Iranian of the Year
Photo by Nader Davoodi
Shadow of hope
Mohammad Khatami is the people's choice for the second year in
March 22, 1999
The following are comments in favor of President Khatami as the Iranian
of the Year, 1998. He received the highest share of the votes with 34 percent.
Each comment is from a different person. Names have been withheld to protect
to the Iranian of the Year main index
to the Iranian of the Year main index
Shadow of hope
His presence has given all of us Iranians around the world a shadow
of a hope that maybe, after 20 years of injustice and corruption, Iran
is moving in a positive direction. I realize times might get harder before
we actually see any positive effects, but I believe the right steps are
Khatami has taken Iran to a new level. The press are testing the boundaries
of freedom of speech, singers such as Delkash are returning to the spotlight
and Iran is slowly, but steadily becoming a more open and democratic society.
Khatami has instilled hope in millions of Iranians and soon all his promises
will become a reality.
Continues to push
Because he continues to push toward democracy and reform. For his understanding
of our people needs, and his non-violent means under an extreme violent
Not hiding faults
He is the only person in the government in the last 20 years who has
tried to show the government's faults and correct them, instead of hiding
Rarest of beings
He is that rarest of beings, a politician with a strong moral center
and the courage of his convictions.
Proud to show my passport
Because of him, now I can proudly show my Iranian passport all over
the world. Now I can proudly vote for my country. Now I am proud of my
vote on Khordad the 2nd, 1376.
Although my heart is with Iranian nationalist champions (Dr. Mossadegh,
the Foruhar's, and etc), I think President Khatami is the best solution
to achieve democracy at the current time. His path might not be too much
different from our nationalist champions.
He has shown great promise in his words and actions. He is fighting
an uphill battle to have the government be responsive to the will of the
diverse people that live in Iran as opposed to smothering it.
Opportunity for democratic republic
Although all the other Iranian dissidents and freedom advocates have
sacrificed much (including their lives), President Khatami is the one who
has not allowed their sacrifices go unnoticed. He has walked a very fine
line to wrestle more power away from the old guard, antagonizing this very
paranoid group, and still accomplish his goals for bringing about a civil
society in Iran. This is probably one of the most tangible opportunities
for Iran in its entire history to evolve into a democratic republic. So
far President Khatami has shown to be a very astute politician. I wish
him and the Iranian nation all the luck in world.
Stood by his word
He stood by his word. Although facing criticism from outside and serious
threats from inside, he did not alter his moderate views of change, and
did not lose the control of his peaceful, yet well planned, policies.
If he continues this way, and gets rid of the radicals the way he is
doing now (simply by showing their real face to the public), we shall soon
have a real democracy based on our own ideas, not the ones exported from
He is the hope of Iran for peaceful reform.
In every lifetime there is a slim chance that one can have a leader
who won't be in the fray to interfere with people's affairs. Khatami is
the one. Feel honored to have him in the leading position.
Trying very hard
Because he is trying very hard against all the opposition to make our
country a better place and to open it up to the rest of the world and in
turn hopefully earn the respect that Iranians deserve. I always pray for
his success and well being.
WOULDN'T vote for Khatami
I tell you why I wouldn't vote for the Iranian president. He may be
for reform but he's the Iranian people's servant and should be happy for
the position the people have given and the confidence the people have shown
him. I don't necessarily become elated with any kind of improvement of
relations with the West. We have not had enough time and separation to
be wise enough to have yet another relationship. Remember, we just finished
a messy divorce, if you could call our relationship with the West a marriage.
So let's not be rash and run to another dysfunctional relationship. Let's
be happy with ourselves for a while before we jump into it.
Now, as far as I know this president has only one "higher"
qualification over Mr. Rafsanjani, the old president, and that is his flirtation
with the Western countries and the can't-wait-to-get-to-Iran-and-get-rich-gain
So lets wait, for heaven's sake.
Like Lech Walesa
It reminds me of Lech Walesa and Poland 20 years ago. How he brought
the freedom back to the country without a bloodshed.
