Proof: http://imgur.com/ypZX20c

Hi Redditors, I am running for the Iranian presidency on a reform platform that seeks to reconcile Iran's domestic problems and its conflict with the West. My campaign is entirely within the confines of the Islamic Constitution. I will answer your questions for as long as possible. In return, if you believe in our campaign, please consider supporting us.

Ways to support Amirahmadi 1392:

  1. Like us on Facebook

  2. Follow us on Twitter

  3. Visit www.amirahmadi.com to learn more

  4. Attend our major event at the University of California, Berkeley on March 8 @ 6:30pm, at the Valley Life Sciences Building, #2050

  5. Donate- We are trying to build a grassroots, global political organization. Please consider helping us by donating online.

  6. Volunteer- If you have a professional skill set (photographer, graphic designer, videographer, translator, etc), you can help us by sending an email to [email protected] Be sure to include your city and skill in the subject line.

Comments: 1137 • Responses: 39  • Date: 

the_windcatcher513 karma

Thanks for doing this IAMA Dr. Amirahmadi. I have three questions:

1) You ran for president of Iran in 2005 and your candidacy was rejected by the Gaurdian Council due to your American citizenship. What has changed since then that makes you think they will not reject you this time? Did you denounce your American citizenship, or did the Iranian regime (with which you have an oddly close relationship) give you some sort of green light this time?

2) If there is no change since the last time you ran, meaning that your campaign is in vain, what do you plan to do with all the donation money after they reject you?

3) You speak of your goals and ideals, and say things like: "In my administration there will be no restriction on any type of media." This seems far too audacious given the fact that in Iran it is the Supreme Leader, Khamenei, who calls the shots with regards to major policy matters not the president. As an well-known scholar on Iran it seems hard to believe that you would be oblivious to this fact. On what basis are you then making these pledges?

Edit: grammar, Dr. Amirahmadi

hooshangamirahmadi446 karma

My candidacy in 2005 was not serious. I put my name as a candidate to register my opposition to boycotting that election, which the Iranian intellectual community unfortunately did with disastrous results for the election. No, I have not denounced my American citizenship, but Iran has changed since 2005 significantly. The country is now facing tremendous problems including factional infighting, intensified conflict with the US, and a crippled economy.

I am also building a grassroots movement to pressure the system as I lobby Tehran for approval. I am hoping that the Guardian Council this time will approve me. Besides, I believe in process as much as I believe in results. My campaign, regardless of what happens with my approval, will have a major impact as it already is having on domestic politics and the upcoming election. I am indeed the only candidate with a platform, which is already being discussed in Tehran, forcing other candidates to come up with reasonable solutions to the country’s problems.

In addition, we will stay the course after the election and make sure that our efforts produce a political institution that will field candidates for local councils, parliament, and the next president. We will stay the course as long we change the situation for real in Iran. Any donations remaining after election day will be used to build that political institution.

Finally, as a professor, I believe in education and my campaign will help I am sure to create a new political culture in the country— one that not only looks for results, but also gives the process a significant place in Iran’s political life. It is this change from thinking only in terms of results to also thinking in terms of process that I believe will help develop democracy in the country.

On the question of authority, it is unfortunate that the outside world is miseducated about the power of the Supreme Leader. The President is the second man in command and he is in charge of implementing the Constitution and has tremendous power over the country’s finances as well as foreign policy. Yes, the Leader has tremendous authority, but the Constitution also limits his powers. In fact, if there was time here I could give you example after example showing that when the president wanted to take a step in a particular direction, he has been able to, despite sometimes opposition from the Leader.

Any promise I am making is based on the Iranian constitution and the power of millions of people who will be voting for me to make me president. Please remember that for me to become president, I will at least need 25m+ votes. With that vote, the power of the president will be unmatched.

the_windcatcher102 karma

Thank you Dr. Amirahmadi for your answers, but I have to say I am hardly impressed. The 25m+ votes that you speak of is extremely optimistic. A simple back of the envelope calculation can show you that. Even if you get that number, did you forget that President Mohammad Khatami who was a veteran of Iranian politics, won in 2001 by a huge landslide (securing 77% of the vote), and still had no power in the shadow of Khamenei?

Edit: grammar, Dr. Amirahmadi

hooshangamirahmadi163 karma

It is not just the number of votes, but also the personality of the president. For example, Ahmadinjead and Rafsanjani both got more accomplished with fewer votes. It depends on your style of leadership as well as the level of your commitment to change and the ability to resist the status quo.

Also, Iran has changed and today the voting population is more demanding of real change than ever before and I believe they will be more supportive of policies directed toward change, and if the president was to show commitment, he will receive full support from the voting population.

mrhuggables98 karma

I posted this last time, though no response because it was buried under a mountain of pretty irrelevant comments. Hopefully this time I can get a well thought out response.

درود آقا , خیلی پرسشها دارم

1) Can you name a current regime or government in the world which you feel is a model for what would be your government if elected?

2) What are your opinions on the current civil war in Syria and the influx of foreign militants coming from the Arabian peninsula? How about on the situations in Egypt, specifically regarding Mr. Morsi's current political actions and policies?

3) On the same note, do you feel as if the Western-backed regimes in the peninsula such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, etc. are problematic for peace in the Middle East? Why or why not?

4) How would you strengthen the relationship of Iran with it's NON-Arab neighbors, especially Afghanistan? do you feel the current regime is focusing too much on it's enmity with the West and Israel and not enough on strengthening ties with it's cultural neighbors in Central and South Asia?

5) Do you feel as if the imprisonment and executions of the Mujahideen and other Islamic-Marxists were just? Do you consider the Mujahideen and their ilk to be terrorists?

