Imam Khamenei's Opinion on Elections and Religious Democracy

Imam Khamenei's Opinion on Elections and Religious Democracy

  • Iranian nation dealt a blow to those trying to create a boycott of the elections

    Iranian nation dealt a blow to those trying to create a boycott of the elections

    Jun 28, 2021

    The following is the full text of a speech delivered on June 28, 2021 by Imam Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, on the occasion of the national Judiciary Week and the martyrdom anniversary of Ayatollah Martyr Beheshti and other personalities.

  • Religious Democracy: An Introduction

    Religious Democracy: An Introduction

    Sep 15, 2020

    The following Op-Ed article, published by, is an attempt to provide some basic insights as to the concept of “religious democracy”; the very concept on which the foundation of the Islamic Republic of Iran is based.

  • What is Islamic Democracy?

    Nov 23, 2016

    When we speak about religious or Islamic democracy, some people think that such democracy is only manifested at ballot boxes and through elections, that elections are only one manifestation of religious democracy. [Religious] democracy means a system which is based on religion and Islam. The masters of social life are the people themselves. Democracy means this. This is the meaning of Islamic democracy.

  • The enemy focuses efforts on depriving the Islamic Republic of religious democracy

    Feb 17, 2016

    The enemy has focused his efforts on depriving the Islamic Republic of religious democracy – this unique, innovative and attractive phenomenon for Muslim nations. They are trying to do this. If they had been able, they would have cancelled elections, but they failed and they will continue to fail. If they had been able to destroy the Guardian Council or to render its supervision ineffective, they would have done so, but they could not. Now that they could not do this, they have resorted to these methods. They are entering the scene through these methods. We should pay careful attention.

  • According to international criteria, our elections are among the best and fairest elections with high turnout

    Sep 9, 2015

    Thankfully, our elections have been healthy ones until today. The point that I want to raise is that according to international criteria, our elections are among the best and healthiest elections with a high turnout. Unfortunately, a bad habit that some people in the country have is that they constantly question the health of elections in each term. They constantly speak about rigging in elections, their so-called concerns and such and such things. This is a wrong course of action. During the past 37 years, the people participated in elections in an enthusiastic way because of their trust in the Islamic Republic in different eras. Why do some people want to undermine this trust? The people trust the Islamic Republic. When there is an election, they enter the arena and vote. So why should we undermine this trust with false and fake concerns?

  • The Islamic Republic is a democratic system in the true sense of the word

    Sep 9, 2015

    At certain points in time, some demagogues and westernized individuals tried to cancel or delay elections, but by Allah's favor, they were prevented from doing so and the elections were held in their scheduled date. This is This is why our elections are thankfully the manifestation of democracy. The Islamic Republic is a democratic system in the true sense of the word. Of course, the Americans and their propaganda agents constantly speak against our elections in different ways. In the present time , they do not say even one single word against the dictatorial, tyrannical and hereditary regimes that exist in the region, but they constantly blame and make false criticisms against Iran that is holding different elections one after another. This is while in Iran, all the bases of the system - ranging from the Leadership and the president to the members of the Majlis, the Assembly of Experts and city and village councils - are elected by the people.

  • Elections have not been delayed even for one single day in Iran

    Sep 9, 2015

    The issue of elections is a very important issue for the country. Elections are the complete manifestation of the people's presence and choice. With their presence in the arena of elections - including presidential, parliamentary and Assembly of Expert elections - the people shape true democracy in the country. This is very important. We have not allowed this process to be stopped or delayed during the 36, 37 years that have passed from the Revolution. Elections in different countries are delayed when a war breaks out or another incident occurs, but in Iran, elections have not been delayed even for one single day. This has not happened in any era. Tehran, Khuzestan, Ilam, Kermanshah and other cities used to be bombarded, but elections were held on their scheduled date. The same thing happened everywhere in the country even in villages and those places where it is difficult to come and go. Elections have not been cancelled in this country.

  • Movements originating from democracy should be launched within the framework of Islamic sharia

    Jun 4, 2014

    There are two fundamental points in building this civil-political system and these two points are interconnected. In one sense, these two points are two sides of the coin of truth. One is entrusting the affairs of the country to the people through democracy and elections and another is launching this movement - which originated from Islam - and any movement which originates from democracy and entrusting tasks to people, within the framework of Islamic sharia. These are two parts. In other words, these are two sides of the same truth.