For his courage under fire.
Will determine future
The project that he has undertaken will determine, not only the fate
of the Iranian nation today, but also its future direction and its position
in the international arena for many years to come.
Khatami has done much for Iran in a non-violent way like Gandhi and
I think he will continue in the same way.
2nd Amir Kabir
He is the 2nd Amir Kabir. All odds are against him, yet he marches on
with his beliefs!
Coming out of isolation
The recent local elections in Iran proved that the majority of the people
are in favor of his reformist policies. Also, at the international level,
it was he who's the first Iranian head of state to travel to a couple of
Western European countries; it's under his tenure that Iran is coming out
of its isolationism.
Moderate & intelligent
My reason is because: he's a moderate leader, intelligent and fair!
He's dealt with a few important issues and his main concern is actually
the people of Iran. Keep up the excellent work and hard effort Mr. President!
Inshaaalah, Iran will see light and a whole lot of other good things. Have
faith and believe in Allah!
Because he is the only Iranian that is truly making positive changes
For his ongoing reform project and his attempt to democratize Iranian
I see changes
I see the changes, and I appreciate it.
I believe president Khatami should be announced as Iranian man of the
i) He is trying to accomplish the jobs in Iran that, since Dr. Mosaddegh,
and in particular over the past 20 years, nobody else has done or could
have done; even though, one may say the political climate had already changed
before he came to power.
ii) Iran, after twenty years of being known as a terrorist state, now
is recovering its lost value; but this time, not being known for its rich
people like as the Shah era, however, as a country in which people are
struggling for freedom;
iii) He is a courageous and realistic man who doesn't want to do everything
iv) He is really showing people how to bear their non-violent political
One and only
20 millions people elected him and I`m one of them! We need the person
who can be our voice. Khatami the one and the only man who can do something
for us and our freedom!
With a great respect and salute to many other Iranians who work hard
to bring pride and victory for Iran and Iranians, I would like to choose
Mr. Khatami as the Iranian of the year. Nationally, Mr. Khatami is bringing
positive changes to our society and politics inside Iran by pursuing his
civil-society ideas and the rule of law. Internationally, he made an excellent
proposal to the United Nation for naming the Year 2001 the YEAR FOR DIALOGUE
BETWEEN CIVILIZATIONS. This shows how committed Iranians are to peace and
I am pro-Islam, and in favor of an Islamic government. I might prefer
hard-line rule but Islam is for the people, and the people of Iran in general
are not very religious -- they went from the Shah to Khomeini with no transition.
Thus, I think Khatami is the Iranian of the year because though he is favoring
Islam, he is moderate, just, fair; he appeals to the people and keeps the
Islamic government appropriate and within reasonable limits. I think he's
doing the best job he can in a tough situation. May God Bless him for his
Rule of law
For his efforts for the establishment of the rule of law and recognizing
Let us pray
Without any hesitation my vote will go for President Khatami. Let us
not forget that a majority of Iranians in Iran voted for him as the beacon
of hope for the future. Let us pray he lives...
Changed our life
Because he changed our life.
There's been a difference
I went to Iran about two years ago, right when President Khatami was
elected and I went again last Christmas and actually saw the difference!
Free & modern state
My choice for the Iranian of the year is President Khatami for his great
efforts to make Iran a free and modern state.
He seems to be the true hope for Iran as a whole.
I just love this guy
Because he chose a responsibility that the majority of us can't handle
even for a day. I can not imagine how he sleeps at night with all the thoughts
going on his mind. I feel sympathy for her wife too. She is sacrificing
as much as the president himself. I just love this guy, I love every word
he says, every move he makes.
He is the most influential leader, and is using his influence positively.
Listen without prejudice
Listen only to one of his speeches, listen with your heart and your
mind and try for a moment to forget all your prejudices. If you have a
passion for justice, not only political or economical justice, but a total
human justice, you might see his importance in implementing the world's
first modern system based on total human justice, and you will be proud
that he is Iranian.
