Khatami for president - comments
Views on the presidential candidates and more
The following are the results of a survey conducted in late February, 1997, on presidential candidates. Individuals on THE IRANIAN TIMES mailing list were asked to choose between the two main official candidates, Ali Akbar Nateq-Nuri or Mohammad Khatami. To read the resutls of the survey, click here.
Each (*) is a comment from a different respondent:
* I would vote for Khatami: He is the lesser of the evils. I do have respect for his backing of media rights and civil liberties (again, relatively speaking).
* Let's face it, the Iranian media has already chosen the next president, and it's Newt Gingrich's Iranian counterpart [Nateq-Nuri]. I wouldn't vote because I don't believe in the system that is currently in power. The whole idea of a theocratic state is an obsolete notion. Let's just hope that the "lesser evil" of the two candidates wins. Wishful thinking, huh? :)
* [I vote for] Nateq-Nuri, to be different.
* You really struck a cord amongst the psyche of the "electronic public". - Khatami becomes Taleghani's heir apparent and survives all these years of Islamic cleansing! - The call for a benevolent dictator is "upgraded" with military attachments: no hazing or spitting allowed! - Voting for Bubba [Bill Clinton] is considered an act of anti-nationalism to save Iran! Sefid Roud = Persian version of Whitewater. - Souroush, one of the masterminds of Bani-Sadr's onslaught against academia: "begoo marg - b tab raazi misheh". - And while virtual voting could even bring Mossadeq to the forefront, why not Kouroush -- a military leader and a cosmopolitan visionary and conquerer of non-Parsi savages. He is also comfortably asleep and thereby can't cause any harm.
* I would vote for Khatami (between bad and badtar!)
* [In response to the comment in favor of a military government in Iran:] His smug, Euro-centric, narrow-minded existence is insulting. He puts down the ignorant peasants and then says that things are just as bad in the West but at least they know how to cover it up better here. And this is education? Is this what he wants Iran to learn? To lie like Americans instead of saying their truth, however much he might disagree with it? Ahhh, I feel much better now.
* Participation in the electoral system in Iran is a waste of time and effort unless there is genuine choice. Participation only encourages the current bunch of criminals to continue as before.
* Is there a brief description of the candidates anywhere on the Web?
* For heaven's sake, let's promote idealism in Iran's politics rather than settle for unqualified politicians (in the name of pragmatism!) who will lead Iran to the 21st century!... Pls send an email to Tehran's mayor and urge him to run for the presidential race. IRAN deserves better than the present candidates!
* Upon reflection, I also can't quite imagine any of the existing Iranian politicians (both inside and outside Iran) as being capable either, and so reluctantly must sheepishly go along with Khatami, with a small, thin veneer of possible "cultural" training!
* Go with Khatami. Question: Does he grant coffee sessions? A moot point considering my finances.
* I'm afraid that there is little I can say in response to your very peculiar questionnaire, except that I am very disappointed that you even seek to grant a measure of credability to the ridiculous sham in Iran which these ignorant peasants call an election. An election should at least seek to convey some form of a free-speech and seemingly particpatory political system. In the West, politicians are expert at making their systems at least seem to be fair and free, although we all know that they are restrictive and unequal in their own right. In Iran though the mullahs do not even seek to justify their totalitarian and violently-enforced ideals. Your suggestion that any Iranian with the intelligence to think would even contemplate voting in these elections is, I believe, the greatest irony. I do however agree with you that there is no Iranian politician currently living which commands respect or popular support. Although, and this is a contradiction in terms, I would personally vote for a military government in Iran, based on a secular constitutional system, with the aim or restoring the country economically and socially, whilst ensuring regional peace. I am happy and proud to state that I am strongly against any apparent democratic leadership in Iran in the medium term. Although this should be the eventual goal of any future government. However democracy can only be built on education and advanced thought, neither of which are prevalent in Iran at present.
* Years of so-called nationalism has brought us nothing but devastation and misery. We CANNOT be in charge of ourselves, as we have proven time and time again. I'd vote for Billy boy (Clinton) in a desperate attempt of making Iran livable again.
* I am sick and tired of seeing any more turbans.
* I perfectly agree that Mossadegh is the de facto father of the modern iranian nation.
* "I have come to realize that good judgement is the result of experience, and experience is unfortunately a result of bad judgment." -Robert Kennedy
* I would vote for Mohammad Khatami only because he is a 'moderate, pragmatist' person. The fact of the matter is that no matter how much one hates the current regime and their policies, they are the only ones who can make heads or tails out of the system they have created. Thus, explaining my vote for one of the members of the Iranian inner circle. To think that a politician in-exile can go to Iran and fix everything and understand this complicated web, is wishful thinking. Let's hope that the politicians in Iran evolve and eventually do what is right. It may not be in my lifetime but I would like to look at the long term effects. The last thing that Iran needs right now is another revolution and another 'back to square one' effect. The French, Spaniards. American, and countless number of other countries went through the process....so can we.