6) Given the choice between freedom of speech & press or Economic Growth and prosperity for Iran, which would you choose?

7) Do you feel that if the Shah were still in power today, that Iran would be better off than under the Islamic Republic?

8) Do you feel that the bazaarian have too much power and influence in Iran today? If so, how what would you do to curb this influence?

9) How would you combat corruption? How would you combat the rising substance abuse and prostitution rates in Iran? How would you restore the relative economic stability that Iran experienced during the Pahlavi regime?

10) What can you tell an expatriate Iranian who feels as if his country, culture, and history has been ruined by the corruption and hypocrisy of the Islamic Regime?

hooshangamirahmadi182 karma

  1. Ideally, I would have liked to have an Iran resembling Scandinavian nations in terms of their political and economic systems. But, I am a realistic man and pragmatic political leader, and know well that Iran is decades away from such ideal models. I believe my role in Iran will be very much like what Deng Xiaoping of China did for that country. Specifically, while preserving the system, he changed its direction, creating in the process a giant world power. While this is more realistic for the immediate Iranian situation, ultimately I would like to see Iran become the South Korea of the Middle East, but a South Korea with Iranian historical and cultural values.

clowdynow30 karma

On the question of authority, it is unfortunate that the outside world is miseducated about the power of the Supreme Leader. The President is the second man in command and he is in charge of implementing the Constitution and has tremendous power over the country’s finances as well as foreign policy. Yes, the Leader has tremendous authority, but the Constitution also limits his powers. In fact, if there was time here I could give you example after example showing that when the president wanted to take a step in a particular direction, he has been able to, despite sometimes opposition from the Leader. Any promise I am making is based on the Iranian constitution and the power of millions of people who will be voting for me to make me president. Please remember that for me to become president, I will at least need 25m+ votes. With that vote, the power of the president will be unmatched.

Bullshit. This is completely false. Khatami had the highest vote count behind him, and was crippled by the meddling of the regime.

The last election proved that the regime is not allowing free elections any more, and heavily changed and skewed the election results. You are not going to have half of the support or the following that Moosavi had, and you won't be elected even if you did.

I think this is just a publicity stunt to legitimize your position as an expert on Iranian politics and your consultancy businesses.

hooshangamirahmadi68 karma

The failures of Khatami’s reform and Mousavi’s Green movements should not be interpreted as the absolute power of Khamenei. Even those who supported these gentlemen agreed that their leadership style was at least partly responsible for their failures. To support this view, one needs also to consider the significant autonomy that Ahmadinejad has developed from the Leader in exercising presidential power. For example, even though Ayatollah Khamenei has openly said that Iran will not negotiate with the US, Iran is negotiating and most recent reports indicate growing willingness in the part of Iran to be constructive.

Additional examples include the fact that Khamenei was against Rafsanjani helping President George H.W. Bush with a deal with Conoco and working with Bush on the release of hostages from Lebanon. Yet, Rafsanjani did so anyway. Furthermore, Khamenei could not limit Ahmadinejad from working with Mr. Esfandiar Mashaei.

The view from the West that Ayatollah Khamenei is all-powerful and controls everything has been very damaging to Iran’s political process and reform movement. That myth has to be removed, because in reality Khamenei does have power, but his power is limited by religious leaders within the Shi’a hierarchy, by the real world politics from the US to Europe, and limited by the power of the people in the streets and the power of those who help him manage the country, including the army and the security forces.

KhabaLox-18 karma

Can you answer his second question?

hooshangamirahmadi26 karma

See above:

In addition, we will stay the course after the election and make sure that our efforts produce a political institution that will field candidates for local councils, parliament, and the next president. We will stay the course as long we change the situation for real in Iran. Any donations remaining after election day will be used to build that political institution.

ShaihuludWorm311 karma

My mother is Iranian and my father is English, I was born and live in England. Because it is my mother who is Iranian and not my father, I am not eligible for Iranian citizenship by virtue of birth (as I understand it, if my father had been Iranian, I would be a citizen regardless of where I was born). Furthermore, though I would love to visit (or even one day live in) the country, obtaining any kind of visa is difficult. As President, would you have any plans to extend citizenship to Iranian non-citizens like me, or to at least make it easier for us to obtain visas?

Thanks for doing this AMA.

hooshangamirahmadi336 karma

Yes, I will make every effort to facilitate acquiring Iranian citizenship by foreigners, particularly those who have at least one Iranian ancestor. Toward that goal, please join us as a volunteer to help the campaign.

i_crave_more_cowbell149 karma

What is your opinion on homosexual people? Will you do anything to stop the persecution of homosexual people in Iran?

hooshangamirahmadi434 karma

Homosexuals have every citizenship rights that every other Iranian does. There must not be any discrimination against them, and their human rights must be protected. I will do everything in my power to make sure that they enjoy their citizenship rights and that they will not be persecuted on the basis of their sexual orientation.

hooshangamirahmadi126 karma

Hi Redditors, Our campaign has already incorporated many volunteers from all over the world. In particular, we need graphic designers to help us produce flyers and other materials. Are you a whiz with Adobe CS6? If so, PLEASE send an email to [email protected] We could really put your graphic design skills to great use! Thank you.

