The Supreme Leader is content that more than three quarters of the new MPs support him, and are critical of President Ahmadinejad. So commentators are talking about a lame duck president. And more. They are talking about the abolition of the presidency. For in October 2011 the Supreme Leader put forward this idea in a speech to academics. He said the presidential system was good, but added, ‘In the future – probably in the distant future – it is deemed that a parliamentary regime, [in which the parliament] appoints the heads of the executive branch, is preferable.’ Under this system, the head of the executive would no longer be elected by the general voters, but by the parliament. Given the trouble the last presidential elections caused in 2009, and the on-going tension since then between the president and the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamanei, with this new friendly parliament, might well be thinking about this option. Presidents can be troublesome to Supreme Leaders, as Bani Sadr was to Ayatollah Khomeini, and Khatami to Ayatollah Khamanei, not least because they can appeal to the support of the electorate. This is ruled out under a parliamentary system. If this constitutional reform went ahead, then the new head of the government would be accountable solely to parliament. And the new parliament just elected does not look as if it will cause any headaches for the Supreme Leader.
These parliamentary elections or even the abolition of the presidency will make no difference for Christians. For, until freedom of religion is respected at the highest level of government, Iranians who want to be active Christians will risk the danger of arbitrary arrest and imprisonment. Meanwhile, according to the commands of the New Testament, Iranian Christians must pray for these MPs.
• New MPs to be just and right and fair
• Consciences of MPs to be sensitive to issues of religious freedom
• Central government to deliver stability to 75 million Iranians