February 14, 2018


Controversy in Iran over Rouhani's call for referendum (Al-Monitor, February 13, 2018)

Despite the hard-liner attacks, conservative analyst Amir Mohebian said Feb. 13, "A referendum is a constitutional article, but I assume that the opponents [of Rouhani] don't want this [kind of measure] to turn into a normal procedure [for how to resolve political deadlocks]."

It appears that what the conservatives are really worried about is the possibility that Rouhani may attempt to revise the constitution to decrease Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's power.

Rouhani has responded to the criticisms, referring to the 1979 referendum on whether to establish an Islamic Republic: In that vote, 98% voted in favor of abolishing the monarchy.

"[In 1979], people recognized the right path, which was the path of independence and [not allowing other countries] to meddle with our destiny. If you now ask people whether they want independence or foreigners' meddling [in the country's affairs], 98.2% will say that they want independence. This figure doesn't change. If we ask people whether they want freedom or tyranny, the same percent [of people] will vote for the Islamic Republic [again]," he said on Feb. 13.

Rouhani also emphasized that he, as president, has the responsibility and duty of implementing the constitution.

Posted by at February 14, 2018 3:27 AM