KODAR’s Road Map for the Democratization of Iran and Solving the Kurdish Question:26 April, 2017
The Theoretical Review
Iranian society has reached an important point in the history of the nation. There are assortments of problems afflicting it: from internal issues such as ethnic and sectarian tensions, wealth disparity to external issues such as a realignment of international powers and the chaos that has engulfed the region. The combinations of all these issues are forcing both the conservative, ruling elite as well as progressive forces to re-evaluate their methodology and approaches to politics. A necessary step in this process is the need to be critical of both the mentality and the path that Iranian politics has taken over the course of its history. Realigning Iranian politics through a democratic transformation is vital to the revival of the Iranian nation.
This transformation must take a multi-pronged approach. This ‘democratic model’ must incorporate mistakes of the past, adapt to the current realities whilst forming a democratic spirit to its nationhood that would act as a natural deterrent to foreign intervention. By sheer virtue of the difference between such a democratic model and the current system, the change in the political landscape would have the utmost importance. It will reverse the greedy, totalitarian nature that has shaped current Iranian politics. A reversal of this mentality would help revive sections of Iranian society that have been abandoned by the current regime. Women, people of different ethnic or religious backgrounds and other people of dissenting politics would have the opportunity to actively participate in the development of their society.
The main question then is what forces would resist against such democratic developments? The answer is that the most resistant to such change would be the conservative elite who are in power at present. These forces pursue a political framework that prioritizes their own needs before any other group in Iranian society. Unfortunately, these forces will persist with these practices even at the cost of the
Iranian nation’s well-being.
The current crisis that Iran is facing is directly a result of the short-sighted, careless politics of these ruling elite. It is for this reason that Iranian society needs to find a method of democratic transformation that would converge the needs of all the factions of society together under common goals.
First we must consider: do these elite forces that have a monopoly over power have the requisite capacity, ability and indeed intent to deviate from the current political framework? If one were to objectively analyse previous policies as well as current goals, it would be clear that there is very little intent to transform Iranian politics. Thus the coming presidential elections can be considered a test for the authorities: it will be clear what their stance towards democratization is as well as their desires to address social inequality. An optimistic and altruistic outlook dictates that the authorities would incorporate fundamental policies aimed at providing freedom and equality as prerequisites for any social change.
At present, there is only one path through which the Iran can balance the needs of society, of the government whilst maintaining its sovereignty. That is, the government has to be ready, along with the progressives, to pursue an active policy of democratization and to institutionalize the ideals in all facets of society. To pursue a concept that promotes the common good of all, the government would to be accepting of criticism and to be honest with regards to their role in the current crisis. Only by doing so can they put into motion genuine mechanisms that will promote equality, collective rights, freedoms and peace for all the peoples of Iran and Kurdistan.
The promotion of collective rights, particularly of minorities and the disenfranchised can only be done through amendments to the current constitution. It is a contradiction to aim for democratic change whilst maintaining a constitution that promotes one sect of one religion, one ethnicity, one language and one gender. By failing to incorporate the rights of all those that fall outside of these labels, Iran has created a situation where discrimination and oppression have become a common occurrence. Unfortunately, discrimination based on minorities is a fundamental reason for the current crisis engulfing the region. Syria is an example on the nation-state level of how such sectarian and ethnic discrimination could lead to dangerous repercussions. The legal, social, religious, political and consequentially, economic disparities that minorities face in Iran are problematic issues that need to be addressed otherwise the devastating chaos of neighbouring countries could breach
For these reasons, Iran should undertake a process through which the constitution would be amended so as to avoid the devastation and chaos of its neighbours. In particular, the constitution should address the reality that Iran is common land for all peoples, genders, religions and identities. The constitution, in this regard, should be clear and precise. The constitution should respect the diversities of the people of Iran, guarantee their rights and through the creation of such a social spirit, allow the natural development of democracy. This is the exact opposite of what the elite in
Power desire. They wish to ‘purify’ the nation down into a single identity so as to be easily controlled.
It should be noted though that merely an amendment of the constitution does not equate to a democratic transformation. That is only the first step. A democratic constitution must define methods of safeguarding these rights. In addition, the constitution should maintain a separation of powers policy so that no one facet can usurp power unilaterally.
