Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The situation in Iran

Reinforcing what Joe just said, here is a review by Vali Nasr of the memoir of Shirin Ebadi, the recent Nobel Prize winner from Iran. It was originally published in New Republic On-line.

Besides criticizing Ebadi for not being able to really, fully break from the Khomeini revolution, Nasr provides a long and detailed account of the internal situaton in Iran. The conclusion is sobering but leaves some room for hope:

"What, then, of the search for democracy in Iran? It seems to be everywhere and nowhere at once. There is no other country in the region more suitable for the nurturing of the sapling of democracy. Iranians want democracy, and they cherish democratic practices. But there is no simple and straight path to democracy in Iran. The battle lines are unclear, and as the elections last year showed, open political contestation has favored populist authoritarianism over democracy, albeit through the ballot box. Talk of democracy in Iran is rife, especially in the West; but the reality is that Iran now has a stable authoritarian regime, and there is no obvious way to dislodge it.

It will be difficult to make up for the opportunity that was lost during the Khatami years. Building a viable movement for full and politically secular democracy will take time. It needs organization and coalition-building; but above all it needs a convincing and uncompromising message -- one that breaks absolutely with the legacy of the revolution and the nostalgia for its promise, and rejects any half-hearted attempts at reforming the theocracy."

Discussions - 4 Comments

Thanks for this. I missed it in TNR.

I’m much more into the religious than political end of things - well, I guess maybe that’s an odd position to be in, given how right-wing Christianity has blended the two!

Anyway, seems to me that I heard on NPR that Iran used to have a more democratic government at some time in the past - before we helped overthrow it.

Remember how they used to have that non-interference policy on the original Star Trek in approaching other planets with intelligent life forms? But shedding lots of people’s blood to make the world safe for corporate interests - oops! - "democracy..." - seems to be big business, now more than ever.

And most of the blood ain’t ours.

Oh why, why do they hate us so!???

Iran was democratic ... sort of.

By the way, Darius, even the Federation couldn’t adhere to its Prime Directive all time or even wanted to.

The only folks who lament about the ’why they hate us’ are those who have problems with our current WOT, like Darius.

Anyway, I suggest you go look up the words of the one who murdured Theo van Gogh and you will see exactly why they hate us.

Bottom Line: Iran(or the religious leaders that control the place) hates us because they are dedicated to maintaining a very conservative culture, and the influence of our libertarian culture with attending concepts like freedom, personal autonomy and free will hardly jive well with submission to Allah and predestination by the will of Allah to the radical muslim culture.

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