  • Religious democracy is rooted in sharia

    Jun 4, 2014

    "A free people" means a people who are not under the influence and domination of their opponents, their enemies and foreigners in any way. If Islamic sharia is observed, it will ensure both justice and spirituality in society. These are the four main elements: freedom, independence, justice and spirituality. If Islamic sharia dominates society, these main phenomena in the order of Islamic society will show themselves. Therefore, our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) stressed the necessity of Islamic sharia which is the soul of the Islamic Republic. He also stressed the necessity of religious democracy which is a means and a tool and which is derived from sharia.

  • Iran's elections is not derived from the western culture

    Jun 4, 2014

    Some people should not think that our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) derived elections from the western culture and then mixed it with Islamic thoughts and Islamic sharia. This was not the case. If elections, democracy and reliance on the votes of people had not been part of religion and Islamic sharia, then Imam (r.a.) would have told us. If this had been the case, he would have announced it in an outspoken and decisive way. Democracy is part of religion. Therefore, Islamic sharia is the framework.

  • Elections in the Islamic Republic held greater turnout than global average

    Jun 4, 2014

    As for political and social issues, the higher aspect of this religious democracy is that we have had 32 elections during the 35 years from the beginning of our Revolution. Thirty two public elections have been held in this country. Is this a minor achievement? This is an exceptional phenomenon. Elections in the Islamic Republic are held with a high turnout - higher than the global average and in some cases, it is much higher. Our elections witness a turnout of 70, 72 percent. Our elections are like this. These elections are the manifestation of democracy.

  • Democracy in Iran has turned into a standard process

    Mar 21, 2014

    A country that witnessed different oppressive and dictatorial rulers over the course of many centuries has gained such a familiarity and has formed such a strong bond with democracy and participation in electing the owners of power that 72 percent of the people participate in the elections even after the passage of 35 years from the excitements of the early revolutionary era. This should be appreciated... Democracy in the country has turned into a standard process. This is why the people throughout the country -in villages and cities - consider themselves to be responsible towards ballot boxes. This is why they go to ballot boxes and this is why 72 percent of the people vote. This is a very important issue. This is a high figure in the elections that are held throughout the world

  • Election turnout has not declined, from the beginning of the Revolution till now

    Mar 21, 2014

    The first point is about elections. You dear brothers and sisters should pay attention that the people's turnout in the elections has not decreased from the beginning of the Revolution until today. This is very important. In the last elections -that is to say, the eleventh presidential elections -72 percent of the people went to the ballot boxes. This is a high figure among the elections which are held throughout the world and this is an outstanding turnout. This is one of the highest figures in the elections which have been held from the beginning of the Revolution until today. What does this mean? The meaning of this great participation of the people in the elections is that religious democracy has been firmly established in the country. It means that the Islamic Republic has managed to establish democracy in the country. This is not a minor achievement.

  • Our democracy grew out of the heart of Islam

    Sep 5, 2013

    Our democracy grew out of the heart of Islam as well. It has been said many times that when we speak about religious democracy, this does not mean an unusual combination between democracy and religion. This is not the case. Our democracy has originated from religion and Islam has shown us this path. We managed to form the Islamic Republic with the guidance of Islam. By Allah's favor, it will be the same in the future. As a result of this belief in Islam, the enemies have focused their attention on Islam. If they can take Islam away from the Islamic Republic, the products of Islam will naturally be destroyed and undermined. Issues should be analyzed by adopting this outlook.

  • Within Islamic democracy, relations between people and officials are emotional and religious

    Aug 3, 2013

    One of the characteristics of such democracy is that the relationship between the people and officials is not only based solely on a legal process. Rather, as well as a legal relationship, there is an emotional and religious relationship between them which results from the people's beliefs and religious outlook and their commitment to the principles of the Revolution. This is something which has no equal in the world. We do not know any country in which the relationship between the people and officials is based on such an emotional and religious relationship and on such commitment to principles. This is the thing which guides officials. The honorable president who was formally entrusted today with the heavy and glorious responsibility of presidency should pay attention to the point that the people consider the dear country of Iran as an Islamic country which is based on Islamic principles and teachings. This is why they stand up for it.

