Letter of ultimatum to the Guardian Council (5 July 2009)

In the Name of the Almighty

Respectable Guardian Council


I would like to have a final few friendly and kind words with you regarding this election. I hope you heed my words without any personal animosity and for the sake of national interest and the regime’s autonomy.

As I mentioned in my previous letter, the only way to regain the lost trust of the people, who no longer believe they have a right to decide their own destiny, is by declaring the elections invalid. Statistics have demonstrated a 95 to 145 percent participation rate in more than 170 provinces, and there were numerous electoral violations. Voiding the election results can reestablish the people’s trust in the election process. Unfortunately, the performance of the Guardian Council during the past two decades has tremendously decreased its legitimacy in the eyes of the public. Before I start discussing the current election, I find it necessary briefly to review and critique the functions of the Guardian Council during the past two decades. I hope this Council changes its approach and align itself with the Islamic Republic’s Constitution.

As you know, after the death of the founder of the Islamic Republic, during the fourth parliamentary elections, the Guardian Council used its approbatory supervision for the first time to disqualify forty parliamentary members. Some of these individuals were members of the parliament for three terms, some for two terms and some only served one term. Individuals like the deputy speaker of the parliament were disqualified and unfortunately my objections during that period were not effective. I gave a speech at the last session of the third parliament on 27 May 1992 criticizing this destructive path. On that day, I used a story from our ancient history to emphasize my point. The story was about an unjust ruler who demanded that the spelling of the word Mozafar change. This ruler had written a letter and had used an “s” instead of a “z” to write the word Mozafar. His companions told him, “Dear Leader, you write the word Mozafar with a “z,” and this is the correct way of spelling that word.” The ruler demanded the spelling be changed and asked everyone to use an “s.” After I recited this story, I mentioned that since no one accepts my reasoning, we would face a day with the same backwards logic.

The following year, during the fifth parliamentary elections and after the formation of the Executives of Construction Party, Hezb-e Kaargozaaraan-e Saazandegi, the right wing experienced four different defeats during the first round of the elections. They viewed the defeats as a big threat and as a result the right wing launched a heavy campaign of widespread attacks by individuals and entities against the Executives of Construction Party. These pressures caused many well-known individuals to withdraw their names from the party list. Despite all of the attacks, smear campaigns, and the nullification of the elections in cities such as Isfahan, we observed the formation of a strong minority in the parliament. One year later, during the election of May 23, 1997, we saw what happens when one starts to write Mozafar with an “s.”

With all due respect to Mr. Seyed Mohammad Khatami’s political, cultural and social status, I have to mention that the people’s unprecedented support for him was neither because of his individual characteristics nor because of the reformists’ unity. It was the people’s clear rejection of individuals who were not willing to recognize their determination to choose their future. They [the hardliners] wanted to force their own will on the great Iranian nation.  The people’s movement of the 2nd of Khordad[1]  was not just an impulse. It developed from the negation of the previous order. The people’s unprecedented participation took Mr. Khatami away from the national library and bestowed him the chair of presidency.

It appeared that my [conservative] friends would learn from the 2nd of Khordad movement and start to reform their beliefs and work towards institutionalizing democracy in our country. However, after the victory of the reformists in the sixth Parliament, many of our reformist representatives were disqualified from the seventh Parliamentary elections. These disqualifications followed a series of speeches given by reformist members of the parliament. Some matters should not have been discussed, but the majority of the speeches were about their responsibilities as representatives of the people.  We also observed mass disqualifications of candidates who registered to participate in the seventh Parliamentary elections. These disqualifications resulted in cynicism towards the electoral process and the majority of the reformists then boycotted the elections. Some of my companions and I decided to stay active politically for the sake of protecting the regime and the revolution. Before the elections I clearly stated that we would stay and be sacrificed in the parliamentary elections.

During the ninth executive administration, governmental officials, the Guardian Council, and security forces alike were all looking to find their favorite candidate. This is when I entered the race.  Despite the picture that was painted of me, I became the frontrunner in 12 provinces. But following my famous one-hour nap, and after morning prayers, the result of the election miraculously changed. Mr. Elham, the former spokesman of the Guardian Council, announced the news despite the fact that the Interior Ministry’s official website showed me as the leader. With a difference of some one hundred thousand votes, the Guardian Council’s ideal candidate, in my place, entered the second round of elections. The interesting aspect is that the Guardian Council immediately confirmed the results of the ninth presidential election.  

The eighth parliamentary election was the most depressing one. Countless registered candidates faced mass disqualifications. An important point to mention is that the majority of the people who were qualified to run in the seventh parliamentary election were banned from running in the eighth parliamentary election. One can argue that these disqualifications were unprecedented in Iran’s entire legislative history. 

