Iran’s first president after the 1979 Islamic Revolution Abul Hassan Bani Sadr said the Iranian regime is not prone to reformation at the time being since it is based on the concentration of power in the hands of one person.
“The Velayet-e-Faqih system means that the Supreme Guide is the sole ruler who has the upper hand in all state matters including executive, legislative, and judiciary powers,” he told Al Arabiya’s Point of Order Friday.
Bani Sadr said that when talking about the possibility of change in Iran, it is important to bear in mind that democracy has to come from within and can never be imported from outside.
“External powers cannot bring democracy to another country. Iraq and Afghanistan are the most obvious examples. Democracy comes from the people.”
Bani Sadr argued that the Iranian people are capable of rising against the current regime and establishing a democracy.
“They did it before when they toppled the Shah and I don’t see why they can’t do the same with this fabricated system of governance that has no roots in Iran.”
Regarding the Syrian crisis, Bani Sadr argued that Iran’s support for the Syrian regime is not sectarian as it is commonly believed.
“Bashar al-Assad is Alawite while Iranians are Twelver Shiites and those two are different. It is a political rather than a sectarian alliance.”
When asked about Ayatollah Khomeini’s plans to establish a “Shiite strip” around the Muslim world, Bani Sadr said that late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat visited the Iranian Supreme Guide during the Iraqi-Iranian war and talked about this project with him.
“Arafat told Khomeini that Arab powers will not allow him to implement this ‘Shiite strip” project, yet he insisted and went on with the eight-year war, thinking that the Iraqi regime would fall and that he would therefore be able to go ahead with his plan.”
The former Iranian president objected to a military strike or an economic blockade against Iran since, he argued, it is the Iranian people who will pay the price of such measures.
“Plus, war has never been the way to solve problems and it will not, on the other hand, prevent Iran from manufacturing a nuclear bomb.”
In this interview, which took place before the American elections, Bani Sadr said that he heard the Iranian regime had decided to halt uranium enrichment in order to boost Obama’s chances in winning another term in office.
“If this was true, then it is a positive sign that change is underway. It will, in fact, be a revolution in the foreign policies of the current regime which has always been said to have secret ties with the Republicans.”