For the past week, the eyes of the world have been fixated on Iran. In the aftermath of a clearly stolen presidential election, the streets of Tehran have been filled with hundreds of thousands of Iranian protesters, demanding a free and fair vote. Nothing like this has been seen in Iran for thirty years.
It is obvious that the theocratic government of Iran, dominated as it is by an unelected Guardian Council made up of Islamic theologians, does not represent the will of the Iranian people. If they did, they would take in account the clearly-expressed wishes of the Iranian people and hold a full recount of the election results or redo the election altogether. Instead, they are now deploying armed force against unarmed and peaceful demonstrators. The Iranian people now face a choice very similar to that which faced the American people in 1776, the French people in 1789, and the peoples of China and Eastern Europe in 1989.
When Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independent and enumerated the rights to which all human beings are entitled under natural law, he specified: "[W]henever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter and abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundations on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to affect their safety and happiness."
He went on to say: "[W]hen a long train of abuses of usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, eninces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security."
The Iranian government does not represent the will of the Iranian people, nor does it uphold their natural rights. Under natural law, therefore, the current Iranian government is illegitimate and illegal. The massive street protests show that the Jeffersonian impulse for freedom fires the hearts of the Iranian people no less than it did the American people in 1776, or the Frenchmen who stormed the Bastille in 1789, or the Germans who tore down the Berlin Wall in 1989.
The events of the past week clearly demonstrate the illegality and illegitimacy of the present Iranian government. 21st Century Jeffersonians should hope, therefore, that the demonstrators in the streets of Tehran do not content themselves with mere protests of the recent election results, but that they move forward boldly and overthrow the corrupt and wretched structure of the present Iranian government entirely.