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Revolution and Pro-Democracy Aspirations

SHAPUR (CHAPOUR) BAKHTIAR'S GOVERNMENT'S PROGRAM

Shapur Bakhtiar
Daily Etela'at
January 11, 1979
Address

Oh Lord, in these critical moments for my country, in this sacred place where still echoes the voices of steadfast , selfless and dedicated men, help me to speak nothing but the truth, to say nothing but what is in the interest and for the good of the people.

Honorable Mr. Speaker of the National consultative Assembly, Ladies and Gentlemen, during the turbulent history of our ancient Land, there were dark days that were in fact, mostly the consequence of short-lived foreign subjugation. Though it seems to be the consequence of 25 year rule of corrupt and incompetent governments, the present danger to the unity and very existence of the country, is rather rooted in a huge international conspiracy against the integrity and sovereignty of Iran.

Before coming to this sacred place, I publicly declared that if I became the Prime Minister, I would be a responsible one and would follow all the parliamentarian traditions and I would safeguard individual and social freedoms. If you, the honorable representatives who elected me as a Prime Minister with majority vote, also give my cabinet your vote of confidence, you can rest assured that the spirit and letter of the constitution which has unbreakable ties to Islam will be respected at all times. I promise that I will assume with no hesitation my obligation to forcefully counter any conspiracy, any individual or any organization intending to violate the unity and indivisibility of the Iranian nation. I will oppose them with my faith, the support of the people and the might of the army, which is one of the important pillars of the country's  stability and independence.

My government is the obvious outcome of a revolution, which began two years ago, against continuous violations and indescribable disasters that had become commonplace. My government favors the main goals of the National Front of Iran and will try to implement them.

In this time when the government purse is empty, and most of the factories in the country have been shut down, I urge you, as respected representatives and citizens of this country, to do your best to turn the wheels of our economy in order to guarantee the independence and welfare of our people. We must all give this new government a chance to direct the country towards a progressive and incorrupt regime based on the principles of Islam, the constitution, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Now, with all due respect and to save your time, I'll present the short term program of the government orally, and will distribute the printed version of the long term program.

Highlights of Government's Emergency Programs

1- Dissolution of the Organization for Information and Security of the Country (SAVAK) [the former regime's political police],  substituting it with an intelligence agency serving the independence and security of the nation.

2- Expeditious trials for plunderers and violators of people's rights to take place either in existing courts or through national courts with special competence created by new laws.

3- Appointment of an independent commission to investigate the activities of former SAVAK officials and the prosecution of the violators.

4- Release of all political prisoners. All those who were tried and convicted in unconstitutional courts in violation of the constitutional rights of the Iranian nation, must be released.

5- Rehabilitation of all political prisoners detained since August 19, 1953.

6- Payment of appropriate compensation to all those who have been detained over a year or have been harassed or disabled due to political charges (since August 19, 1953).

7- Payment of appropriate compensation to minor and under tutelage survivors of all those who lost their lives while detained in so called security detention centers.

8- Abolish gradually martial law with the cooperation of religious leaders in cities under martial law.

9- Pass a law in the parliament to officially call recent political victims "martyrs".

10- Pay compensation to the families of the "martyrs" and those who were disabled during the recent struggle (rioting).

11- End the strikes with the cooperation of religious leaders, responsible intellectuals, workers, and industrialists.

12- Create an atmosphere of cooperation between the government and the clergy so the Ayatollahs [clerical leaders] can supervise the function of government.

13- Repair the recent destruction so society can function properly.

14- Revitalize production [which had come to a stop because of general strike during the revolutionary movement] in the country to improve the economy.

15- Organize free elections for the city councils, mayors, and, both houses of the parliament (National Assembly and the Senate). 

16- Expel all unnecessary foreign workers and those who work illegally.

17- Restore the rule of law in the country.

