Iran Elections Background Available | Freedom House

Iran Elections Background Available

NEW YORK

As Iran prepares to hold presidential elections tomorrow, Freedom House research reports on Iran's governance and the state of political and civic freedom in the country are available for background.

A forthcoming Freedom House study, Countries at the Crossroads--a survey of democratic governance that evaluates performance in 30 strategic countries--says the following about Iran.

"Freedom and justice have turned out to be elusive. The new constitution of 1979 in effect guaranteed that its principal authors, a select group of high-ranking clergy, would be able to perpetuate a grip on power that could be broken only with their consent. They have proved intolerant of those who seek to broaden political participation, attempting to cap dissent with tough restrictions on freedom of expression. They have not hesitated to use their monopoly on juridical authority to keep critics and rivals under control. Political dissidents and journalists have no protection from arbitrary arrest or interrogations under torture. Corruption and bribery are pervasive, bred by the exclusive access to power open to supporters of the ruling clerics&. the Islamic Republic depends on the popular will as an additional source of legitimacy. The uneasy coexistence of a democratic tendency within a theocratic framework has resulted in an amalgam of elected and non-elected institutions, both dominated by senior clerics."

The report also outlines key policy recommendations directed to the Iranian government. The full countries at the crossroads governance survey will be available June 29.

An op-ed article by Freedom House staff members Thomas O. Melia and Mariam Memarsadeghi, published today by the Globe and Mail, states that "elections in Iran are nothing more than one of the regime's most ingenious ways of maintaining a facade of democracy."

On June 9 Mr. Melia testified before the US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe on developing a trans-Atlantic approach towards Iran. The transcript is available here.

The Countries at the Crossroads report on Iran is available here.

More Freedom House reports on Iran are available online:

Freedom in the World 2005: Iran

Freedom of the Press 2005: Iran 

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