MisesvsKeynes106 karma

If elected, what would you do to prevent the execution of homosexuals? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/14/iran-gay-men-executed-hanging_n_1515207.html

hooshangamirahmadi224 karma

I will work with the religious leaders to make sure that I get fatwas from them against such executions. I believe there is no such thing in Qur’an, and my hope is that the religious leaders will indeed give the fatwa against executions. I will also take a bill to the Parliament making it illegal and unconstitutional. There is absolutely nothing in the Islamic Constitution that calls for punishing homosexuals by execution, and as President, I am responsible for implementing the Constitution. I will do everything I can to make sure that the Constitution protects homosexuals. After all, they are citizens with every right, and homosexuality is not a crime. It is the natural sexual state of some people.

hooshangamirahmadi109 karma

I will work with the religious leaders to make sure that I get fatwas from them against such executions. I believe there is no such thing in Qur’an, and my hope is that the religious leaders will indeed give the fatwa against executions. I will also take a bill to the Parliament making it illegal and unconstitutional. There is absolutely nothing in the Islamic Constitution that calls for punishing homosexuals by execution, and as President, I am responsible for implementing the Constitution. I will do everything I can to make sure that the Constitution protects homosexuals. After all, they are citizens with every right, and homosexuality is not a crime. It is the natural sexual state of some people.

In Iran, unfortunately, homosexuality is often wrongly equated with forced sexual encounters with same-sex, especially older men making younger boys the subject of rape. This is obviously a crime, and it will be punished to the full extent of the law.

MSkog82 karma

What do you think is the most realistic path to resolve tension and turmoil internal to the Middle East?

What steps do you believe President Obama could take to normalize relations with countries such as Iran?

Thank you for the AMA.

hooshangamirahmadi129 karma

I have been heavily involved in US-Iran relations for the last 25 years, taking messages back and forth, writing, creating opportunities for dialogue, establishing the American-Iranian Council, and more. The Council indeed created many historic opportunities for the two sides to get engaged and improve relations, but each time one or the other side backed off, killing the opportunity. I have been wondering why the two sides have never been able to sustain a serious dialogue. My conclusion is this: the problem is not with issues that stand between the two countries (nuclear, terrorism, human rights, etc.), as these issues are fully negotiable. The one thing that stands in my view between the two countries is the 1979 Islamic Revolution. That Revolution was anti-American, continues to remain so, and will continue so long as the first generation of leaders from that Revolution survive. It just happens to be that the US also dislikes that Revolution and indeed any revolution. Specifically, the Islamic Republic views the United States from the prism of its Revolution, and the US also views the Islamic Republic from the prism of that same Revolution. From the perspective of that mutual prism, the two sides are wrongful; one being a ‘Great Satan’, the other a member of the ‘Axis of Evil’. As long as the two sides view each other from the prism of the Revolution, nothing can be resolved. The only solution is for both sides to change glasses and view each other from a non-revolutionary prism.

This recommendation is particularly constructed for the new Obama administration, which is certainly an administration of engagement rather than war. I am particularly encouraged by the presence of John Kerry and Chuck Hagel as well as Joe Biden (all of whom have worked with me at the AIC). These people are certainly the engagement people and their presence in the administration provides Iran with an opportunity that has never existed in the past to mend relations on a mutually beneficial basis. However, it is the White House, specifically President Obama, that must embrace a new paradigm regarding Iran, particularly its Islamic Revolution. Only by accepting the legitimacy of that popular revolution and being pragmatic regarding the Islamic Republic’s ‘revolutionary behavior’ can the President break through the deadlock and normalize relations.

MrCynicalDammit77 karma

What plans do you have, if any, for women's rights?

hooshangamirahmadi188 karma

First, I would like to congratulate women around the world ahead of International Women's Day. In particular, I would like to recognize Iranian women who have struggled to gain their human rights as well as citizenship rights.

Despite many tough obstacles and discrimination including the ubiquitous Islamic dress code, Iranian women have achieved significant progress, particularly in education and the labor markets. More than half of university students are women and women carry the lion’s share of family burdens, working at home and outside, both in cities and in villages. Yet, their place in top management and high decision-making positions remains vacant. This injustice along with other problems they still face must be remedied

This injustice among others must be remedied and I will use the campaign as an opportunity to bring recognition to women’s issues and push for their rights inclusion in the nation’s top jobs. Toward this aim, as President, I will propose a new Ministry of Women and will equip it with the assets and instruments it needs to promote Iranian women’s place in society.

MrCynicalDammit56 karma

Does that include having female cabinet members? For example, would your ministry of women be headed up by a woman?

hooshangamirahmadi152 karma

Absolutely. My administration should serve as a model for female career development. In fact, I would seek out a female vice-president.

Harroputza47 karma

How do you think saying this will go down in Iran?

hooshangamirahmadi91 karma

I think Iranians by and large will be in favor of gender equality and female career advancement. In fact, under the current government, female education has been relatively successful, especially compared to its regional neighbors. Women are now obtaining the majority of advanced degrees and are entering the professional workforce. However, much remains to be done for women’s rights, and I certainly do not want to minimize the problems and obstacles that remain. I want my presidency to be a giant step in the right direction, and I am certain that Iran, which is a very young, educated, urbanized population, will strongly support me.

jdavani67 karma

Salaam. My name is Farhad Davani, I am a Persian American writer who lives in Florida. I'm currently working on a book that chronicles my experience growing up Iranian American in Post 9/11 America. I have two questions for you, sir:

1) Would you help the remaining Zoroastrians in Iran so that they will no longer get persecuted for their beliefs?

2) And what's your stance on Iran being a theocracy?

Khaylee mamnoon

Khodahafez

hooshangamirahmadi37 karma

1) Zoroastrians are also citizens of Iran. As citizens they are entitled to the equal rights as any other Iranian citizen. Zoroastrians, along with any other religious minority, should not be discriminated against.