The Foreign Policy of the Iranian Government

The foreign policy of this government will be based on an accurate evaluation of both internal and external circumstances; sincerity and openness will be the cornerstone of its international relationships. Based on these principles the government is determined to defend the rights and interests of the nation, which include its territorial integrity, its sovereignty and its security, on the international arena. The government is determined to protect the national interests as well as the rights that guarantee the sovereignty, security, and unity of the nation.

The Main Principles of the Foreign Policy

1- Strengthen and extend the political, economic, and cultural relationships with the Islamic countries.

2- Continue and extend relationships with all countries, especially our neighbors, based on mutual respect, nonintervention, and peaceful coexistence in accordance with our national interests.

3- Consider the common interests of the Iranian nation with developing countries, and consciously expand our relationships with these countries.

4- Because economic and social progress and ultimately the implementation of the Iranian nation's ideals require peace and security on the international scene Iran will support any efforts to resolve international conflicts. In other words, Iran will not take sides hastily in any international conflict and will only take the position that serves the national interests of the Iranian people.

5- The policy of Iran is based on unconditional support of the United Nation's Charter as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and related covenants. Iran will try to protect and support human rights and the legitimate demands of those nations struggling against colonialism, or its effects, in all forms.  

6- Regarding the fight against apartheid, the UN General Assembly has condemned the South African regime several times and Iran will act accordingly. Therefore, the government will revise its policy towards the South African government based on the UN General Assembly's resolutions and will stop selling oil to this government.

7- Regarding the Middle East problem, the government of Iran will express solidarity with its Arab brothers and will support them, especially the Palestinian nation, in their efforts to obtain their legitimate rights. Iran will stop selling oil to Israel, too.   

In order to implement the above principles, this government must completely revise the diplomatic organization that carries out its foreign policy. All the negative factors and obstacles such as lawbreaking, discrimination, negligence, embezzlement of the government's funds, and favoritism must be removed. My government is firmly committed to use all necessary means to purge and radically reform the diplomatic apparatus, so that it could implement the country's foreign policy. The details of such endeavour won't fit in this short session. My government commits to end lawbreaking and contempt for the Foreign Ministry's charter, rules, and regulations. To complete the above mentioned charter in accordance with its stipulations, the government will swiftly submit a bill to the parliament.

Highlights of the Domestic Policy of the Government 

- Safeguard of the individual and public freedoms, such as freedom of thought, expression, and press, according to the Constitution.

- Rehabilitation of the Judiciary and protection of its independence.

- Government noninterference in the planning and management of the country's industry, except for industries dealing with petroleum, gas, and radioactive materials, which must function under government protection, control and guidance.

- Decentralization in all areas of the country's administration and reorganization of the prefectorates in accordance with the requirements of the decentralization plan.

- Provide for the welfare of the government employees by adjusting their salaries to the minimum cost-of-living, and providing additional benefits for them to increase their performance.

- Consistently fight corruption both in public and private sectors.

- Planning, organizing and implementing projects whose goal is to make the country's agriculture and animal husbandry self sufficient.

- Make all-out efforts to fight inflation.

- Effectively implement the social security plan, limiting it to the government's real plans.

Before presenting details of the working plans for all the ministries in my government, I ask your attention to the following changes in two ministries:

1- In order to prevent any unjustified government intervention in the affairs of the universities and insure real independence for them, my government shall dissolve the Ministry of Education and Sciences and substitute it with a Bureau in the Prime Ministry Office. This Bureau will be in charge of planning, budgeting, and coordination for all universities and higher education schools according to the needs of higher education in the country. (There will be a bill based on the opinions of the universities' professors submitted to the parliament.)

2- In order to prevent the assignment of the same task to several Ministries and avoid evasion of responsibilities, the Organization for Planning and Budgeting will be reformed and charged  only with the task of budgeting, reporting  and monitoring the budget implementation according to the country's needs. (There will be a bill based on the opinions of the planning experts presented to the parliament.)   

The working plans for other ministries are ready and will be presented to the respected parliament for information, investigation, and expression of opinion.