For the hard job he has to do for changing the Iranian government's
policies and what he has done up to now .
Best president ever
Because he is the best president that Iran has ever seen. He is our
friend. He is the friend of the young people in Iran.
Engine of change
Because he is the engine behind whatever changes we see in the Iranian
affairs. Although last year has been a very difficult year for him (economically,
politically, and socially), he has steadfastly pressed ahead with his agenda
of more freedom, tolerance for different points of view, openness to the
extent possible in the current conditions, and resistance to the hardliners
who have tried to block his moves in these directions.
All other categories also have high merits-- but we are talking about
the Iranian of the year, whose impact is most felt on the life and well
beings of all Iranians and humanity.
For his courage, openness (hopefully), democratic thinking. I hope he
does not stop changing the rules/policies for betterment of Iran.
Never in the history of our country have we had such a movement as we
have experienced during the past two years, and it happened on his watch.
I believe he is the person who is capable of redirecting our country
to the right path.
There are many people to choose as the Iranian of the year. And the
choices you have provided are outstanding. Iranian soccer players not only
won a victory for Iran but won it for the third world! I was in Tashkent,
Uzbekistan at the time and everyone there was watching THE game between
Iran and the U.S.! What a feeling it was!
However, only one person came to my mind. This man has the courage to
go against the will of orthodox and/or conservative way of thinking, while
having the charisma and tact to deal with the established powers in a diplomatic
and professional way. He has become a symbol of modern Iran and Muslim
leadership. Therefore, I choose President Khatami as the Iranian of the
He is doing such a great job on emphasizing freedom of speech and human
rights in Iran.
Mr Khatami again has overwhelmed us with his leadership and his political
views and it is my pleasure to give my vote to him.
Brave Iranian of the decade.
He is sincere.
I love him.
He is a true freedom fighter.
Because of his courage to change.
He is for more freedom.
I respect him highly for his courage, patience and faith in helping
Iran continue its evolution. Not anyone could have started what he has.
He would need a lot of courage and support from the Iranians all over the
world. I salute him and wish him all the best; and if one day I could do
anything to help my country and to assist people like him I would with
all my heart. May God be with him and guide him at all times.
President Khatami continues to impress me with his reform. He made a
lot of Iranians proud again. The new elections are being seen as an important
part of President Khatami's plans to take democracy to the grass roots.
I made this choice because he showed a lot of courage in introducing
reforms which will affect the state of liberty and democracy in the country
in the medium and long term.
Had it not been because of his humanitarian views on political reforms
and his best attempt at the implementation of the law, whether the law
is just or not, many of the other important issues such as the press freedom
and the recent murders would not have come to light.
I vote for him to be the Iranian of the year so that the world can see
moderation, freedom, civil liberty and democratic laws -- things the Iranians
have always wanted. President Khatami is not the ideal candidate. This
is a start.
He injected a new and fresh atmosphere in our society. He flourished
the hopes of youth and gave the intellectuals the opportunity to express
themselves freely. He is a great reformer whose name will be carved in
His actions are affecting the majority of the Iranian population and
for the longest time to come.
My choice for the Iranian of the year is President Dr Mohammad Khatami
because not only because he symbolizes outstanding political and social
reforms which has been brought about in the Iranian society but also because
of his doctrine, vision and wisdom is the main engine for these developments.
He is the only Iranian politician who knows exactly what is going on.
He has made many great changes for Iranians. Also he has and is continuing
to relieve some of the pressures on the youth. There are many reasons why
I would elect him for Iranian of the year.
I chaos Mr. Khatami as Iranian of the year because he has continued
to press for reforms despite his troubles and is the leader of Iran's movement
towards a civil society.
I think he is a great leader and he is improving democracy in the our
I made this choice because it seems like in spite of all the pressure
from the fanatic right and the people who are working in his government,
he is trying to introduce a new improved image of the country and the people
of Iran to the rest of the world, especially the Western countries through
a series of intellectual moves.
To honor 20 millions of Iranian voters and because of his efforts to
make an open society in today's Iran.
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