2) Religion and politics mix naturally, but religion should not be intertwined with governing body of Iran. The Iranian constitution, however, allows this mix. I am not running to eliminate this 30 year old practice. I will indeed work hard with the religious leaders to bring about a process of evaluation of the theocratic experience. I have a statement in my campaign platform regarding this question that reads like the following: Islam a great religion with over 1.3 billion followers. All except those in Iran live in non-theocratic Islamic states. Iran is a cultural and spiritual country and the nation is fortunate to have Islam as its primary religion. Iran is an Islamic country in an Islamic region and this could work to its advantage. However, Iran is predominantly Shia, a fact that limits its Islamic leadership reach in the Sunni Islamic world. Besides, so long as the religion is nestled within the state, its full potential may not be realized; the integration has indeed severely restrained the Islamic state in a secular and hostile world, particularly in the West. Regulating state-religion relations is not a new idea; it was carried out in the Christian world centuries ago, where ‘reformation’ laid the bedrock for Western progress. Many of the high-ranking Shiite leaders in Iran and throughout the world have also accepted this notion of regulation. Religion in the state is often mistaken for religion in politics. Religious individuals cannot be barred from participating in polity, including forming political parties or becoming political leaders, including President. However, using Islam as the basis for public policy to run a nation must be rethought. While religion in politics is helpful to the religion, religion in the state can harm the religion if public policies were to result in negative developments. The Iranian clergies have a long history of leadership in spiritual, civil and political societies, where they have served as educators, guardians of justice, limiters of the state’s abuses and as providers of spiritual guidance. They have also offered resolute political leadership. The theocracy in Iran is more than three decades old; the time may have come for the religious authorities to subject the association between religion and the state to a vigorous re-evaluation with the aim of better regulating their relations. Dr. Amirahmadi’s administration will have no authority in this particular area but it can and will invite attention to the need for reassessment. As President, Dr. Amirahmadi will also introduce fitting measures to promote Islam and its leadership in the nation’s spiritual and socio-political life.

noonoo_9249 karma

Expat iranian here. I know you are a progressive guy so you are more than qualified in my view. However, i am confused as to why you even bother campaigning because iran is a dictatorship that gives the illusion of democracy. Very much like Stalin.No one gets ahead unless theyve kissed the ring of the ayatollah. I mean Mousavi wouldnt be under house arrest right now if iran was free and democratic. So what is your point even though you know the ayatollah will laugh at you even thinking about running? Another question is what do you think is going to happen with the nuclear program? I get sick to my stomach every time i read the news. The loads of propaganda is hard to take in. It is obvious that israel really wants war. America is more in the middle. Sad part is people have bought the propaganda. Very upsetting since iran would only want a nuke to become a power since it is a resource rich country that doesnt bend over for the west. Them getting a nuke would stop them from becoming Iraq. I want to know what you think is going to happen or how do you thinm khamenei is going to go about this issue? Regards.

hooshangamirahmadi57 karma

Moving forward in Iran we have a few options. One is the continuation of the status quo, which I believe will soon become impossible and it could lead to chaos or revolution. In that case, the country could indeed disintegrate, given the fact that no one in the country could really put the warring factions together and keep the country unified. The next option is regime change which some in the expatriate and in the country are trying to effect. I believe a regime change will have similar results to the one I just mentioned. And third is a war that a foreign country could impose on Iran and unfortunately, some forces outside the country (including some Iranians) are pushing for it. This option is even more disastrous, leading not just to disintegration of Iran, but also to a Middle East that would have to live with problems originating from Iran.

I despise all these alternatives. I think the only alternative that is safe and productive is real change through an election process. Obviously there are problems here, but not trying means accepting other alternatives. So I will be using this campaign to bring this awareness to the Iranian public as well as to the Islamic system and hope that true reform through a democratic election process will become acceptable.

On the nuclear issue, I share your view that it is a dangerous matter and needs immediate resolution. I don’t believe that Iran necessarily needs a bomb, but I do believe that Iran has every right to self-defense and to peaceful nuclear technology. I must also add that the future of warfare will increasingly focus on cyber technology; nuclear bombs will soon become obsolete in the face of the emerging cyber technology, which indeed can make nations capable of destroying bombs as they sit in storages. I must add that I am not for cyber technology for warfare purpose, but I will do everything in my power to develop cyber technology for peaceful use and we must fight cyber technology development for warfare as that technology is perhaps the most dangerous one human beings has ever developed.

irishdude9238 karma

What do you feel is the biggest problem currently in Iran, and how do you plan on addressing it?

hooshangamirahmadi77 karma

Iran faces three problems: factional infighting, conflict with the US, and economic malaise. These problems impact different social groups differently. I believe the average Iranian is suffering more from economic problems like unemployment and inflation. The professional middle class certainly wants to see the situation with human rights improved, while the upper class Iranians desire a more stable policy environment. The three problems are interconnected, meaning that for example solving economic problems will require a resolution to the US-Iran conflict. My administration will use its power to normalize relations with the US as quickly as possible and use the opportunity for economic development, specifically creating jobs and increasing income, both of which will require investment, particularly in small industries. I will also help the Iranian youth with not only employment, but also supporting them to become entrepreneurs by providing them with seed money and training. Rural areas will also have to be supported by investments in agriculture and rural industries.

hooshangamirahmadi26 karma

If you live in Northern California, please join us for a major event at UC Berkeley on March 8 @ 6:30pm in the Life Sciences Building, #2050. If you have friends or family in the area, please pass the flyer along to them!

mrhuggables25 karma

I posted this last time, though no response because it was buried under a mountain of pretty irrelevant comments. Hopefully this time I can get a well thought out response.

درود آقا , خیلی پرسشها دارم

1) Can you name a current regime or government in the world which you feel is a model for what would be your government if elected?

2) What are your opinions on the current civil war in Syria and the influx of foreign militants coming from the Arabian peninsula? How about on the situations in Egypt, specifically regarding Mr. Morsi's current political actions and policies?

3) On the same note, do you feel as if the Western-backed regimes in the peninsula such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, etc. are problematic for peace in the Middle East? Why or why not?

