declared by former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in the 1990s. Anyhow, the Developers of Islamic Iran Alliance is of the view that their impression of development differs from that of Rafsanjani administration. Presence of Ahmad Tavakoli is a clear proof to such difference. The developers have promised establishment of justice in addition to development and promotion. They announced that they were mainly obsessed with bolstering social welfare. To this effect, they promised to reduce the inflation rate, resolve housing problems and improve hygiene.
The charter of the developers highlights relentless efforts for checking runaway inflation and boosting privatization drive. Tavakoli's comments implied determination for structural fight with corruption and stopping windfalls.
Regarding controversial issue of investment, the developers stressed the need for securing domestic and foreign investment. Tavakoli said: "Majlis will give importance to investment. Of course, we will try to facilitate domestic investment. We prefer to boost domestic investment before focusing on foreign finance. We will offer facilities to foreign financiers and we welcome any beneficial move."
c. Foreign Policy
Developers prefer "dignity, philosophy and expediency" to " dtente" as their mottoes. The thorniest issue in foreign diplomacy would be resumption of ties between Iran and the United States. Regarding this issue, Tavakoli says: "We consider ties with US not obligatory like prayers and not forbidden as wine." "We will made decisions in line with our national interests. If the United States agrees to compensate us we can speak more clearly." For his part, Hadad-Adel called on Washington to take the first step.
Interactions Between New Majlis and Incumbent Government
The sitting administration of Mohammad Khatami will bow out one year after convention of the new Majlis. Naturally, power sharing between the incoming Majlis and the incumbent government will be an important issue. Before the elections, Hadad-Adel was asked to comment on interactions between the seventh Majlis and the government. He replied: "Our behavior with the government will lean towards interaction, understanding and cooperation. It will be un-Islamic to put any wheel into the spokes of the government. But we feel obliged to deal with any minister who goes against the law."
Tavakoli says: "The government will have 12 months to serve the nation because the seventh Majlis will undo the knots."
Another developer sketched out a clearer outline and said: "We will further support Khatami's administration." Anyhow, defeated reformists have nothing to say in reaction and the people will be left guessing until this question is answered.
Background of the first 30 candidates in Tehran
The candidates were supported by Abadgaran, the Militant Clergy Association and the Islamic Moutalefeh Party.
1. Gholam-Ali Hadad-e Adel, MP and member of the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council;
2. Ahmad Tavakoli, lecturer of the Shahid Beheshti University;
3. Amir-Reza Khadem, former president of Wrestling Federation;
4. Mahdi Tabatabaie, revolutionary prosecutor in Mazandaran province, religious judge of the trial of the Tehran Municipality, deputy head of the Tehran Public Justice Office (cleric);
5. Ahmad Ahmadi, member of the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council (cleric);
6. Hussein Mozzafar, member of the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council;
7. Mohammad Khosh-Chehreh, member of the Board of Directors of Gymnastic Federation, deputy head of the Tehran [University's] Economics Faculty;
8. Nafiseh Fayyaz-Bakhsh, MP in the Fourth and Fifth Majlises;
9. Saeed Abotaleb, documentary producer of the Radio and Television;
10. Emad Afroogh, director of the Social Group of the Strategic Research Center o the Presidency, director of the Cultural Group of Channel 1 of the Radio and Television;
11. Davood Danesh Jafari, MP in the 5th Majlis, secretary of the Macro-Economics Committee of the Expediency Council;
12. Ali-Reza Zakani, in charge of Student Basij of Tehran universities, chief of Student Basij of the country;
13. Laleh Eftekhari, member of the Women Association and Zeynab Association;
14. Hussein Sheikholeslam, deputy foreign minister and ambassador to Syria;
15. Fatemeh Aulia, member of Women's Affairs Office of the staff of the head of the Radio and Television;
16. Elham Aminzadeh, lecturer of the International Relations College of the Foreign Ministry and the Imam Sadeq University
17. Abbas-Ali Akhtari, substitute Friday prayer leader of Shahr Ray [south Tehran] (cleric) [Baztab.com: former Friday prayer leader of Semnan;
18. Seyed Ali Riaz, secretary-general of the Muslim Doctors Without Frontiers, director general of the Public Relations Office of the health Ministry [Baztab.com: dentist];
19. Hussein Nejabat, advisor to the agriculture minister, member of the board of directors and managing director of the Rural Cooperation Organization;
20. Fazlollah Mussavi, director of the Society for Support of Victims of Chemical Weapons;
21. Hamid-Reza Katoozian, university lecturer
22. Fatemeh Rahbar, director of the Computer Systems Plan and Project of the staff of the head of the Radio and Television.
23. Elias Naderan, director general for legal and parliamentary affairs of the corps;
24. Parviz Soroori, deputy chief of Publicity Coordination Office of the Joint Staff of the Corps, official in charge of establishment of the Basij in west Tehran:
25. Manuchehr Mottaki, ambassador to Turkey and Japan:
26. Gholam-Reza Mesbahi Moqaddam, deputy head of the Imam Sadeq University (cleric);
27. Hussein Fadaie-Ashtiani, secretary-general of the Islamic Revolution Selfless Association [Jamiyat-e Isargaran-e Enqelab-e Islami], deputy chairman of the board of directors of the Refah Chain Stores;
28. Mahdi Kuchakzadeh, university lecturer,
29. Zeynab Kadkhoda, university lecturer,
30. Ali Abbaspour-Tehranifard, member of the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council, MP in the 5th Majlis."