* I prefer Mr. Kharami, because he is moderate and pragmatic clergic even more than Mr. Hashemi (Rafsanjani). As I remember, in the early days of the Islamic revolution, some people belived Mr. Khatami was the second man after Aytollah Taleghani. He is an intelectual person with an open mind. I believe if he wins the election, he would never allow some groups like Ansar-e Hezbollah find any oppertunity to force someone like Dr. Soroush to leave the country. Of course, unfortunatly, uneducated people do not know him well and his chance [of winning the election] is very low. However, who knows?
* I am against the current dictatorship in Iran. But if I lived there and I had to choose between the two, I would vote for Khatami.
* It is very similar to the situation in the U.S. election, where most people didn't trust either of the candidates. I believe in a "step-by-step" policy, if you know what I mean!
* Any radical approach to alter the situation in present Iran is unlikely to succeed. Those who give more freedom (even if it is very limited) provide good ground for fundamental changes. I don't like to see an Ayatollah in power but I still vote for Khatami. He is likely to give more freedom.
* I would vote for Daryoush Homayoun. Here's a guy who is educated, has a great deal of class, was a dedicated Jebheh Melli member before it became chic to be so and has more patience, grace and willingness to deal with us as a nation and all our confused and confusing issues -- sociologically speaking all the way down to economics and foreign affairs.
In the current situation in Iran it doesn't really matter what is your political orientation since the main stream political environment dictates the political trends, so one can't realy impose their views on the rest of the political body if not riding the mainstream wave. Even if Khatami is a little more for civil freedom, he will not be left alone by the other influential political forces. Nouri enjoys a better and stronger political base and would have more freedom than other candidates to enforce his views and lobby with other groups.Therefore, his election would be more practical and fruitfull. I also have something to say to those constant whining complainers who think the solution to our country's problems is refusal to participate and keep complaining destructively. Come on get real! Let's see what is our alternatives in REALITY and select the best alternative. Nothing is perfect, of course, but that is how things work in the real world. Give me one example of one country in which things have been ROSEY from the begining. I can see the difference now in the situation in Iran. I don't think it will reamin the same forever. In all fairness, we should aknowledge the improvements in various aspects which are results of the current system too such as appreciable amount of long term investmensts in construction of mother industries, power industry, agriculture, higher/education, communication, transportation, health.... which compared with the previous system is significantly higher. Of course, we have a LONG way to go in many other areas. As someone else said it earlier to think that some other extra ordinary force could come and settle things out and make everything perfect is "wishfull thinking". Nothing can come out of negativeness and constant whining. let's get real.
* (REPEAT) [In response to the comment in favor of a military government in Iran:] His smug, Euro-centric, narrow-minded existence is insulting. He puts down the ignorant peasants and then says that things are just as bad in the West but at least they know how to cover it up better here. And this is education? Is this what he wants Iran to learn? To lie like Americans instead of saying their truth, however much he might disagree with it? Ahhh, I feel much better now.
* In response to the above person who found my existence insulting; I should like to state that if all you could grasp from my comments are those which you state, then you have understood little. I insulted peasants, but only in a figurative sense, I was in no way insulting people who are by definition peasants. Secondly, I never sought to portray the West as being as bad as Iran. But I did seek to express my strong view that I am not pro-West, pure and simple. The West has many faults, and some are severe, but if Iran hopes ever to at least embark on a road toward freedoms of speech, thought, expression, etc..., then the West has set the only currently viable example. If you believe that we must simply embrace the West with all our love, then you have shown that you are my figurative peasant. We can and should use our knowledge and experiences of the West to suck the marrow from the bone, and discard the undigestible! Burying ones head in the dirt, and simply expressing their distaste through the violence and inhumane behaviour depicted by IRI is the surest way to self-destruction. There is already little left in Iran to save, but given another 5 years of the mullas, the will be even less, if any Iran left. As for the dude who thinks Iran is advancing, well mate, here is your advancement: Iran just digs a 'chaleh' (hole) in the 'koocheh' (street) and calls it a university. The certificates are dealt out on a who-prays-most basis, or who-regularly-goes-to-'namaz jomeh' (Friday Prayers). There are people walking around in Iran, who are called medical Doctors, and they have never even touched a hypodermic syringe, let alone treated a patient. Iranian leaders pay great attention to the 'dahaat', because it is from these dark recesses of human ignorance that their greatest support comes from, they do not go there out of a sense of LOVE for the smell of the 'dahaat' (village)! The electricity and sewage works you mention, along with all the road building etc..., was all planned and arranged by the Shah's government, these sheep herders just carried it out with their monopoly money economy. The reason why Irans papers have such large redership is simply because every facet of information in Iran is controlled...ARE YOU SLEEP TYPING. WAKE UP, IT'S THE REAL WORLD OUT THERE!!
