Iran Hopes

A Weblog on Iranian Affairs (Formerly Iran Votes 2005)

Thursday, May 05, 2005

No one to trust!

This week nothing of significance has happened about the election in Iran. However, a speech by Ayatollah Shahroudi (Iran's head of judiciary)raised some debate. In his speech, Shahroudi criticised judicial officials (prosecutors and investigators) as well the police for their 'miconducts'. Some commentators argue that Shahroudi's criticism of the police was in fact aimed at undermining Ghalibaf's position. Ghalibaf claims he is a 'reformist' since, he argues, during his time in office as head of the Iranian police, he managed to bring about reform within the body under his control. In the same way, he has promised to bring about major changes in the government if he becomes a president. Shahroudi's comments on the other hand disclose that Ghalibaf's claims are just lies.
But do Iranians really need Shahroudi to remind them that what Ghablibaf is claiming is unfounded? Iranians deal with the police almost everyday: tickets for driving offences are issued by the police, passports are issued by the police, vehicle registration is processed by the police, many public places are guarded by the police, social behvaiour and social activities are monitored by the police. So the police are hugely present in Iranians daily life, which makes the police and their conduct so readily exposed to public judgement. The public does not need Mr Shahroudi to remind them of the fact that they are not feeling safe in their daily life, that the crime rate has gone up dramatically in past few years -and the police is unable to contain it, that there is nowhere that people can take their complaints of the police misconduct and expect action, that the police are as corrupted, if not more so, as other public institutions.
Besides, who is Shahroudi to criticise the police? The situation in the judiciary is far worse than what we see in the police. Corruption is widespread, there's no justice but justice denied in Iranian judiciary. People have taken justice in their own hands. Besides, the police infringments upon the rights of the people is not without the judiciary's tolerance, ignorance, or support. In fact, as Shahroudi himslef admitted, in most of the cases they do so with previous permission from a judge or prosecutor.

Thus, I do not see any significance in Shahroudi's speech. He just repeated what we all already knew. His speech did not make Ghalibaf's status any worse than what it had already been. Ghalibaf's past is known to the public. Same is true about other candidates. In fact, as we get closer to the election, the task for Iranians in not to decide which candidate they trust the most. Rather, they are having a hard time deciding whom they can be mistrustful of the least.

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