The logo of the Alliance for Democracy and Freedom in Iran

Iran’s United Opposition Figures Release Mahsa Charter

Friday, 03/10/2023

Prominent Iranian dissident figures, who have recently made an alliance against the Islamic Republic, has issued a Charter of Solidarity and Alliance for Freedom. 

The group, which calls itself the Alliance for Democracy and Freedom in Iran, announced its existence in a February event at Georgetown University's Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) -- titled ‘The Future of Iran’s Democracy Movement.' 

Exiled Prince Reza Pahlavi, Nobel peace prize laureate Shirin Ebadi and Canada-based activist Hamed Esmaeilion, as well as US-based author, journalist and women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad, actress and activist Nazanin Boniadi and Secretary General of Komala Iranian Kurdish party Abdullah Mohtadi had said that they would release the charter that would lay the foundations for political representation of the aspirations of protesters in Iran and gain support for isolating the Islamic Republic.

The document is also called the Mahsa Charter in reference to “the murder of Mahsa (Jina) Amini and the beginning of the Woman, Life, Freedom revolution,” which has seen the people of Iran continuing to fight for freedom “to break the chains of injustice, discrimination and tyranny.”

Emphasizing that the way to building a free and democratic Iran is to overcome the Islamic Republic regime, they said, “Reaching this ultimate goal necessitates the three elements of unison, organization and relentless continuity in activism.”

They said the charter relies initially on activities outside of the country, underlining that the isolation of the Islamic government internationally is a first and necessary step for a democratic change. 

The charter calls for international pressure on the Islamic Republic to halt all death sentences and to immediately release all political prisoners without condition; expulsion of the regime’s ambassadors and all its dependents by democratic governments and acknowledging the alliance of opposition figures as well as their charter; and facilitating any means necessary to aid the people of Iran. 

“Subsequent actions will take place with the participation of activists inside Iran to focus on fair transitional justice, the formation of a council for the transition of power, and the means by which power is transferred to a secular, democratic government,” reads the charter, adding that “The Alliance will introduce actionable initiatives using democratic methods to be implemented at the earliest opportunity in order to bring to fruition the civil action struggles of the people of Iran.”

The members of the alliance have repeatedly said that anyone who accepts the core values of the group is welcome to join them, but until now there had not been a clear explanation for their main values. They enumerated 17 common values for a democratic Iran, noting that the form of the future government will be a secular-democratic system determined through a referendum. “All political and official members of the state shall be elected through a free and democratic election process whereby citizens of all beliefs, ethnicities, gender and sexual orientation be afforded dignity and equal rights before the law.”

The need to maintain the territorial integrity of Iran while accepting diversity in language, ethnicity, religion and culture; and to decentralize power by deferring financial, bureaucratic and policy making affairs to elected provincial, city, and regional administrations is also among the values. 

The charter also talks about the formation of an independent organization to supervise elections and the acceptance of domestic and international monitoring of elections, which would result in “a new national constitution through an inclusive and transparent process.” “The new constitution shall adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in its entirety.” 

The charter also mentions the abolition of the death penalty and any corporal punishment and enacting the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women as well as the establishment of an independent judicial system in accordance with international standards. It calls for Justice for all victims of the Islamic Republic through fact finding commissions under the auspices of fair and independent courts including the right to independent legal representation.

One of main points of the charter is the abolition of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp – or the IRGC -- and all of its subsidiaries. “The possibility to integrate IRGC elements into other armed forces such as the army may only be possible in the absence of involvement in crimes and based on necessary qualifications,” it said, adding that “The military shall only be responsible to defend the territorial integrity of the country.”

It also called for “cooperation and peaceful relations with all countries in the world, and to cease all interference in the affairs of other countries, and to join the International Criminal Court.” Joining the International Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) were key values in the charter. 

“To overcome the Islamic Republic’s tyranny, all Iranians who are committed to freedom must unite. The courage of the people of Iran and their persistent fight for freedom shall be the bright beacon of hope for our future. Let us stand united in the creation of a free tomorrow," the charter concluded. 

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