4) How would you strengthen the relationship of Iran with it's NON-Arab neighbors, especially Afghanistan? do you feel the current regime is focusing too much on it's enmity with the West and Israel and not enough on strengthening ties with it's cultural neighbors in Central and South Asia?

5) Do you feel as if the imprisonment and executions of the Mujahideen and other Islamic-Marxists were just? Do you consider the Mujahideen and their ilk to be terrorists?

6) Given the choice between freedom of speech & press or Economic Growth and prosperity for Iran, which would you choose?

7) Do you feel that if the Shah were still in power today, that Iran would be better off than under the Islamic Republic?

8) Do you feel that the bazaarian have too much power and influence in Iran today? If so, how what would you do to curb this influence?

9) How would you combat corruption? How would you combat the rising substance abuse and prostitution rates in Iran? How would you restore the relative economic stability that Iran experienced during the Pahlavi regime?

10) What can you tell an expatriate Iranian who feels as if his country, culture, and history has been ruined by the corruption and hypocrisy of the Islamic Regime?

خیلی سپاسگزارم برای جوابهای شما

hooshangamirahmadi34 karma

The questions are coming in very quickly-- which is a great sign of interest among Redditors. I am trying to answer as many as possible, but it is impossible to answer them all. I address your second question on Syria below, and will try to get to a few more of your questions.

First, my administration will not support Assad’s regime. I believe the time has come for the Assad rule to come to an end. However, those opposing the Assad regime are not all the right people, in terms of their ideological perspectives. Any solution to the Syrian crisis must involve a coalition government that must represent all groups of the society, those who support the Assad regime and those who are against. My administration will work with Western and Arab nations to create and sustain such a coalition.

alphabets00p24 karma

How does campaigning in the United States help your chances in Iran? As an American university professor, do you even have a base of support in your home country? Besides Ahmadinejad, hasn't every president been a member of the clergy, do you have the same kind of legitimacy? Even if the Guardian Council approved your bid, could you possibly compete having mostly lived abroad since the revolution? This campaign is either insanely naive or a ploy for naive American money.

hooshangamirahmadi27 karma

My dear colleague I am pleased that you asked a question, but I am sorry to see you are as pessimistic as some of my Iranian students. I will hope that you will join me in this campaign and help change the failing pessimism to a winning optimism.

I have started this campaign in the US, but I will be moving it to Iran by the end of this month. None of my competitors in Iran have even begun campaigning, so my campaign, which is garnering international support, is well ahead of the competition. We are told by many sources in Iran that the Iranian people are tired of the inside candidates after testing them for over 30 years and becoming disappointed. The people are looking for a different candidate, one that has not been involved in the Islamic system over the past years. It is also important to note that our world is global and borders are porous and there is no such thing as inside or outside candidates anymore. For example, millions of Iranians live outside the country and they are among the most educated, professional and successful members of their respective societies. Assuming these millions outside of Iran are connected with millions more in Iran through family, friends etc., the size of the population that looks outward to people like me for solutions is significant. Also, consider the fact that in recent years leaders of many countries lived outside and returned home after successful political campaigns, revolutions or other ways. Indeed the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, did not live in Iran for 17 years. The fact is Iranians are not just looking for an insider, but someone who can solve their problems. Indeed they have suffered from the incompetent leaders from the inside. It is time that we stop thinking in terms of inside or outside candidates, rather we must think in terms of competent or incompetent. Lastly, there is a misunderstanding with the Guardian Council. Many candidates that have lived in Iran have not been approved by the Council and even many of those approved have not had successful campaigns. The purpose of this campaign is not merely to gain approval from the Guardian Council or even winning the presidency, although we will do our best to achieve this goal; Our campaign is also, and perhaps not less importantly, aimed at reforming the political process and changing the culture of a society that only thinks in terms of a result, seldom valuing the political process. Allow me to say that our movement is unique and innovative in this respect.

Deltaglider77723 karma

Doctor Amirahmadi, I am the Grandson of the late Lieutenant General Amir Hossien Rabii. Commander of the IIAF, and one of the last generals to be executed by the Islamics. After planning to overthrow the regime, My family has lived in the united states for 30 years sense then, my father is still unable to return to the country as an enemy of the Islamic Republic. A country that his father once stood at the top of. My question is, for people like me, my father and my family, who are in fear and exile from there home country, would there be hope for us to return once again, with open arms and not rifles?

hooshangamirahmadi25 karma

My dear compatriot, I am very sorry to hear the sad story of your family. Unfortunately, revolutions do what they do and to me they are not acceptable as I am not and have never been a revolutionary, knowing what they do. I think your family, just like any expatriate family, deserves full citizenship rights and they must be able to return to their homeland without fear of prosecution. In my first act as president of the country, I will arrange for an amnesty, making it possible for all Iranians living outside to return home with safety and security. I will also make sure that they are given back their legitimate properties and more importantly their dignity. I am against political revenge and will make every effort to make political revenge unconstitutional in the country. We must stop political revenge immediately, and ending it would be my pride. I have in my campaign plan statements regarding my position on political revenge, reconnected the expatriates, and the general amnesty. I send my regards to your family, and wish that they still consider Iran their beloved nation, despite the hardship they have been subjected to. Our nation, Iran, is a great country and we all have to remain proud of that nation and protect it as dearly as possible. I am sure your family is as patriotic about Iran as I am, and I look forward to working you all to protect our motherland. Please also note that my slogans include ‘happy Iranians’ and ‘eternal Iran’. Please take a moment to read these statements in the campaign platform:

From the campaign plan:

Removing political revenge, demanding amnesty. Dr. Amirahmadi firmly believes that for building a strong Iran a general amnesty, freeing all political prisoners and eliminating ‘political revenge’ is an essential requirement. Such a change will reduce violence and eliminate fears that are often associated with the loss of power in Iran. So long as political leaders are worried of conspiracy and revenge by the opposition, they are unlikely to allow for peaceful or non-violent transition — they would even oppose the formation of a coalition government. Eliminating political revenge is particularly important in Iran where the last 33 years have been a time of continued animosity, at times even conflicts, among various political and social forces, often resulting in deaths, political imprisonments and exiles. In Iran, the culture of political revenge is an evil phenomenon that produces enmity and violence, hinders elite circulation and peaceful transfer of power, and thwarts civilized political associations. Changing this political culture, building a nation with no political prisoners, and calling for a national amnesty is a major part of Dr. Amirahmadi’s plan of action, and he has every intention to use all means at his disposal to dispel this evil culture of political revenge from the homeland.

Connecting expatriate Iranians to their homeland. Iran has ever been an immigrant-sending nation and in each period of its history, specific reasons have led to the flight of its people to neighboring countries and beyond. Until recently, economic reasons dominated and expatriates were primarily working people leaving Iran for neighboring countries in search of work or escaping oppression at the hands of landlords and courtiers. Lately, however, the majority of Iranians leaving their homeland are among the middle and upper classes, largely educated Iranians, who primarily go to the West; they are pushed from their homeland by a combination of economic, political and social reasons. While accurate statistics are hard to come by, an estimated five million Iranians live in countries around the world, mainly in the West. Among them are many scientists, educators, professionals, artists, businessmen, media personalities and the intelligentsia. They form a significant national asset and the nation cannot afford to lose them forever. This brain drain is caused largely by internal push factors such as a lack of adequate high-level educational and research opportunities, a chronic shortage of job and business prospects, and suffocating socio-political limitations. Governments have often tried in vain to return the expatriates to their homeland for technical assistance or investment using nationalistic sentiments. Dr. Amirahmadi’s Government will reverse this brain drain by ceaselessly struggling against red tape, corruption and discrimination of all types and forms, as well as by providing for the multidimensional spiritual, material and socio-political needs of the expatriates and others still in the country. Meanwhile, Dr. Amirahmadi believes that the Iranian expatriates must be viewed as residing in a ‘virtual province’ of Iran outside its political borders. As such, they must also be entitled to a ‘Provincial Government’ or a ‘Ministry of Expatriates.’ Such organizations are needed because, first, most Iranian expatriates will not permanently physically return to their homeland; second, the children of expatriates are not attuned to the Iranian way of life and will want to live in their country of birth. In addition, globalization has made immigration a natural phenomenon, meaning many Iranians will continue to live outside their homeland. Therefore, the best and most efficient way to benefit from the expatriate community is to organize them and then reconnect them in real and virtual ways to their homeland.

hooshangamirahmadi14 karma

The next person to like us on Facebook will be our 1,200th fan. We need your online support!

hooshangamirahmadi14 karma

Thank you for all the love on Facebook. If you haven't yet, please be sure to Like us on Facebook and share our page with your friends.

Bleek087813 karma

I read your first AMA and was thoroughly impressed! Made me a fan of yours. What ideals about Islam do you feel are being outdated and need to be rethought about and changed. I know Islam is a powerful religion and its followers are the most loyal amongst all religions, but there has to be a few doctrines in the Hadith that make you go, "...this is getting old."

hooshangamirahmadi39 karma

Just like all religions, Islam has three components: the original idea as revealed in the Holy Book, a body of knowledge that over time has accumulated, and the practice of Islam. No religion will allow the original idea to be tempered with, but the interpretation of the original idea and the knowledge that becomes accumulated as well as the practice of Islam are all subject to change. One big problem with Islam is that unfortunately many of the practices today in some Islamic countries have nothing to do with the original idea. For example, in the Qur’an, there is no mention of hijab, as it is propagated today in the Islamic world. Qur’an prohibits innocent killings that some Islamic groups are committing in the name of the religion or resistance to oppression. Terrorism is certainly prohibited in the original idea of Islam. Although I am not an Islamic scholar and cannot of course comment on certain details, one thing I know should and can be done is to make sure that the Islamic teaching corresponds to the requirements of modern life and particularly the ideas enshrined in the human rights declaration. I see no contradiction between what the religion teaches and what has become generally acceptable in the modern world as nations’ citizenship rights. Islamic teachings should also correspond to the laws of the international relations and diplomatic protocol.

BasicallyUSMC10 karma

What do you think is the best way to solve tensions between your country and the West? I'm also interested in your views on peace with Israel.

Thank you for doing this.

hooshangamirahmadi65 karma

It is unfortunate that Iran and the West should have problems between them. Iran as one of the first empire builders has for centuries been in interaction with world powers beginning with the Greek empire, Roman empire, and most recently British and American. This history is filled with peace and conflict, but thankfully peace has always prevailed because the conflicts did not have substantive roots. The current problem between Iran and the West originates from a revolution that wanted to emancipate Iran and of course Western misguided policies toward Iran. The result has been the elimination of trust between Iran and the West. My administration will do everything in its power to build trust and open the door for mutual respect and cooperation. I believe the West, including the US, could be easily persuaded to trust an alternative in Iran that they understand. I have lived in the West for about 40 years now. I know the Western culture and language, and I also understand their concerns. As a native Iranian, I also of course understand the Iranian side as deeply as possible. I believe I am a natural bridge of understanding and dialogue, and will use my unique position not just to build trust, but to normalize relations as quickly as possible. I will work with the authorities in Iran to start building trust with the US and I plan to shake hands with President Obama in the first hundred days of my administration.