  • People taste democracy in the Islamic Republic

    Aug 3, 2013

    The people tasted democracy in the Islamic Republic. Since the victory of the Islamic Revolution until today, it was the people who played a role in all important events and in all major responsibilities of the country. Eleven presidential elections, nine parliamentary elections and several Assembly of Experts elections and city and village council elections were held. That is to say, during the past 34 years, almost one election was held per year. The people feel that it is they who make decisions about their own fate and about the management and the macro policies of the country. They feel that it is they who supervise and do these things. This is religious democracy.

  • Our nation did not have a taste of democracy before Islamic victory

    Aug 3, 2013

    Our nation had not tasted democracy before the victory of the Islamic Revolution. From the Constitutional Movement to the victory of the Islamic Revolution, 75 years passed. Out of these 75 years, 55 years belonged to the dictatorship of the Pahlavi dynasty. It was a violent dictatorship which was dependent first on England and then on America , which did not consider what the people wanted. In these 55 years, the country was in the hands of the people who neither paid attention to the fate and interests of our nation nor to the magnificence, greatness and dignity of this country. They only cared about their own interests and the interests of the powers which supported them... since the beginning of the Constitutional Movement until the victory of the Islamic Revolution, the country was under the domination of dictatorship and autocracy, except for a two-year period of time during which a weak national government was formed and that was destroyed by the mutual plots of England and US

  • Islamic democracy: It's the people who choose, everything pivots around Islam

    Aug 3, 2013

    The fact that in the holy Islamic Republic, executive power is transferred from one servant to another servant of the Revolution with tranquility, peace and friendliness is a very valuable and significant phenomenon. This phenomenon results from Islamic democracy which our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) made the basis for the Islamic Republic with his acumen and wisdom. Everything is in the hands of the people. It is the people who choose and everything pivots around our dear Islam. This is Islamic democracy.

  • Religious democracy is healthy democracy

    Jul 21, 2013

    We have also made progress in political arenas. In the arena of domestic politics, the new model of religious democracy which we have introduced to the world, our elections and the transition of executive and legislative power in the country are among the greatest achievements. Religious democracy is a healthy democracy, without the deceptive measures which are common in the world. I am sorry that many of our youth do not know about the common methods in the world - In America and in Europe - which are used in the arena of elections. These methods are seemingly democratic, but they are non-democratic in nature. Good books have been written in this regard. They have been written by westerners themselves. Our youth should take a look at these books and read them to see how a mayor and a governor in such and such a state is elected, how they become a senator and a president after that and how they are pushed into these arenas. They can see with what tricks these things are done.

  • In Iran, elections are the manifestation of "political valor"

    May 21, 2013

    In our country, elections are the manifestation of "political valor". The responsibility that I mentioned lies on the shoulders of all Iranian people can be described as "economic valor". Elections are the manifestation of political valor, the manifestation of the power of the Islamic Republic, the manifestation of the pride and credibility of the Islamic system. The credibility of the Islamic Republic depends on elections, the presence of the people at polling stations and their votes that elect managers of the country. Elections are the manifestation of our national willpower, the manifestation of Islamic democracy. We proposed the idea of Islamic democracy as opposed to western liberal democracy, and the manifestation of Islamic democracy is the presence of the people in elections.

  • Enemies of Iran always try to take enthusiasm and excitement out of elections

    Mar 21, 2013

    Because of the importance that our elections enjoy, the enemies of the Iranian nation have always tried to take enthusiasm and excitement out of the elections. They have designed plots to prevent the people from going to the ballot boxes. They have plotted to discourage and disappoint the people. Over the years that we have held many elections - including parliamentary and presidential elections - our enemies have always tried to decrease voter turnout and make our elections less enthusiastic, and this is because of the significant role that elections play in the affairs of our country.