However, it should also be noted that the democratization of Iran is not purely the responsibility of the government but of all factions of society. The necessity of participation defines the effectiveness of the democratization process. Forces that maintain that all tasks and responsibilities should fall on the government and people of power have not understood the true meaning of democracy.
Viewed in this manner, the presidential elections provide society with an opportunity to press for democratization. Missing the chance to pursue democratization during these elections would be a mistake. The factions who have put themselves forward for election need to aim towards a democratic framework otherwise no one will be able to predict the outcome of post-election Iran. Society cannot develop if the political forces engineer a situation where the options are between two bad representatives, neither of which satisfy the criteria for society. Any careless, reductive or disingenuous approach towards the elections can accelerate the potential for catastrophe.
In order for there to be a democratic solution to the issues Iran faces, several commissions need to be formed:
1) Legal Commission:
a) This commission will pursue several goals. It will focus on the flaws in the current constitution through forums that give opportunity for legal experts to state their opinions on the matter and how to proceed.
b) The commission will identify what exactly are the rights of Iran’s citizens and what rights are not being safeguarded by the constitution. This can only be understood through cooperation and communication with different groups of society so that their issues are understood and incorporated into any decision making.
c) The composition of the commission would be composed of lawyers, legislators as well as representatives of different groups within society. Naturally, there would also be representatives from the government actively partaking in the process.
d) The ultimate goal of the commission is the preparation of civil society and the rule of law to change the constitution and realign it with the era of democratic politics.
2) The Commission for the Redefinition of Management Structures:
a) One of the preconditions for the transition to democracy, is to identify the problematic nature of centralized management. This commission will aim to decentralize power structures so as to negate the potential for monopolies to be formed.
b) The commission will redefine the urban, regional and state levels of management. In particular, the aim will be to assert independence from other parts of the system so as to combat the potential for political parties to assume complete control of any apparatus.
c) By decentralizing power from the centre of power towards the localities it will essentially return power to the people who will then implement these powers for the good of society.
d) The commission will, as a secondary consideration, research the damage to
a local community through the deployment of non-local forces and representatives to different regions. It will also consider societies role in the decision-making process and how their involvement (or lack of), in the process has affected the development of a society.
e) The commission will produce reports that conceive of new mechanisms to empower the community as well as to further decentralize power.
3) The Commission for the Equitable Co-Existence of Peoples:
a) The purpose of this commission is to further integration of the different peoples of Iran in a free and democratic way.
b) The commission understands and aims to combat any implementation of a forced homogeneous identity which would be a threat to all the different groups in Iran.
c) The commission will focus on key questions such as:
i. What kind of forces benefit from the existence of differences, conflicts or tensions among different groups?
ii. What kind of responsibilities have to be taken by society, by intellectuals, the government and authorities for the integration and consolidation of relations between the peoples of Iran?
4) The Women’s Commission:
a) The framework for this commission is to investigate the barriers against women in areas such as the legal field, politics, economics and management.
b) Discrimination against women in Iran has two layers:
i. It is partially the result of the institutionalization of patriarchal mentalities in society, and
ii. The above aspects are supplemented by the existence of discriminatory laws as well as a misogynistic enforcement and interpretation of the law.
c) Without the guaranteeing of women’s rights, any attempts at democratization will fail. Thus, the protection of women’s rights is of fundamental importance in the process of democratization.
d) This commission will focus, with special attention, on existing mechanisms, organizations and methodologies that accelerate the process of guaranteeing women’s rights. The commission will also provide reports that suggest new methods or mechanisms to advance women’s rights.
e) All aspects of society will be researched and all institutions will be studied to understand how they interact with women and how women interact with them I.e. local councils and women.
5) The Security Commission:
a) The purpose of this commission is to discuss and identify issues of security as well as to provide a framework for policies in regards to security.
b) The commission will aim to bridge the current gap of mistrust between the security sector and society. It will do this by focusing on the concept that security is to be provided for the people so that their existence is not threatened and that they are able to live freely.
c) The commission will aim to establish new mechanisms that will maximize social security whilst liberating society.