On the Israeli issue, the conflict between the two countries is not rooted in any unresolvable problems. For example, Iran and Israel have no historical problem, territorial problem, or religious problem between them. Rather, the Iranian Revolution, which had promised to help the oppressed people, including Palestinians, became a source of conflict. I believe this conflict can be resolved by finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian question. My solution will be a two-state solution that will give the Palestinians a new state and Israelis permanent peace and security. My administration will struggle along with the United States to make the two-state solution a reality.

In the meantime, Iran needs to reduce tension with Israel by staying within the policy framework of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) toward Israel. That policy conditions recognition of the Israeli state on the provision of a state for the Palestinian people.

My administration would also make every effort to move Hezbollah and Hamas from taking any terrorist actions against Israeli civilians and I will also urge the Israelis to exercise restraint in relations with these and other radical groups.

Newjerseynewspaper9 karma

[deleted]

hooshangamirahmadi17 karma

Hi, you can send press-related requests to my Communications Director, Kayvon Afshari.

Pro_Quote_Maker8 karma

What is your position on the civil war in Syria? Would you continue Iran's current level of support for Bashar al-Assad? Why or why not?

hooshangamirahmadi7 karma

This was asked before, so I have reproduced my answer below. My administration will not support Assad’s regime. I believe the time has come for the Assad rule to come to an end. However, those opposing the Assad regime are not all the right people, in terms of their ideological perspectives. Any solution to the Syrian crisis must involve a coalition government that must represent all groups of the society, those who support the Assad regime and those who are against. My administration will work with Western and Arab nations to create and sustain such a coalition.

hooshangamirahmadi7 karma

First, my administration will not support Assad’s regime. I believe the time has come for the Assad rule to come to an end. However, those opposing the Assad regime are not all the right people, in terms of their ideological perspectives. Any solution to the Syrian crisis must involve a coalition government that must represent all groups of the society, those who support the Assad regime and those who are against. My administration will work with Western and Arab nations to create and sustain such a coalition.

hooshangamirahmadi6 karma

This is in response to a previously deleted question that asked us to comment on the extent to which global organizing can be effective in the context of Iran's existing power dynamic?

Answer:My campaign will ultimately go to the country and start organizing grassroots. In the meantime, I believe that global organizing is most critical in the case of Iran, a country that has been on the global scene and at times viewed as a global issue for most of the last 30 years. Hardly any media ignores Iran on their daily coverage of international news; whether we like it, or not Iran is at the center of global dispute. At the same time, Iran’s image has been heavily tarnished by a radical revolution that turned against the West. My global campaign has several aims: 1) take the campaign to the community of nations, making them aware of what I stand for as a possible next president of Iran; 2) to help build a better image for the Iranian people and their nation in a world in which the Islamic Republic has become synonymous with everything Iran stands for; 3) bring a new awareness to ex. pat. community regarding the rights and obligations toward their motherland; and 4) to build an international grassroots campaign, bringing millions of ex. pats. and their international comrades, for real change in Iran.

jgpadgettpro6 karma

As an American, I am sure I hold several misconceptions about Iran. What is one misconception you especially want to expel?

hooshangamirahmadi9 karma

One misconception that I want to expel is that Iranians dislike America across the board and that the views of their government represents the views of the people. I also think that Americans misunderstand the Iranian Revolution, assuming that it is simply an Islamic phenomenon with no legitimate, specifically Iranian, demands and character. Specifically, post-revolutionary Iran has been only viewed in terms of Islam or Islamism, rather than Iran and its nationalism.

hooshangamirahmadi5 karma

Great news! We just started receiving some small online donations via PayPal. We are a small organization seeking grassroots support. Any money donated is spent directly on campaign expenses (travel, lodging campaign pamphlets, flyers, promotional materials, etc.). Please join your fellow Redditors by making a quick donation.

chinchillazilla545 karma

I don't really have much money right now. Is there anything I can do to help the campaign as an American, or is it best if Americans just butt out (for once)?

hooshangamirahmadi28 karma

Hi, thank you for expressing your support for our campaign. Part of what makes Amirahmadi 1392 groundbreaking is the global, grassroots aspect of our campaign. Certainly, our primary audience is the Iranian people, since we need their votes. However, the future president of Iran will have tremendous implications for the Middle East, the US, Europe, Russia, China, Brazil, and so forth. Not only do we live in a globalized world, but all of the issues confronting the next Iranian president are international issues.

As such, I believe that is is important for people around the world to show their support for a campaign that espouses ideals in which they believe. Certainly do not "butt out"!

If you cannot afford to make a small donation, that is okay. Do you have a specific skill set that can be useful for a campaign (photographer, graphic designer, translator, etc)? If so, send an email to [email protected] (include your city and skillset in the subject line).

Finally, you can help us tremendously by organizing a campaign event at your local college or university. We have recently toured many universities including NYU, University of Aberdeen, Belfast University, and Virginia Tech. We are also visiting UC Berkeley on March 8th.

Where are you located?

zoerty3 karma

Dr Amirahmadi,

What is one movie that you'd like to recommend to everybody and why?

hooshangamirahmadi24 karma

I would recommend A Separation, an Iranian made film, that was awarded the Best Foreign Film Oscar last year. I also recommend Lincoln, a movie that inspired me for the incredible political leadership that President Lincoln exercised at a very critical time in U.S. history when a civil war had intersected with a movement for abolishing slavery. In particular President Lincoln would not submit to demands for ending the Civil War, even though it was leading to mass killings, until he successfully demanded and ratified a law against slavery.