* My vote: Khatami (only because it is not a free election and other choices are worse or as bad).
* I'm glad this discussion because in my opinion this is healthy for our society. Well I'll go with Khatami and I'll be honest, I have no idea who he is. The reason I choose to vote for him is if he's an aide to Rafsanjani then he's going to continue Rafsanjani's policies which to me seem good because he's trying to open up Iran and he's doing it at a slow pace to let people get use to it, and yes 'cause he has a lot of people standing against him. His cabinet has been one of the most highly educated in modern Iranian history even though most of you would like to disagree to that that this is a fact. The other thing is I am thinking reality wis; yes we can dream of what Iran can be and who can lead it depending on who we like but the reality is that what we have is what we have to live with it. Many of you think the election is only a show. Well hey, at least they put up a good show. In most other countries around the Persian Gulf they are bluntly told they have no right and no say in choosing the government. I don't mean to blast anyone or anything. It's just personally I am fed up of this split that politics has created in our society and it is ruining us. I don't know who it was, but someone put down Googoosh as a candidate. Well honestly I think that's a good idea 'cause I haven't met anyone who hasn't liked Googoosh and maybe she would bring us together :) I am sorry if I offended anyone however. Please know this before you label me. I am neither a so called 'hezbollahi' nor a so called 'shah parast'. All I am is a proud Iranian and if there is anything anyone is going to call me it's 'Vatan parast'. Whether my government is a monarchy or a Islamic republic my obligation is to work for my country and people and that is unconditional. Doesn't depend on who is president. However I do understand most of the views you have and the reasons behind them. Okay I better stop there 'cause I am going beyond the subject. Just wanted to clarify.
* this is my second response to the poll; it is just getting more interesting. someone has expressed his opinion regarding iran's achievements after the revolution. i am stunned to see that an iranian living outside of iran who has such close and realistic information about our homeland. usually, most iranians living abroad have a very distorted image of iran and that is the results of their bad post-revolution experiences or they believe whatever the western media specially U.S. state run communication organizations inject into their minds. above all the points that this person has expressed, there is something that we all can be proud of. it is the concept of a dream, an ideal and an ultimate goal for all the countries in this world. it is something extremely valuable, difficult to obtain with a high cost. it is called "independence" or in our own lingo, "esteghlaal". if there are a few countries on the planet earth which are independent, "mostaghel", and they do not have any boss, "arbaab", considering all the economical and social complications, iran, our country is proudly one of the them. it is due to this "esteghlaal" that the progress he is describing has been achieved so far. it is due to this concept that we get mistreated in the airports. it is due to being "mostaghel" that at least you get a chance to vote even if the candidates are not your favorites. and, it is due to iran's "esteghlaal" that whoever is in charge does not receive a fax from a foreign country telling him what to eat, how to dress and what to do today to protect their "national interest". obviously, our "esteghlaal" did not crystalize with no cost. we paid a lot for it, think about it. we all owe this "esteghlaal", the first step to our final freedom and national glory to one group that has been forgotten amongst iranians outside iran: "shohada". lets celebrate a day of "shohada" to respect all those who lost their lives to make this possible, regardless of their idealogies, as long as their ultimate goal was iran's independence and prosperity.
* I only wish the best for the people in Iran. I would vote for KIUMARS as my name is Kiumars.
* Very interesting for me to see many more are thinking objectively. (Honestly, when I saw your questioner the first time, I said: BORO BABA HAL DARI! and immediately deleted it.) And one comment about the "less of the evils" term which was used by some. There is this idea of rejecting guilt by association in the U.S. which I like very much; (even though when it comes to Muslims or Middle Easterners or Iranians many media and officials forget it). There is also a verse in Holy Qur'an which says: VA LA TAZERO VAZERATAN VEZRA OKHRA (=And nobody will bear (shoulder) the burden of others' behavior) which I guess is pretty much the same concept. Now how much do we really know about the candidates to call them evil? I myself don't know enough to judge. And if what I have heard about Khatami is true, I would most probably vote for him.
* I don't think that any Iranian should honor mollas by listening to them and voting.
* I think the only reason you see Khatami is leading the pole is because you, jj, expressed your opinion before the process began. most of these people voting for these candidates can hardly name 2 or 3 current officials in the iranian government. there is no wonder why some of them vote for gogoosh or clinton. let's think of doing this in a different way without bias.
[JJ: I asked subscribers to give their comments. So it was only fair to give my own as well. I didn't endorse Khatami and I don't think what I said made a big difference on how others voted.]