6) The Commission of Economy:
a) This commission will address the Iranian nation’s reliance on Oil Economy and the long-term effects on Iran’s economy.
b) The commission will aim to understand the different facets of Iran’s economy which are underutilized and have led to a relative imbalance in Iranian society.
c) The nature of and the manner with which Iranian economics, government owned natural resources and the privatized sector interact and how this impacts on Iranian society.
d) The commission will focus on the manner with which wealth is distributed in society and seek to find solutions to combat poverty and the wealth disparity.
7) The Commission for the Environment:
a) The commission will understand that industrialization and careless use of natural resources have led to extensive environmental destruction. The commission will research how extensively society and its citizens are impacted by issues of the environment such as air pollution, desertification, water shortages, etc.
b) The commission will redraw a new map that will define how society, the government and the economy interact with the environment, prioritizing an environmentally sustainable policy.
c) The commission will seek to understand how damage to the environment occurs and to create mechanisms that protect the environment. It will seek to create a framework to regulate the relation between the environment and the different groups interacting with it.
8) The Commission of Language and Culture:
a) This commission should be formed with the understanding that there can be no true democracy without the protection of all the different languages and cultures of a nation.
b) The protection and active attempts of preservation of these diversities will produce a more vibrant Iran allowing these different communities to be able to actively partake in society and become meaningful citizens.
c) The commission will create mechanisms that will provide mother tongue education for different minorities.
d) This commission will communicate with the Legal Commission to discuss how the rights of minorities and their language and culture can be constitutionally enshrined.
These commissions will serve as a guideline promoting Iran towards democratization. If the authorities, the Iranian government, wish to prioritize a democratic opening then KODAR will actively participate and aid such developments. The democratization of the region will concurrently signal the end for feudal authoritarianism as well as the monopolization of power by one political entity. Democratization will refocus Iranian society towards a more acceptable method of interaction allowing different groups to find common grounds. This will benefit all groups and Iran as a whole and signal an end to ostracization of minorities.
However, if the ruling elite do not have any desire or willingness to democratize the nation then it could only lead to an explosion of political, economic and social chaos. International forces are readying for the opportunity to invade and interfere in Iran using the issue of democratization, subjugation and oppression of minorities and women’s rights as the excuse. Thus we can ascertain that by not implementing a democratic solution, Iran would be inviting the potential of foreign intervention. As noted before, if there is not an adequate amount of care taken by Iranian authorities then the possible Serialization of Iran is quite high. International forces studying
Iran’s internal matters will note the lack of rights of minorities being addressed and this will lead to groups being goaded into direct conflict with the government accelerating Iran’s descent to chaos.
The Position of KODAR on the Presidential Elections:
The Free and Democratic Society of East Kurdistan (KODAR) will soon publish a declaration containing the necessary goals based on the current climate as well as the demands on political and legal institutions. KODAR will announce its final position in regards to the Presidential Elections in the near future, evaluating the goals of the candidates. If the government were to signal a desire to move in the direction of democracy then KODAR will maintain a positive position. However, in contrast, if the government fails to move towards democratization then KODAR will not participate in an inherently non-democratic process.
The position of KODAR on the Local Councils:
KODAR is of the opinion that competent and democratic representatives need to be elected to these seats. The experience of the past has shown that local councils, rather than being a place for participation, have become centres of nepotism and corruption. It is for these reasons that the people must make a concentrated effort to reclaim these positions from opportunists and thieves. Thus those who have been elected should have a clear background free from such troubles. These electives are representatives of the people and thus should be held accountable by the people.
KODAR considers the fundamental solution, not only for the Kurdish Question but the problems plaguing all minorities in Iran to be the democratization of Iran. KODAR is of the firm belief that whilst the shadow of foreign intervention hangs over Tehran, the Iranian government should hasten all efforts at moving Iran towards a democracy. KODAR, who assume a “third line” position, do not believe that a foreign intervention would benefit the people of Iran in anyway nor does the continual authoritarian regimes stranglehold on power. In order for democracy to truly take root, all organizations of civil society should organize and participate so that they can maximize their influence. These forces should implement mechanisms that reinforce the movement of Iranian politics towards democracy. Naturally, if the ruling elite resist or ignore the demands of the people for democracy then these organizations, along with KODAR, will consider other methods. The aim of this release is to assess the readiness of the Islamic Republic to address the demands of its citizens and the minorities who are being ostracized.
The Free and Democratic Society OF East Kurdistan “KODAR”