The formation of a broad based movement advocating Democracy and a true Republic based on the principles of non-violence, can serve the greater movement of Iranians to attain the legitimate demands of political freedoms, fair and free elections, and constitutional change. We advocate a democratic political system and a republican form of government based on the principles of accountability, transparency, and public participation.
Political struggle alone will not bring about the success of democratic forces. Democracy requires its own political and cultural values, the strengthening of civil society and its institutions, and the involvement of diverse social groups in the political process.
We, the signatories of this document, representing a diverse range of social and political views and backgrounds, firmly state our belief in the principles of tolerance, political dialogue, the rule of law, and national reconciliation. This appeal is issued to assist the united effort among advocates of democracy and secular republic in Iran and to facilitate more deliberate discussions and exchanges within the country and abroad. Toward that end we declare the following to be our principles and objectives:
1. A Republic, founded on the principles of separation of powers, constitutional guarantees of civil, political, social rights and individual liberties in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its related United Nations covenants, is the appropriate form of governance for a sustainable democracy in Iran. Elections and term limits for the head of State and the government will create a true republic preventing any claim to power based on heritage, religion, or ideology.
2. The democratic republic that we envision will be based on the principle of separation of religious institutions and ideology from the State and its institutions, and equal access for the followers of any religion or ideology to the political arena. Separation of religious institutions and the State is necessary to establish equal rights among the citizens, free practice for the followers of all religions and ideologies and protection of citizens.
3. Democracy cannot flourish where there is deprivation and disenfranchisement. Freedom, social justice, and economic development are mutually necessary conditions for sustainable social development. This includes the provision of equal opportunity to affordable housing, healthcare, education, and social welfare.
4. Sustainable development necessitates coexistence with the natural environment. Therefore, we desire preservation of nature and the environment for the present and future generations.
5. Women’s rights are human rights. We call for equal rights for women and men and the realization of the principles of the UN’s Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women. Women’s rights in the family and the society must be guaranteed and any social, cultural, and political victimization of individuals based on sex must be eliminated. We desire an enabling environment for the flourishing of women’s capabilities in all fields.
6. We believe in the equality of citizens irrespective of their ethnicity, language, religion, or lifestyle. We call for policies that will redress the political, cultural, and social discrimination experienced by minorities and that will enhance mutual understanding among ethnic and religious groups.
7. Democratic governance will require the delegation of local administrative and decision making process to the local elected officials. An effective political process will recognize that stability, national interest and national sovereignty can only be enhanced through decentralized allocation of responsibilities and participation.
8. We believe in non-violent political struggle. The society and its body politic have the right of expression of political and economic demands through peaceful means. These include peaceful protests, strikes, acts of civil disobedience and general referendum, as provided for in the international conventions and norms.
9. We call for the elimination of all forms of violence in the political arena, the society, and the family. We condemn torture and capital punishment and believe that violent punishments are at variance with human dignity. It is our belief that the vicious cycle of revengeful political violence needs to end.
10. Iran’s national interest and international peace should be the basis of Iran’s foreign policy and its guiding principles. Iran should welcome friendly relations and cooperation with all countries based on mutual interests and respect.