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Iran: Pay Attention

| 8 Comments | 3 TrackBacks
Lots going on in Iran these days. I think the folks at Oxblog are absolutely right that matters are approaching a critical stage, and that we need to be paying more attention. Lord knows, the mainstream media won't. * Oxblog is an excellent place to begin, of course. * Dan Darling also has a very good roundup and analysis - though his white hyperlinks can be hard to see. * Kaveh Khodjasteh at offers "Ad Inferna per Aspera", a quick round-up of challenges Iran's mullahs will face over the coming year. * See Maroonblog's post for the interview with Grand Ayatollah Montazzeri, the most senior member of Iran's Shi'ite clergy. If published and distributed by a free Iranian press, this would be devastating.

3 TrackBacks

Tracked: February 4, 2004 8:09 PM
UN-secure from Low Earth Orbit
Excerpt: [source, source] After September 11th, the UN Security Council formed a panel to investigate the funding of terrorist organizations, and...
Tracked: February 5, 2004 3:00 AM
What is happening in Iran? from Strange Women Lying in Ponds
Excerpt: The other day I posted this comment on what appears on the surface to be a brewing crisis in Iran: Will it end in a Velvet Revolution, or another Tien an Men? Or will it be something in between? One
Tracked: February 5, 2004 4:53 PM
Roundup of Iran News from Acorns from an Okie
Excerpt: Winds of Change has a roundup of posting about Iran in Winds of Change.NET: Iran: Pay Attention. I normally don't like to just link dump, but I'm digesting the information myself. As I stated earlier, we are soon reaching an termination point in Iran. ...


These are going to be some interesting times...

It's unfortunate that most Americans don't realize that there has been a strong moderate democratic faction in Iran since before the revolution. In fact, the US embassy takeover was part of a conflict between moderates and extremists within Iran - the involvement of the US was secondary to the power struggle between the factions within Iran. By confronting the US directly the extremists could protray themselves as men of action, forcing the moderates to either appear weak by not doing anything or to appear as collaborators with the US (hated for its support of the Shah) if they attempted to end the hostage crisis. Obviously it worked quite well.

This democratic faction is what sets Iran apart from the likes of prewar Iraq, Syria, Saudia Arabia, and so on. Democracy isn't a panacea, but it's a major improvement. Iran has the seeds of successful reform within itself in a way that Afghanistan simply did not (and perhaps still does not). Throw in the fact that it's majority Shi'ite, hence relatively less contaminated by Wahhabism, and there's real hope for Iran.


I'm less sure. I think the division between "moderates" and "conservatives" is less significant than it's made out to be, and that part of the reason the edifice is cracking now is that many Iranians are coming to similar conclusions.

There is some hope for Iran, but no revolution in the offing, near as I can tell. There may be a change from faux democracy to open repression, however, which would have the useful side effect of accelerating the internal reform process by encouraging a full-scale Samizdat culture.

Whether any of that can come to fruition before Iran's nuclear program and foreign adventurism boil over into a serious conflict is another matter.

Applaud the knowledge of Iran that Andrew has, if the ideologues of the conservative right are only as knowledgable, we wun have so many meaningless but dangerous sabre rattling in the world. One could only respect the Iranians to change the political landscape for themselves and we could only limit ourselves to moral support and dialogue with the mullahs. Of course the conservative dogmatics occupying the White House would not want to be know that there is a hope for Iranian moderates and Khatami's soft stance beacause this would give them one less place in the world to test their latest smart bombs now that the test-site at Baghdad is not available for use.

sickof republicans... you haven't exactly been following events in Iran closely, have you? Did you even bother to click the links?

It's actually a pretty good encapsualtion of much of the Lib-Left these days, though:

[1] It's all about George Bush and irrational hatred of him. All the time. Everywhere. No matter what.

[2] Not exactly informed. Someone following Iran would know that "dialogue with the mullahs" and "moral support" to pro-democracy forces are seen by many Iranians as contradictory. Khatami's party may not even run in the coming elections (which is why I wonder if SOR even read the links), and Iranian bloggers keep describing an "atmosphere of despair" among reformers.

But if the Iranians are just props in your domestic disputes anyway, it doesn't really matter as long as idiotic and contradictory prescriptions like this make you feel better and let you indulge your bile. Right?

[3] No answers whatsoever re: Iran's nuclear program, its threats to use said weapons if it acquires them, etc. That's just ignored.

Still no signs whatsoever of grown-up behaviour or willingness to grapple with reality on the key issue of our times.

Pathetic - but illustrative.

The moderate faction is not in the government, unfortunately. The 'reformers' are moderate only in relation to the hardliners. The real moderates are not permitted to run in elections.

It seems the hardliners are cracking down even on many of the reformers, which bodes ill. I think it's quite possible that we will (as Joe said) see a change to open repression. What will happen then is beyond my ability to predict.

In fact, the US embassy takeover was part of a conflict between moderates and extremists within Iran - the involvement of the US was secondary to the power struggle between the factions within Iran.

I think there's some truth to that comment. But it might interest you to know that many of the "extremists" who took over the embassy now portray themselves as "reformists" within the current government.

I largely agree with Joe - the Iranian people have caught into this good-cop/bad-cop charade put on by the mullahs, and have contempt for both the hardliners and the reformists. But they don't yet seem to have the desire to pour out onto the streets and throw a revolution over it. Partly because of the mullahs' repression, partly because they have loosened up a bit on some social issues, and partly because it's only been 25 years since the last revolution.

The protests in Tehran last year, encouraging though they may have been, contained only a small fraction of the number of people needed to truly threaten the regime. But now that the last vestiges of an internal reform movement are going down the drain, we might start to see more Iranians begin to look at more radical options for changing the system. But even if that's the case, I wouldn't expect much to happen in the immediate future, though I sure wouldn't mind being proven wrong.

hi, I'm a student of Iranian descent living in Canada. I left Iran eight years ago. I can see some of you here are way off on the realities of life in Iran. Moderate? Reformist? Moderate compared to whom? Khatami might seem moderate compared to Khamenei, but he is really just as evil as the rest of them. All he has to show for himself is a pretty smile on his ugly face. he is not interested in reforming anything. The Islamic regime is incapable of reform. I have to say that the revolution was a huge mistake to begin with. I was only three when it happened but I think the people who made the revolution were crazy. They had no idea what they were doing or why they disliked the Shah. The just repeated what they were told. "We hate the Shah because it is supported by the US. We hate the US because they support the Shah". We had a perfectly good country. The Shah was the best thing that could have ever happened to our country in modern times. They wrecked it for no reasons.

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