Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

04 August 2006

U.S. Hails Anniversary of Iran's Constitutional Revolution

1906 movement led to increased democracy in Iran

Washington – The U.S. State Department paid tribute to the centennial anniversary of the 1906 Iranian Constitutional Revolution, calling it “a defining political moment for advancing the democratic ideas it represented.”

In an August 4 statement, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said, “Iranian nationalists set forth a powerful and revolutionary concept:  a written constitution founded on the rule of fair and just laws, providing for a free press and respect for individual rights.”

On August 5, 1906, in the face of persistent political activism and resistance to Iran’s autocratic form of government, Iranian ruler Mozafar el-Din Shah issued a decree calling for the drafting of a constitution and the formation of a parliament, known as the Majles.  The new Majles was seated two months later, and the shah signed the new constitution December 30, five days before his death.

The following ruler, Mohammed Ali Shah, sought to roll back the political reforms, but constitutionalist forces continued to challenge the shah militarily, ultimately forcing his ouster and exile in 1909.

“This short-lived but noble constitutional movement was a significant victory for Iranian democracy and for the cause of freedom in the Middle East,” McCormack said.  “Since 1906, Iranians from all walks of life have continued the struggle against unchecked power, corruption, and wide disparities in wealth.”

He said the United States supports the Iranian people’s aspirations for an open society, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, respect for human rights, the rule of law and government accountability.

“Americans believe in liberty and democracy for Iran and commemorate one hundred years of ongoing struggle toward a truly democratic state worthy of its great people,” he said.

The text of the statement is available at the State Department Web site.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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