By what law have the people of Iran died that the government is auctioning away their inheritance?
The government has mistaken our inaction for our death. It is time for the mujtaheds and other knowledgeable persons to arise and save the people of Iran. We propose two simple remedies to save Iran: law and more law. You may well ask, “where will this law come from?” the answer is again simple: the shah should call at once one hundred mujtaheds and other learned persons of the country into a national consultative assembly (majles-i shawra-yi melli); and this assembly should have full authority to formable laws that would initiate social progress.
—Malkum Khan, A Letter from Qazvin, Qanun, No. 6 (July 1890)
Abrahamian, Ervand. Iran between two revolutions. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Pr. Qanun No.6 (July 1890) “A Letter from Qazvin” Malkum Khan, p.69.
Editor’s Note: Malkum Khan was one of the foremost proponents of constitutional government, but his old age prevented him from actively participating in revolution. He died in Europe a few days after the outbreak of the civil war in Iran in 1908. During his life-time, he published the newspaper called, Qanun (Law) which continually beckoned for constitutionalism. While great importance among western educated intellectuals and Islamic scholars alike was placed on the possession of legal codes, rarely was the quality of those codes evaluated across Iran’s vastly diverse demographics in the writings of the time. Today, Iran having retained its parliament through the Islamic Revolution in 1979 ranks among the most corrupt countries in the world. Although public faith in the legal process suffers as a global phenomenon well beyond the Middle East/Asia as sell out agreements and the absence of due process become increasingly commonplace. Among the most notorious are the revolutionary courts in Iran for human rights abuses.