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Iran: The 15 Points of "The Secular Green Movement" (14 January)

The 15 points, published Thursday by "The Secular Green Movement" and now signed by more than 150 Iranians working and living abroad. Many thanks to an EA reader for translation:

1. Iranians are suffering from different types of discrimination which have been a historical burden, especially Shi'a as official religion since the 1906 law of the Constitutional Revolution.

2. The solution is to build a new society without any discriminations.

Latest Iran News (16 January): Ripples

3. Iranians, as the real proprietors of this country, should strictly abide to the International Convention of Human Rights.

4. National unity and integrity can only be guaranteed by overturning all types of discriminations.

5. Iranian identity, besides its legal connotations, arises from our "national and historical" identity. Conservation of all kinds of cultural heritage, of all Iranians and all epochs, is necessary to strengthen this identity. At the same time critique of all periods is necessary to preserve it.

6. Iran will only belong to all Iranians when every office is open to anyone, regardless of religion, ideology, language, ethnicity, or gender.

7. The most important solution to ensure "acceptance of differences in a realm without discriminations" is the principle of qualification.

8. All natural resources belong to all Iranians. Private ownership must be respected, but should not be misused for social superiority. National policies should be made to foster social equality.

9. Dismissing discrimination from a multiple society requires a non-religious and non-ideological government, This should meet the demands of "all Iranians", represented by a legislatory parliament, whose members are elected without any interference.

10. No group is allowed to impose its values, festivities, or mournings upon others.

11. There should be acceptance of the inherent needs of different groups of society, prohibiting the imposition of a unified religion, rules, language, etc.

12. Every official is responsible for the duties of his office.

13. Political parties are essential, but should not impose their ideology or religion on government and social life. Any party can present its own programme, but it has to govern for "all Iranians", ruling in a democratic and secular framework. No ruler or party can govern without restriction; all officials serve the people and are not above them.

14. In an Iran without discrimination, which we demand, people must always have the right to criticize, protest, gather peacefully, and go on legal strikes. In parallel, freedom of press and media must be guaranteed by government. Complaints against published news must be judged by independent courts; government has no right to interfere. Freedom of speech requires that only national unity, freedom of the people, and installation of democratic organisations are "holy", and even these can be criticized.

15. Armed forces and security forces are not allowed to participate in political and economic affairs, except as private citizens and without state funding. They should abide to their legal duties, obeying the government and the people.

Reader Comments (37)

[...] Secular Green Movement issues 15 point demands Iran: The 15 Points of “The Secular Green Movement” (14 January) | Enduring America FINALLY: A VIABLE GREEN ALTERNATIVE TO MOUSAVI AND KAROUBBI! As the regime's crimes continue to [...]

"5. Iranian identity, besides its legal connotations, arises from our “national and historical” identity. Conservation of all kinds of cultural heritage, of all Iranians and all epochs, is necessary to strengthen this identity. At the same time critique of all periods is necessary to preserve it."

Perfectly worded. This is the definition of national identity we need here in France, where the gvt has deemed indispensable to launch a debate about the subject.

January 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterflorence achard

I recognize one of these so called "secular" greens. He is the same guy who is working over time to discredit NIAC. He is a former (?) member of the MKO.

January 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony

Other than that, its an appealing set of objectives. But I believe its a little too early for secularism to come to Iran.

January 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony

[...] Manifest der Säkularen Grünen Bewegung (Englisch) [...]

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNews vom 17. Januar « Ar

Who are you Anthony saying that what is early or not early for 70 millions? also why don't you reveal the name of MKO? you know MKO is quite disliked by iranians but secularism is better talk explicitly if you have a document, then come up with it. instead of mixing two different subjects...we r not afraid of MKO as they have no support in Iran but we have suffered 30 years from looks like that you had a luxury of living in a better place and have no clue about iranians demands.....

