Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, which oversees censorship in the clergy-dominated country, has cnesured Etemad, a local pro-reform daily for an interview touching upon the sensitive issue of revolt against the regime.
The foreboding is based on Etemad's interview with a former Shiism scholar and human rights advocate, Emaduddin Baqi (Baghi.)
In the interview published on July 9, Mr. Baqi defended people's right to "revolt" and "subvert" the ruling establishment if the dominant political system violates its contract with the masses.
Citing a book authored by Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, once the successor to the Islamic Republic's founder, Baqi has asserted that a government, regardless of being theocratic or secular, is essentially based on an agreement between the people and the rulers.
"The government is not a divine or a God-given asset and does not secure special rights or privileges for anyone," Baqi has argued, adding, "It is a contract between the people who entrust their authority to a few to regulate and coordinate their public affairs."
A veteran journalist and the caretaker of Etemad's management, Behrooz Behzadi, tweeted the Ministry's notice on Sunday, July 26 divulging that the Press Supervisory Board discussed the content of Baqi's interview and ruled that it was "an attempt to promote the right to subversion." Therefore, the council voted to give Etemad a warning notice, Behzadi said.
In his interview with the pro-reform daily, Baqi has also insisted that if a ruler or government violates its contract with the public, the people can dismiss the deal and overthrow the establishment.
"If the ruler decides to resist the people's will, he is not permitted to use the power at his disposal against them; since his power is 'borrowed' from the public and cannot be used for suppressing it," Baqi has reiterated.
Thus, according to Baqi, people can revolt, overthrow the ruler(s), and retain the power that was “loaned” to the ruler.