  • Western democracy, from claims to action

    Feb 16, 2013

    They say that they are committed to establishment of democracy in the world - I do not want to speak about the kind of democracy America itself has. Under this claim, they constantly confront the Islamic Republic which has the most genuine democracy in the region. This is while they shamelessly support countries in the region which do not know the first thing about democracy and in which the people have not seen ballot boxes even once. This is their commitment to democracy. Notice how different their words and actions are

  • Religious democracy, a novel idea in the area of politics

    Aug 12, 2012

    the Islamic Republic is intellectually productive, as opposed to the inability of the west to produce novel ideas. After the introduction of humanism and the schools of thought which rely on humanism, after the introduction of the philosophies that originate from western humanism, the west was no longer intellectually productive and it no longer produces novel ideas for humanity and human life. We have new things to say about issues related to human spirituality, social issues related to humanity and issues related to government. When we say we have novel things to say, it does not mean that the world will accept our novel ideas once we present them. It only means that our novel ideas will create a new intellectual current, a new wave in the world.

  • Islamic democracy challenges the pharaohs of the time

    Jun 13, 2012

    Some people directly or indirectly complain that we should not provoke the hostility of the world, but I believe this is a thoughtless comment. You naturally start a fight when you promote spiritual and religious rule, when you promote religious or Islamic democracy. The problem of the world is that it is faced with a call to religion. When I say "the world", I mean the organizations that are in charge of managing the world. Their survival and identity depend on plundering, harming humanity and working against human values to achieve material gains. You have heard about pharaohs and you have seen some of them. Pharaohs are against human values and the world has fallen into their hands. You will naturally face certain challenges when you establish a government that supports a tendency towards spirituality, a government that defends human values, a government that defends divine values - and divine values are the soul and essence of human values.

  • Everything is decided by the people with honor and dignity

    Mar 8, 2012

    If Muslim nations are interested in what the Islamic Republic has to say and what its claims are, they should know that we will not abandon Islam. We believe that it is obligatory to observe divine command and sharia in all of our daily life affairs and our efforts are focused on achieving this goal. And religious democracy is our framework in this arena. The people should step in and vote. It is the people who should elect the law-makers who are supposed to pass legislation on the basis of these things. It is the people who should elect those who are supposed to implement the laws. Everything is decided by the people with honor and dignity.

  • It is wrong to say that we have learned democracy from westerners

    Mar 8, 2012

    It is wrong to say that we have learnt democracy from westerners. The exterior form is the same, but our democracy has its roots in a different kind of religious understanding and a different world view. We believe that there must be respect for human beings. We consider the votes of the people as valuable and we consider their presence as a tool to achieve divine goals, which is impossible in the absence of the people. Westerners act in a different way... Their frameworks are oppressive. When a person expresses his objection to the myth of Holocaust and announced that he does not believe it, they throw him into prison. They sentence him to prison for denying a fictitious event. Even if we assume that the event is not fictitious, even if we assume that it is a true story, is it a crime to deny a true historical event?If a person is not convinced of the truth of the Holocaust and he denies the story or expresses doubt about it, he is thrown into prison.

  • Religious democracy is founded on elections

    Mar 8, 2012

    Elections are not fleeting events: they are significant events. Therefore, we need to reflect on the issue of elections. First of all, elections are an important pillar of the Islamic system. Religious democracy is founded on elections. Without elections, there will be no democracy. Elections are the standard of relying on the people: a concrete, tangible and measurable standard. Therefore, anybody who firmly believes in the Islamic system considers taking part in the elections as his responsibility. Such a person takes part in the elections even though he might have objections about certain things, about a particular election or about a particular form of elections. This is a responsibility. Therefore, all those who entered the arena of elections throughout the country fulfilled this obligatory responsibility. They carried out their duty. They showed their accurate understanding. This accurate understanding shows that the issue of elections is about a pillar of the Islamic Republic.

  • Elections are the flag of the Islamic Republic

    May 29, 2011

    Elections are the flag of the Islamic Republic. Thankfully we have always held our elections without any delay, much to the disappointment of the enemies. This is very important. Since the first election in the year 1358 up until today, we have had 31 or 32 elections, and all of them were meticulously held on time. During a certain parliamentary election, they did everything in their power to delay the election, but they failed. Heads of the branches of the government joined hands to prevent the parliamentary election from being held on time, but they failed. They made a lot of efforts. They debated the issue and spoke in favor of delaying the election. They published newspapers in this regard. They drew up a petition. They deployed government agents, but by Allah's favor they failed. By Allah's grace, the situation will be the same in the future as well. Elections are important. Elections are a flag of honor for us: they are the symbol of religious democracy.