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSahar

Besides I am less concerned about signatories...different people and group should come up with such platforms...we need competition!:)

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSahar

I agree 100% with Sahar, Anthony, BACK OFF , WHO R U TO SAY ,it's too soon for secularism in Iran. do you know anything about our 150 years of fight against foriegn interference in our country, our business, mainly British and Russians !!?
go read or elese please do not talk about something you have no clue about .
we brothers and sisters are bravely fighting a middle-ages type of regime with their lives and everything shows that they've made up their mind to topple this evil and they hope that we can finally establish a genuine democracy free of all effects and influnce of any religion once and for all , only if people like you on high powers leave us alone .
So, anybody who believe in this essential deviation from the Islamic green please come forward and let's support the call for SEULARISM in Iran and maybe without any green word .

Zendeh baad Iran

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFred Pirgaibi

Sahar, I'm a nobody but the millions who came to Montazeri's funeral many of which were wearing chadors are Iranians are they not?

Regardless of how you feel about the situation in Iran, I believe the majority of Iranians are still traditional and religious. Only upper class educated Iranians might support secularism if it comes to it.

May I ask where you live? Outside Iran most likely?

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony

Anthony/ it is not what you wear that matters, likes of Martyr Ayat.Montazeri and Khatami also wear the same attire as Khamenei. Green movement is about inclusivity of all tendencies, respect of other Religions, Beliefs, tendencies, Social, removal of discriminations of all kind such as language, ethnicity, gender etc. We Are United. The masses who make up this movements regardless of level of educations do recognise what is good for them as they may be some under educated but not by any means unintelligent so please stop insulting peoples intelligence by your less than candid remarks. We are forced to fight this struggle from on two front which is a real shame I wish few misguided self interested Journalists stop their mindless support of dictators and join the human race at some point.

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteriranangel


Being religious doesn't necessarily mean you want a religious govt; you can remain muslim and still think that clerics shouln't meddle with politics; you can be a muslim and think that there is no Supreme Truth in human affairs. Iran has suffered for 30 years because some clerics made the people believe that a human being (Khomeini, then khamenei) possessed this Truth (Veleyat e Fagih); more and more Iranians, religious or not, no longer believe that.

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterflorence achard


Is the Secular Greens website written by people inside or outside Iran?

Thanks for your answer and for the great work you do everyday!

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterflorence achard


I agree with you. To assume 70 million people want western-style secularism for government is ill-informed. Often, these secularist claims are made by people who have neither lived, nor experienced people outside the upper-middle class spheres of larger cities--and these are the individuals who have education and language training to reach out and speak to the world outside--thus biasing the picture of the "average" Iranian.

But, I also agree with florence archard.

A lot of really religious people are very fed up by the disgrace this so-called-religious government is causing their faith. To save, Islam, they really wish these Machiavellian politicians separated religion from their business of running the country--at which they are failing NOT BECAUSE their religious conviction, but because of their technocratic incompetence.

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternaj


My understanding is that "The Secular Green" statement has been put together by Iranians living outside the country, and all the signatories so far are based outside Iran.


January 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScott Lucas

Interesting, but seems profoundly dubious and disconnected from the actual Iran that is.... It claims for starters that Iran should build not just a new government, but a "new society."

Really? Sounds rather like somebody's utopia that wishes to deny Iran's multi-faceted cultural and history in favor of what...? the International "Convention" of Human Rights? What exactly is that? And what other society orders its realm in conformity with that?

And who wrote this document? And who are the signers? Ok, their expatriates. We ought know something of who the authors are and their leading backers before we give it much weight.

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterescot


"Interesting, but seems profoundly dubious and disconnected from the actual Iran that is…."