Sajanova2 karma

There is a lot of discrimination against other ethnic groups in Iran (Turks,Azerbeijanis, Balushis, Arabs) would you cutt down such ugly behaviour against these groups if you were to become a president?

hooshangamirahmadi4 karma

It just so happens that I am a specialist on this matter, academically speaking, as I have written extensively regarding ethnic discrimination issues. In these writings and in my platform I have been transparently opposed to any discrimination. I believe that any ethnic group must be treated equally just as any other citizen, regardless of their race, religion etc.

Here is a statement from my campaign platform for your review: Iran is a multi-ethnic nation and has been so for all its history and will have to remain so for eternity. This diversity is one of Iran’s major sources of national richness and beauty as well as a secret of its enduring cultural fullness and integrity. As a predominantly cultural nation, Iran must preserve this diversity and promote its health by a policy of true socio-economic, political and territorial inclusion and integration. The past discriminatory policy in favor of a few growth centers in the nation must be abandoned in favor of a policy of balanced provincial development. This requires a controlled decentralization of political, economic and social programs. The central administration will have to manage certain national functions and leave others to be administered at the provincial level. It is only unfortunate that some in the political community have called for ‘federalism’ as a solution to the nation’s ethnic administrative problems. The fact is that nowhere has federalism has been a solution to such matters. Indeed, most federal states, such as the United States and Germany, have little ethnic problems and their adoption of a political federal system is meant to guarantee administrative decentralism. In the case of Iran, given its history, geography and level of development, a controlled decentralized system with a fitting form of fiscal federalism, where provincial and sectoral powers are balanced, should work best. Dr. Amirahmadi as President will promote such an administrative system.

Aztag092 karma

How do you find common ground where most of the populace is divided among the growing Western ideals and the far more conservative Islamic beliefs?

hooshangamirahmadi3 karma

The tension between modernity and tradition in Iran goes back to the early 1900’s, when a small modern social class began to emerge. Unfortunately, the rival political groups instead of finding a resolution to this conflict they exacerbated it by using it to their political advantage. A solution would have been to promote modernity while preserving the traditional values of the nation. Even today this conflict exists.

In response to your question please also note the following excerpt from my campaign platform:

Specifically, Dr. Amirahmadi’s cultural programs will include the promotion of Iranian heritage and modern recreational activities to provide happiness, beautification, physical fitness, mental health and spiritual development of the nation as well as its historic preservation. Promotion of internal and international tourism, national and global sports, literary and spiritual works, performing and imaging arts and other forms of cultural and artistic activities will have to be a top priority in the present depressive Iranian society. However, cultural promotion will be carefully planned to maintain a proper balance between Iranian traditions and global modernity in accordance with the Iranian national character, religion and aspirations. Iran is a multi-ethnic society in a growingly open international community. This fact necessitates promoting a multicultural Iranian community in which ethnic, national and global cultures find their proper mix and place. As a historical and cultural nation, Iranians are socially pleasant and benefit from a rich literary and mystical tradition. Yet, the nation is not as fortunate in the realm of political culture where obsolete norms and behaviors abound. Changing this unhealthy political culture is a must for Iran’s cultural revival and modernization. To that end, promoting cultural education at all societal levels must take a pivotal role, an idea that Dr. Amirahmadi as President will actively promote. He will also promote a culture of tolerance for different and even opposing views. Dr. Amirahmadi will also promote a culture of cooperation among people with differing ideological orientations and worldviews.

CommunistPenguin2 karma

What do you disagree with the most about Mahmoud Ahmedinajad's administration?

hooshangamirahmadi3 karma

Two things. First, President Ahmadinejad’s radical approach to Israel and the US during the first years of his administration. This approach blocked him from any opening of relations, to the US in particular, despite his attempts to the contrary in later years of his presidency. Second, his inconsistent and unplanned economic policies, which given the sanctions, crippled the economy.

TrueShak2 karma

All my family is iranian however I dont live in Iran. I've visited 12 times and am about to turn 18, and due to sarbazi am afraid to visit now because i've heard stories of peoples two week vacations turning into horrific 2 years of compulsary service.. Is there anyway of this changing?

Also, As far as I know, holding two citizenships isnt allowed, or frowned upon, i assume that should change if you become elected?

enshallah moafagh basheen. Also, since I'm iranian I guess i can say it without sounding to absurd, Would you rather go to nuclear war with 100 duck sized horses or 1 horse sized duck?

hooshangamirahmadi3 karma

Holding two citizenships need not be a problem. Neither the Islamic Republic nor the United States recognizes dual citizenship. That is to say, in the eyes of the Islamic Republic, I am solely an Iranian citizen. In the eyes of the US government, I am solely an American citizen. I know many Iranian-Americans who have visited Iran without having Sarbazi problems. If I am not mistaken, you can visit for under 2 months per year without having to participate in Sarbazi. Please check to confirm that time limit first though. As President, one of my priorities is to reconnect expatriate Iranians with the country. I would even create a Ministry of Expatriates to facilitate travel, trade, investments, and socio-political interactions as well as cultural enhancements.

Didact_Jefferson2 karma

In constructing your platform, have you drawn from foreign political theories? And if so are there any particular ones or famous works that you used? I saw some very vague references on the website but it would be interesting what you think in a direct reply.

hooshangamirahmadi2 karma

As a professor I have been influenced by many theories, Western and Eastern (e.g. pluralistic, elitist, structuralist, critical and radical theories) and there is no question that my platform reflects such influence. However, I have tried my best to write the platform with the Iranian reality in mind as well as my knowledge of the nation's political history and struggle for democratic development in the last 150 years or so. My book called the Political Economy of Iran under the Qajars was a major help in reflecting on a critical period of Iranian history that has many lessons for the modern Iran. In short, while I have been influenced and certainly have used international political theories, conventional and radical ones, the gist of my platform is informed by the Iranian experience and political history.