On the verge of the Tenth Round of Presidential Elections in Iran, the Committee to Defend Free, Healthy and Fair Elections has once again expressed its support for the creation and unimpeded activity of civil society organizations to provide oversight of elections with the intent of safeguarding the votes of citizens in the upcoming elections. The Committee has further identified the obstruction of activities by civil society organizations to this end as an act designed impede healthy and fair elections. Along these lines, the Committee to Defend Free, Healthy, and Fair Elections has issued a statement critical of the guardian council. Specifically the Committee has criticized the conditional supervision and stringent vetting process imposed by the Guardian Council in its final approval of candidates standing for elections and its refusal to approve candidates not seen as part of the establishment. Beyond the vetting process there is concern that even those candidates who have been approved to stand for elections will not benefit from a fair and healthy elections competitions. According to the Committee to Defend Free, Healthy and Fair Elections, the manner in which the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) as the media outlet with the broadest reach in the country has dealt with the issue of elections and the biased coverage it provides candidates, is one of the main challenges and serious problems in realizing fair elections. The IRIB’s dominant approach in the broadcasting of programs is such that it favors the current president who is a candidate running for re-election. As such, the unwillingness of the IRIB as the national media outlet to broadcast news and information about the perspectives of other candidates has become cause for their objection as well as the objection and criticism of all political factions and figures.
Additionally, the concerns and important inquiries of political parties and political figures critical of the current president with respect to the safeguarding of the votes of citizens and the political bias of election implementers and observers, have not been sufficiently addressed. Additionally those raising concern with respect to the health and fairness of elections have been indirectly threatened by officials, who claim that the expression of such concerns constitute “illegal actions.” For example, the opinions expressed in support of the President who is running for re-election and the criticisms expressed against civil society groups intent on providing independent oversight over the elections process by the head of the national elections task force, as the highest ranking official in charge of implementing the elections and the Chair of the Guardian Council, as the highest ranking official in charge of observing the elections, have further raised concerns about the fairness and health of elections.
The Committee to Defend Free, Healthy and Fair Elections expresses its support for the creation and unimpeded activities of civil society organizations and groups who with the intent of safeguarding the votes of citizens in the upcoming elections seek to provide independent oversight of the election process. Further the Committee to Defend Free, Healthy and Fair Elections , further believes that the obstruction of activities by civil society organizations to this end to be an act designed to impede healthy and fair elections.
The Committee to Defend Free, Healthy and Fair Elections
May 17, 2009