It is exactly the other way round! Nearly each point addresses heavy transgressions of the IRI, which have become even more apparent in the past 7 months:
3. Human rights are obviously absent from the IRI.
4. Discriminations are evident: women, dissidents, gays, Bahais etc.
5. The situation of Iranian cultural heritage is deplorable, royal dynasties were recently eliminated from history school books.
6. Offices are reserved to those in power.
7. Qualification is also absent, offices get allocated according to family or organisational (IRGC) relationships.
8. Social equality is absent.
9. After 7 months of protests it becomes evident that not "all Iranians" are represented. Fair elections do not exist, dissident candidates are rejected (June 2009: 4 of 400 candidates were allowed).
10. Shiites are imposing their values upon all other religious and non-religious groups.
11. Imposition of unified religion etc. is evident.
12. No official is responsible for the duties of his office actually.
13. One political party imposes its ideology and religion on all others, go visit the prison of Evin.
14. Critique, peaceful protests? Go visit Behesht-e Zahra cemetery and Evin.
15. IRGC controls nearly 60 percent of national economy through the so-called bonyads (religious foundations).

Disconnected? Please connect ...

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

You are wrong Anthony I live in Iran and lived all my life there!
I am coming from a religious family, my grandpa is a cleric... I am kind of religious given my background but totally against religious systems like millions I met since I was growing up in Iran from all over Iran that has made me convinced that Iranians do not want these guys on power....I can see regime has a lot of resources to fund people to always direct our anger and frustration towards a direction "Islamic democracy"!!!! it can't be funnier that me it is like a childish game that the regime is playing....anyways....

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersahar

by the way I should say contrary to all your analysis: north Tehranis maybe more willing to keep the system, because they have a luxury of going out whenever they can't bear hijab, ramezan or strict rules...they have somehow come into compromise with the system establishing a double life...the one that suffer more are ordinary people...the educated north Tehranis like musavi and can cope with Islamic system perhaps although they would not be upset if they see it falls but for now they don't mind much...I lived in Iran and have been in touch with all sort of people...people have been trying to live but they are fed up! OF COURSE INSIDE Iran we have to wear hijab and use all religious means otherwise we will be called mohareb and it will be even more dangerous!

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersahar


thanks for giving us outsiders meaningful details about what ordinary people think in Iran; the more you say, the more you describe the situation, the better as it is very difficult for us to have an accurate image of what takes place in your country; we can never know for sure the real weight (popular support) of this or that statement.


"To assume 70 million people want western-style secularism for government is ill-informed"

I don't know about western style, I'm sure every country has enough creativity to find their own style. But remember that Iran hasn't always been a theocracy and Iranians haven't forgotten that.

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterflorence achard

Interesting comments, everybody has a point. I agree with Naj that Iran has a traditional population but I also have experienced many highly religious family who think that their Islam has been in danger because of the things happened via Islam interference with politic. Many highly religious family believe to rescue their Islam one should separate Islam from politics. At the same time a secularization is happening in Iran too! See the names people choose for their children are less religious...I wonder if one can do a study and see if that is true.
I also agree with Sahar that many people from northern Tehran maybe too comfortable to really risk everything for a bigger change, even if they like it to happen. Also as for Sahar comment about "Islamic democracy" .... what is its difference with "secular democracy", just a name or more than that? I would appreciate your response on this.
I also have a cleric grand father! but he passed away long before 1979 revolution and of course it has nothing to do with my dreams of a democratic Iran.... But things are not that easy!

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFeri


"remember that Iran hasn’t always been a theocracy and Iranians haven’t forgotten that"

In as far as Iranians have been trying to adopt "democracy", (i.e constitutional revolution), religion and western-style-democracy have been in counteraction. The first time around, about two centuries ago, it was the clerics who won the constitutional revolution winds; in 1979 it was the clerics who hijacked it; and as much as I pray this will not happen again, I strongly suspect it will.

To have a theocracy (which is not what Iran has, but claims to have); than to have religious influence in politics are not the same. Religion WILL be highly influencial in Iran's politics to come; because much of the "literature of resistance" draws from shiite religious texts and traditions. Actually, if you listen to this Eta'at; you will notice that he is quoting Imam Ali quite often!

