Iran's Revolutionary Council has drafted a constitution providing a strong American style president elected by universal suffrage but excluding the kind of federal statehood sought by regional autonomists such as the rebellious Kurds.
This first description of how Iran's Islamic republic will be organized emerged from separate interviews with the two officials considered to be the closest to Khomeini. There is every reason to believe that both U.S.-educated figures are members of the Revoluntionary Council, whose membership is still secret.
In wide-ranging interviews, Radio Television Director Sadegh Ghotbzadeh and Deputy Prime Minister Ibrahim Yazdi, Khomeini's two principal aides during his months of exile in France, said that the draft will be published before popular elections for a constituent assembly. The assembly, which will vote on the proposed constitution, is expected to be elected about two months after the March 30 national referendum on forming an Islamic republic in Iran.
Both men expressed confidence that Iranians would approve the formation of the Islamic republic by more than 90 percent.
The voters will be given the choice of yes or no to the Islamic republic, ignoring appeals that they also be allowed to vote to restore the monarchy or to establish a secular republic.
The exact weight Moslem religious leaders would have in the government was not clear. Ghotbzadeth said that they would have the right to name one-third of the nine to 15 judges of the Supreme Constitutional Court. The president and the legislature would also each name a third, he said. The court would rule on the constitutionality of laws and lower court rulings, he said.
The bond with Moslem religious leaders will make for a "unique" form of government, said Yazdi, but he would not elaborate except to reject the idea of a theocracy.
As he has done consistently in and out of exile, Ghotbzadeh spoke reassuringly of the shared democratic values of the West and of Islam. Yazdi also stressed democracy but took a more noticeably Islamic line, speaking of such Moslem legal concepts as "the creation of corruption on earth."
Such nuances between the two leaders seem to indicate that disagreements still exist at least on the form if not the substance of society under the Islamic republic.
"Islam has its own conception. Islam is an ideology of its own," Ghotbzadeh said. He laughingly dismissed as impractical such ideas as soldiers electing their own officers.
The Islamic movement is determined, he stressed, to better the lot of the poor. He said he understood that this emphasis had aroused middle class fears because it has a radical sound. He insisted, however, that the Islamic movement is not out to prevent comfortable existences, but simply intends to raise the mass of the people up to a comparable middleclass level. Nevertheless, "unchecked profits" and "extreme luxury" can no longer be tolerated, he said.
The revolution was in part against such abuses and also against what the great mass of Iranians consider to be loose morals and false values, he said.
There is no reason, he said, for secularized people to feel uncomfortable in the new Iran as long as they respect sensitivities of the bulk of the population. Female television announcers will not be allowed to wear as much makeup as before, and "they won't have the decolletage," but they will not have to wear veils or scarves to hide their hair, he said.
This was a modification of an earlier stand he took that they would have to wear scarves, if not full-length veils.
An unsettled point seems to be the future of the Revolutionary Council. The council numbers more than 10 and fewer than 20 and the majority are not clerics, Ghotbzadeh said. He did not deny a suggestion that he is a member.
What happens to the council will probably determine the real powers of the elected government. As Ghotbzadeh explained, the provisional government headed by Bazargan is under the control of the council, which plays both a legislative role by issuing its instructions to Bazargan and an executive role by judging and correcting how the directives are carried out.
The Bazargan government is to stay in place until the first constitutional government is established, Ghotbzadeh said. He said it is doubtful Bazargan, 71, would run for president because he is "tired." Ghotbzadeh, 41, hinted broadly last week that he might be interested in running for president, if it would be the key executive position. Today he spoke wistfully of taking a long vacation.
Ghotbzadeh said that all parties would be free to run candidates and that he though that, at the very least there would be a Marxist fielded against the Islamic revolutionary movement's choice.
Ghotbzadeh depicited Khomeini as being determined to play less of a direct political role and to become once again more of a symbolic moral guide. He said Khomeini had been forced to intervene recently because there was no one else who could enforce major orientations like halting summary executions.
Both Yazdi and Ghotbzadeh were adamant that there would be no autonomy statute for Kurdistan. There is no way for it or other regions to be specially represented in the legislature, which is to have a single house, they said.Ghotbzadeh said that it might be possible to amend the text, after it is published, to provide for a regional house. But Yazdi said he could not conceive of anything resembling a federal system.
They both said that the central government would move to meet the legitimate grievances of Kurdistan and other ethnic regions by financing creation of bilingual schools, hospital roads and other facilities and by appointing local people in top police and provincial administration jobs, including governors general, the chief provincial representatives of Iran.
While Ghotbzadeh said the Kurds and other groups would "get nothing spectacular," he said the Khomeini movement is determined to decentralize and reduce Tehran's role fostered by the shah, as a center that sucked the region's vitality.
Religious minorities would continue to be represented in the legislature, he said. The present tradition of three deputies for the Armenian and Assyrian Christians, one for the Jews and one for the Zoroastrians would be codified, he said. Both officials there would be no representation for the Bahais, the most hated sect in the country. They both insisted that it is not so much a religion as a political group.