Iran’s Democracy: Hassan Rouhani is elected for a second term

SHAFAQNA – It’s official, incumbent President Hassan Rouhani has won the elections for a second time, and according to official data by a rather comfortable margin. With 57 percent of the vote Mr Rouhani proved that his particular brand of politics was still very much favoured by Iranians.

According to Iran’s Interior Ministry as reported by Press TV, Rouhani won about 57% of the vote with more than 23.5 million votes against his main challenger Ibrahim Raisi’s 15.7 million.

But the real story of Iran’s presidential elections is not its candidates, or which political factions was in fact entrusted with the direction of state – rather it is Iran’s determination to exercise its right to political determination amid extraordinary pressure.

If we are to quiet the noise of politics, and agree for a moment that all parties and all individuals, regardless of their positions towards specific issues are in fact entitled to their own opinions, and as such should be respected, lies the tale of nation whose democratic aspirations have been affirmed once more before many a great attempts to lay waste its institutions.

This weekend Iran spoke its decision and that in itself should be looked upon as a victory against authoritarianism, at a time when nations all around have been imploded by imperial powers.

The Islamic Republic of Iran – for all its faults and imperfections, stand an independent institutional beacon of hope for those who look upon Freedom and Democracy as principles that cannot be negotiated away.

In a live speech carried by State TV, Rouhani said Saturday that the vote showed Iran’s willingness to work with the international community. First elected in 2013, Rouhani is seen as a reformer in Iran’s largely conservative society. He is best known abroad as the president who made a nuclear deal with the West in 2015, in which the country agreed to certain limits on nuclear development in return for the lifting of some sanctions.

If Iran’s presidential elections were of course about policies and political tones, it was also an exercise in democratic sovereignty, an affirmation and a confirmation that for all the many pitfalls which were laid out by foreign powers to return Iran to a state of feudality, the Islamic Republic still enjoys popular legitimacy.

It would be foolish to say that Iran stands a perfect democracy – there is no such thing as perfection when it comes to leading the affairs of men; but one must realise the context in which Iran came to reinvent itself an Islamic Republic, organized under the Governance of the Jurist.

Iran was never given the space it needed to formulate its revolutionary ideals away from the tumult of war. Ever since Iranians stood to the Shah in their cry for Freedom Iran has been declared war to by a litany of enemies.

In between Saddam Hussein’s war of aggression, courtesy of the United States of America and organized economic sanctions, Iran has had to contend with much opposition and many difficulties. A lot can be said in the light of such struggle of Iranians’ commitment to democracy.

It was Seyed Raisi who said in an interview with RT: “The preservation of freedom, should be on the basis of ensuring the rights of others are not trampled upon, rather that they are upheld and honoured.”

I would say that this sentence very much defines Iran’s Islamic Republic.

Where many nations would have cowered under the weight of such hatred and enmity, Iranians have chosen dignity and compassion. More importantly still, the  Islamic Republic has managed to wield opposition to  successfully anchor its democratic traditions.

If Iran has yet to refine its democracy – which nation hasn’t, the latest presidential elections prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that Iranians are committed to enact their rights to political self-determination.

At the end of the day, Iran spoke its choice and the world needs now to accept that such choice is Iran’s prerogative. When it comes to electing a head of state, there is no such thing as right or wrong, only sovereignty.

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