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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


August 8, 2000

Logic instead of anger

The attitude implied by the editorial entitled "No brainer" is dangerous in its ability to undermine the reform process -- perhaps as dangerous as the actions taken by the conservative clerical elite. Indeed, the situation demands all the "brain" available to counter the equally threatening potentials for either a furthering of the conservative clampdown, or a chaotic upheaval.

It was clear from the onset of Khatami's term that reform would be slow, arduous, and, at times, frustrating. But the decision to proceed slowly and cautiously is in direct response to the utter fatigue resulting from a violent revolution immediately followed by nearly a decade of imposed war.

The successes of Khatami's term should not be underestimated: he has regained the confidence and approval of a multitude of former regional adversaries to the Islamic Republic, numerous measures have been passed to formalize and hopefully revitalise economic production, the strength of the bonyads (conservative strongholds) have been undercut with a change in leadership and rejection of a gas-field development bid, the mere presence of Khatami in office has attracted detente measures from Western states, despite attempts to limit cultural "infiltration" Iranians have maintained access to informations via satellites and increasing telecom and internet connectivity.

These hard-earned achievements add up to a situation where Iranians are not alone in the world. And the injustices being committed are on full view to the world. The situation is enhanced by the connectivity of the diasporic community (people like us).

Further interconnectedness and transparency are steps toward a situation of relative integrated peace. Only in such a situation will pragmatic reform be allowed to flourish in Iran, and such pragmatism inevitably seeks to undermine the inefficient, ad hoc nature of the conservative clerical elite, with no excuses for them to cling. This is what is meant by the triumph of logic and reason, as advocated by Khatami.

By promoting an air of hostility, or by responding to the actions of the conservative elite with more hostility, this interconnectedness is threatened, and with it, logic and reason. I would contend with anyone that hostile radicalism, whether it be conservative or populist, cannot solve any problems unless it is backed by logic and reason. Thus the contention that the current situation is a "no brainer" must be held back for the sake of sustainable change.

The diasporic community, with the space, time, and money available to us, must make an effort to promote developments on the outside that favor sustainable change on the inside. There is no need for such radical posturing. Our homeland cannot afford to receive any more of it.

Cyrus Samii
New York City


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