In Iran, it will be "which version of religious reading will govern"; not IF.

Of course, religions are incompatible with democracy in essence; but democracy is a necessity for free-market societies. Whether it is the IRGC industrialists or the Reformist oligarchy, these tyrants WILL have to reform themselves to make a "profit" ... don't believe their slogans of heaven or hell--no one in Iran buys that!

In that sense, Sahar is right.

The luxurious upper class knows how to pay taxes to these new-rich goons and keep them at bay. It is the ordinary, middle class, educated people who are being grinded and are reacting to this reaction. And IRan has a sizable middle class, that can rein in these tyrants; ONLY IF THE OUTSIDERS KEEP THEIR NOSES OUT OF OUR AFFAIRS AND THEIR 5+1 GOVERNMENTS SHUT THE HELL UP with their phony threats and carrots ...

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternaj


"religions are incompatible with democracy in essence;"

As an atheist, I disagree completely with this.

I would agree perhaps with the thought that PERHAPS Islam is not completely compatible with Democracy - but it can be.

It is a matter of absolute fact (to me) that religion unfortunately plays a part in the lives of most people throughout the world - and the central tenets of the different religions diffuse deeply into peoples thinking, and ultimately into the manner in which their countries operate. The GOOD parts of these religious tenets - eg THOU SHALT NOT KILL - become part of the way in which people treat each other - the entire society(including politics and governance) is formed under the guiding light of these good religious tenets. Much of Judeo/Christian countries law is based upon the biblical "Ten Commandments"

Japan(Shinto), Poland(Catholic), Spain(Catholic), Indonesia(Muslim/Christian), Mexico(Catholic), India(Hindu/Muslim), Israil (Jewish/Muslim/Christian)-- countries with very religious people, which function quite well (not perfect) as Democracies. There are many others.


January 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarry

Barry you are mixing things up!
I neither agree with a jewish state nor an Islamic state. A state belongs to its people no matter what their religions there is a difference between jewish and Islamic state who need each other a lot to co-exist in Middle East and a style of democracy in US! where nobody cares about your religion.

Islamic democracy does not exist. In fact it is such a meaningless combination we have invented to damage the whole region! neither jewish democracy.

If Iran becomes a democracy free of religion then our jewish brothers in Israel will be forced to do the same. It is a kind of a balance in the region. The we can live happily ever after:)

If Islamic democracy means that you can play a role in politics whether you are a good Muslim or not, then it is like other western democracy where you can be a good christian or whatever or not in order to be involved in basically "Islamic" or "christain" or "jewish" democracy is a meaningless combination!!!

The game is over...everybody should think of a better solution to their problems because people will not be deceived anymore!

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersahar

By the way do no forget that some 50 percent according to official figures usually do not participate in elections...
In the past elections I did a rough calculation based on the number of polling stations, hours of operation and how many people vote in an hour in a constituency this past and by no means, the turn out can be even 40, let alone 75 as they announced!!! go back check the news to see how realistic it is.

I am sorry I never believe any figures in my country!

to me some 70 percent do not participate and this silent majority have a very meaningful silence......even in recent demonstrations although many of those who never voted participated but still the silent majority is silent until things changes a bit further.....

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersahar


I think that perhaps you have misunderstood me - and I agree with most of what you say. My point is that religion and Democracy are not incompatible. For example, the US has many religions (probably the majority are Judeo/Christian) and much of their law and democratic principles comes form out of the background of their majority religious thought.

I see no problem with religion in countries, or even religion having an influence on the society and governance of a country -and believe that it can contribute to Democracy. However, the way in which it has been used in Iran is bad!.

Israel for me is another matter entirely - and I won't go further with that here, my opinion will not change anything there (but I support the State of Israel and the fact that it has been and is a refuge for Jewish people). A race - a Nation of people - an ethnicity - have a right (IMO) to ensure their own survival. But that is another issue.

January 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbarry

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