Iran Hopes

A Weblog on Iranian Affairs (Formerly Iran Votes 2005)

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Fighting corruption misses out of candidates' agenda

So far, presidential hopefuls have made many promises: improving the social welfare system, economic reforms, improving the human rights record, etc. But none of them seems to be interested in addressing a most serious issue: corruption. How can these candidates speak with such confidence about the efficacy of their agenda, when they give us no sign as to their willingness or even awareness of to combat corruption?
No one can dispute the fact that corruption is increasingly widespread in Iran. It affects the sense of security among people. It sets the ground for violations of human rights. Corruption among Iranian officials has not a limited scope; rather it is omnipresent: it is everywhere, from top to bottom of the system.

There are numerous corrupt businesses that are run by the elements within the Iranian government. Yet, for some reason, the candidates try to distance themselves from these facts. For instance, this week General Ghalibaf said that he ‘does not believe that there are behind-curtain centres of power’ in Iran. In others words, he does not think that there are influential centres of power outside the official government. Thus, Ghalibaf does not believe that, for example, there are people outside the foreign ministry of Iran who control the foreign policy. Nor does he believe that there are powerful elements that control the Iranian police and its judicial system. Does this mean that he is unaware of the links between those centres of power and organised crime inside and outside the country? Does this mean that former head of the Police is unaware of the fact that a number of top-ranking officials are involved in drug trafficking and people smuggling? Or does Ghalibaf’s claim simply demonstrate his lack of courage to deal with those centres? Then how can he promise the nation that he will work to create ‘a just government’ should he become their president?

Other candidates seem to be lacking in the said courage as well. Of course, in the case of Velayati and Larijani, given their background, it is not surprising that they are not at all interested in discussing corruption and hidden centres of power. And it would be too naïve to expect Hashemi Rafsanjani to consider an anti-corruption policy for his future government. But, one what does stop Moein to make a promise as to combating corruption if he wins the election? This week, he pronounced ‘honesty’ as a basic principle in his plan for ‘management and organizational conduct’. So would he consider it as an indication of honesty to talk to people about corruption and his plans to fight against it? Or will Karoubi, who informed us of his firm intention as to 'not negotiate when it comes to people’s rights’, have the courage to disclose those hidden sources of power? Would he be courageous enough to tell us the truth about those who, for the past eight years, have held control over Khatami’s administration, due to which he was unable to deliver its promises of ‘political development’?


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11:23 PM  

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