The Guardian Council’s eliminations, experimental programs implemented by the President during the past four years, and programs imposed by the candidates, among many other reasons, led to the tremendous voter turnout during the tenth presidential election. We observed the highest participation rate since the first Islamic Republic referendum. Do you really think that this grand representation is because of Mr. Ahmadinejad and his supporters?  Do you think the participation a segment of 25 percent of the population, all of whom had never voted before, was because of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s presence and his programs or was it a sign of people requesting change? Before this election we believed the high turnout rates would deter independent groups from committing election violations. We neglected the reality that this election was predetermined and people’s participation was simply for show. The current government authorities have challenged Imam Khomeini’s motto of “the measure is people’s votes,” and treated people’s votes as an ornamentation for the government. They organized a preordained election in which the number of votes for each candidate was rationed beforehand. This is why even before 24 million votes were counted, pro-government websites and newspapers predicted the election results and announced them in their headlines Monday morning. The ridiculous results were announced and the people were so shocked that they lost their trust in the regime. Millions of people, peacefully and independently, demonstrated. This was the result of a lack of foresight by the cheaters and election violators. It also clearly unfolded their plot. This national movement, composed of a diverse group of society, was beyond the power of any political party or group. I took advantage of the opportunity and thanked the great Iranian people for their electoral participation and continuous protests. I also extended my deepest gratitude to my supporters, including Sufis, my Sunni brothers and sisters, clerics, the Zagros provinces[2], students in particular, enlightened thinkers, and esteemed families of martyrs. The meager share of votes presented to me and the government’s plans of confrontation will not deter me from pursuing the people’s demands.  

Since electoral fraud and violations are evident to everyone, my expectation of the respected Guardian Council is for it to protect its high constitutional legal position by declaring the election invalid. If this council, by referring to the Supreme Leader’s opinion, believes that nullifying the election is not in regime’s interests, it should at least do exactly what happened during the third parliamentary elections. It is this council’s legal, religious and judicial responsibility. I am sure you recall what happened during the third parliamentary elections. Because of the dispute between the Guardian Council and the Interior Ministry, Imam Khomeini chose a representative to investigate the situation. After Imam Khomeini was convinced of the legitimacy of the election, the Guardian Council wrote a letter and declared the election valid. In the letter, the Guardian Council referred to Imam Khomeini’s decision and identified him as the responsible decision-maker. This time around you can do the same and validate the election by referring to the Supreme Leader’s opinion and delegating the responsibility to him. Do not let the people’s opinion of the Guardian Council get any worse.

Now, why haven’t I come to the Guardian Council previously? The position of the Guardian Council is clear in the constitution. Unfortunately, some of this Council’s members are staunch supporters of this government. Before the election, one of the clerics of this Council said, “The Supreme Leader supports Mr. Ahmadinejad and we should not disagree with him.” Another cleric announced his full support for Ahmadinejad during his trips and Friday prayer speeches. He even compared Ahmadinejad’s various letters to world leaders, which have been left unanswered, to Imam Khomeini’s letters. In praise of these letters he requested them to be published in textbooks. One of the lawyers of this Council, who played a key role during the last presidential election, has held a few positions with the government. He has been the Justice Minister and the government’s spokesperson. No other lawyer is an official member of the government [officially employed by the government.] Can one still be confident in this Council’s impartiality in performing its legal responsibilities?

Considering the country’s current situation and the people’s sensitivity, I would like to ask you not to consider writing Mozafar with an “s.” The people’s unprecedented participation on May 23, 1997 and June 12, 2009 carries an important message that should not be ignored. Ignoring the message sent on June 12 or attempting to change it could result in irreparable and worrisome consequences for the regime. You cannot ignore the presence of millions of protesters who showed their opposition in a civil and non-violent manner. By calling them names such as riff-raffs, hooligans, disturbers and agitators, you place a nation against the regime. I am sure you are aware that using such phrases has provided the independent and plain-clothed groups with an excuse to use the most obscene language and most barbaric behavior to oppress the people. The horror of the behavior makes me incapable of describing the events in detail. During any auspicious public gathering, there are individuals who try to take advantage of the situation and create problems. [During protests following the elections], everyone witnessed how protesters themselves controlled the situation and did not allow some individuals to take advantage. Any damages and aggression done to public property should be investigated in fair and just environment. In this manner we can reveal who has committed these crimes.

Let’s not forget what Imam Khomeini mentioned in his wise letter: “I would give my life for every single Iranian.” We have spoken over and over again about the greatness and dignity of humanity. We have referred to the Quranic verse, “We [God] admire all children of Adam,” and have written about the dignity of all humans regardless of their beliefs. But, when we are faced with a problem and a civil protest, which the constitution permits, instead of solving the problem, we attempt to erase it. This letter is my ultimatum. This letter has been written and presented to protect the Islamic Republic. In [a true] Islamic Republic, republican, Islamic, and Iranian values are all protected. 

Mehdi Karroubi

[1] The day of Mohammad Khatami’s election, the 2nd of Khordad (1376) in the Iranian calendar, is regarded as the starting date of “reforms” in Iran.

[2] Referring to the following Iranian provinces: Kurdistan, Ilam, Kermanshah, Lorestan, Isfahan, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, Khuzestan, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer Ahmad.

Speaker or Agency: Mehdi Karroubi

Title: Karroubi’s letter of ultimatum to the Guardian Council

Language: English and Farsi

Western Date: 5 July 2009

Persian Date: 14 Tir 1388

Physical/Electronic Location: 

Citation or official document code: http://www.etemademelli.ir/published/0/00/49/4973/

Translator: Reza Akbari

Date Translated: 18 July 2010

Tags: mehdi karroubi, guardian council

Date Last Updated:


Size: 188.7K bytes Modified: 20 November 2012, 19:18