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What Are The Iranian Opposition's Demands?


A woman wears the trademark green of the current Iranian opposition during a recent demonstration to express support in France. (photo by Maryam)

A woman wears the trademark green of the current Iranian opposition during a recent demonstration to express support in France. (photo by Maryam)

Five Iranian intellectuals living abroad -- Abdolkarim Soroush, Akbar Ganji, Mohsen Kadivar, Ataollah Mohajerani, and Abdolali Bazargan -- have issued a list of what they consider to be the main demands of Iran's opposition Green Movement.

Here are some of those demands:

1. The resignation of Iran's President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and the holding of a new vote under the supervision of independent organs and the creation of an independent election commission that includes opposition members

2. The release of all political prisoners and a review of the cases of alleged torture and abuse of protesters in public and fair trials

3. The freedom of all media and the expansion of nongovernmental television channels and the removal of Internet filtering

4. Recognition of the right to activities by political parties, student and women's movements, workers associations, and the right to peaceful assembly and protest

5. The independence of universities and the exit of military forces from the universities and the cancellation of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution

6. The prosecution of those involved in torture and killings, especially in recent months

7. The independence of the judiciary, including the election of its senior leader and the cancellation of the special clergy courts

8. The exit of military forces from the political, economic, and cultural arenas

9. Independence of the clergy from the establishment

10. Making all high-level officials accountable and limiting their terms of office

The statement by investigative journalist Ganji, Islamic scholar Soroush, reformist cleric and scholar Kadivar, former Culture Minister Mohajerani, and Bazargan, an Islamic thinker and son of former Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan, follows a January 1 statement by opposition leader Mir Hossein Musavi in which he offered a five-point solution to the current crisis.

The demands of the five thinkers are similar to demands made by Musavi in his last and previous statements.

Musavi called in his last statement for the release of political prisoners and the freedom to assemble and gather legally.

He did not demand the resignation of Ahmadinejad, leading some to speculate that Musavi might be retreating. But the language he used was defiant and confrontational: "I'm not afraid to be one of the martyrs people have offered in the struggle for their just demands."

Iran observers have suggested that Musavi's statement has put the ball back in the court of the hard-liners.

Iran's conservative daily "Kayhan" reacted angrily to Musavi's statement and said it demonstrates that the current sedition (a conservative codeword for opposition activities) has reached a dead end.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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