  • We believe in democracy and freedom, but we do not believe in liberal democracy

    Oct 15, 2010

    One of the things that is necessary in every popular movement is to create the necessary terminology and systems on the basis of the fundamental principles of the movement. When a new idea - such as the idea of Islamic rule or Islamic Awakening - is proposed, it introduces new concepts into society. Therefore, this movement needs its own terminology. If terms are borrowed from somewhere else, there will be confusion and it will be impossible to fully clarify the idea. We believe in democracy and we also believe in freedom, but we do not believe in liberal democracy. Although the literal meaning of "liberal democracy" is freedom coupled with democracy, the term is commonly associated with certain concepts which we hate. We do not want to use the term for the immaculate, wholesome, righteous and pure concept that we have in mind. Therefore, we need to select a new name for our favorite system: "Islamic democracy" or "Islamic Republic".

  • Elections are the great investment of the Iranian nation

    Mar 21, 2009

    Elections are one of the foundations of our government. Religious democracy cannot be practiced with words only. Religious democracy is only possible through public participation, public determination, and rational and emotional engagement of the public in the developments that occur in the country. And that would be impossible unless there are appropriate nationwide elections and broad public participation. This democracy is the secret behind the constancy of the Iranian nation. The fact that you did not fear the threats of the superpowers in the last thirty years, the fact that the superpowers could not go beyond simple threats and deal you any severe blows, and the fact that the youth of this country demonstrated the necessary courage and sincerity to enter various arenas are all due to religious democracy. We must truly appreciate this. Elections are the great investment of the Iranian nation.

  • What is the basis of religious democracy?

    Jun 10, 2008

    Islamic philosophy is founded on a firm basis, one that originates from Allah's Wilayat. It enjoys certain methods that have been specified in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic according to which, Allah the Exalted has given people the right to entrust a right to someone. According to this philosophy, it has been determined that people can ask someone to do something for them. Through their votes, the people give this right to individuals in the Majlis, in the executive branch and in those organizations which are dependent on people's votes. Therefore, this is the basis of religious democracy. It is an original and deep basis which the people really believe in

  • Enemies deny the existence of democracy based on Islamic principles

    Jan 2, 2008

    The enemies constantly deny the existence of democracy based on Islamic principles in our country. Adopting new methods, the Iranian nation managed to establish democracy - which is a secure foundation - with self-confidence. It was a religious democracy. Everywhere in the world democracies are established within a certain framework. There is not a single democratic government in the world which is not within a certain framework or not based on certain criteria. They are either based on different parties competing with one another to gain power, the judiciary system or systems other than the judiciary and the executive. But our democratic country is based on Islam because the people of Iran are Muslims and religious. This form of democracy is called religious democracy.

  • Religious democracy aims to preserve the genuine dignity of mankind

    Jun 4, 2007

    The Islamic Republic system rejects the kind of democracy that is based on the wrong principles and erroneous foundations of the West. Religious democracy aims to preserve the genuine dignity of mankind and adopt a course of action within the framework of divine religion, not within the framework of unenlightened traditions and the desires and goals of economic conglomerates and the self-made principles of militarists and warmongers. The course of action adopted by the Islamic Republic system is opposite in direction to the path followed by the Western systems, since the handling of affairs under the Islamic Republic system is within the framework of divine religion, and the people's will and resolve are the absolute determiner under this system.

  • There are basic differences between religious democracy and Western democracy

    Jun 4, 2005

    There are basic differences between religious democracy and Western democracy. Religious democracy, which stems from the people's divine right and duty to seal their own fate, is not a mere social contract. All human beings have the right to choose and the right to decide their own fate. This is what makes elections in our country and under the Islamic system meaningful. It is more advanced, more meaningful and more deep-rooted than what exists under Western liberal democracy today. It is one of our prides, and it should be preserved.