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Shahin & Sepehr


Sehaty Foreign Exchange

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July 12 -16, 1999 / Tir 21-25, 1378


* Protests:
- Disaster for IRI


* Protests:
- Two steps back
- Helping MKO types
- Who's there to lead?
- Will civil society grow?
- Restless
- Aafarin to the Iranian students
- Time for a change

* Iranian-American:
- Embrace global community
- Still Iranian

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July 16, 1999

* Disaster for IRI

It is obvious from the latest decree by President Khatami in Iran, that he will crush further protests.... This of course would mean disaster for the government officials, Khatami included, who have continuously failed to provide the Iranian people with a satisfactory economic, social, and political freedom that they deserve; and let us not forget, this is the freedom that they were promised in the 1979 revolution (by Khomeini and his clerical and intellectual supporters) and caused the uprooting of a 2500 year old monarchy in Iran.

However, from day one Khomeini and his clerical staff did their utmost to bring about more limitations instead of freedom, and to ensure their success created an environment of fear to rule the country, arresting those tied to the previous government and the intellectual faction of the revolutionary force, carrying out thousands of executions, and causing the self-imposed exile of millions of Iranians in the past 20 years ... FULL TEXT

Yek Irani

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July 15, 1999

* Two steps back

We are born as Iranians not by our own choice. However what we do as Iranians is (our choice). As much as we are proud of our culture, let us make sure by our deeds and not rhetoric about the past, we preserve what we have inherited. How great is Iran depends on how Iranians present it.

With all the events going on in Iran these days it seem we are in competition with the Taleban ["The spark"]. The policy of one step forward, two steps back, leaves us with losing even what we had. And losing lives is always backward, specially when the subject is: "FREEDOM TO EXPRESS".

Sepehr Sohrab

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* Helping MKO types

I wrote this to a friend:

A couple of months ago I mentioned to you that the kind of policies stubbornly persued by the government of Iran in denying the moderates and liberal nationalist forces any opportunity will only help radical movements and the Mojahedin Khalq types. Although you noted that the MKO was the best organized and had more supporters than other group in Sweden, you indicated that you considered them as traitors. My statement was not based on any affection for them. In fact, they are one of my least favorites, together with some of the former Tudeh Party members who are trying to penetrate the National Front and gain a foothold in its leadership ostensibly on the ground of being its recent converts.

But I have learned to rely on my knowledge, limited though it may be, rather than my wishes and desires in the face of what seems the probable consequences of empirical developments. Today , finally, clearly and in spite of protestations to the contrary, the police and Ansar Hezbollah have together attacked the students in the university and dormitories after the statement by the National Security Council, presided over by Khatami, that if the student do not have permit from authorities (the same police and intelligence agents that we have known) they would be arrested.

Perhaps President Khatami thought that he had no other choice in the circumstances, and I certainly wish him the best since he may still be the last hope for a relatively peaceful transition to a more tolerable political system in Iran.

Incidentally, I have never criticized him openly and have urged other nationalists and moderates who may pay any attention to me not to do so either. But his present position and predicament and the students' mood may result in their further alienation and tendency toward radicalism and support for the likes of the MKO.

I still hope otherwise and think that there may be time to take some meaningful remedial steps. But they require courage and a significant amount of risk taking.

G.H. Razi

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* Who's there to lead?

Question is, does the West want to remove the Islamic Republic? Would they gain by removing them? And if they do, who is to replace them? Few hundred or thousand student demonstrators could not do anything if they don't have any support behind them. Is there anyone to lead them?

We should not expect a revoluion or a change with six days of riots, if no one is there for them, to lead them to organize them. Today is not 1978. The Shah had to go and they brought Khomeini out of nowhere, and made him a god. A man who could not even speak proper Farsi and all his sentences were backwards just like his regime, became a supreme leader and god of the Iranians, and removed the Shah with all that power.

I never heard of Khomeini before, and just few months before the change of the monarchy in Iran I got to hear about him from the media. Who is there to lead now? None of the Iranian high officials in exile have stepped forward to say anything about what has happened in the last few days.

The only one who spoke was Reza Pahlavi and all he said was that he does not like to see another whatever-square in China and that he does not like to see bloodshed Iran. For the past 20 years, all we have seen in Iran is bloodshed and torture. Well, There are so much that one can say, but I guess it is enough for now. I was just wondering who is there to lead Iranian people.

Ardeshir Derazdast

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July 14, 1999

* Will civil society grow?

It is hard at this stage to predict the outcome of these recent events ["Great pain"]. This is only the most recent culmination of democratic efforts against the clergy (a battle with over 150+ years of recorded and bloody history) that begun long before the recent revolution of 1979 and has accelerated since Khomeini's death.

In reality the Shah and his father were a "comprise" between religious autocracy and democratic rule. Their dynasty was a synthesis of the forces that polarized the society during the Constitutional Movement. The Pahlavi's were autocratic and although non-secular but relatively non-religious. Their time represented a set back for both the clergy and the democratic forces.

For now the "reformist" President Khatami symbolizes the "compromise", and he has "urged the students to allow law and order to be established." Khatami a cleric (all be it reformist) precariously has to find the means of "reform" within the dogma and clerical establishment that abhors civil society. His goals are ambiguous and will wear thin. Either he will take sides or will fail on both fronts just as Gorbachev did in trying clerical theocracy.

The question for him is the same for many devout Muslims who have one way or another accepted the realities of change and human development. Will a reformed Islam emerge and realize Khatami's personal and conflicting "dream" - the one he is attributed to by friends and foes - the secular clergy? Islam's history has been cruel to these "heretics", and Khatami may choose not join their ranks and opt for the "rule of law".

The question for the rest of us is: Will the language, culture and politics of tolerance (not compromise) and the effort to define civil society in the context of Iran grow (and perhaps prevail) in this round? Or will our society swing from one extreme to the next? One way or another - even if these recent events do not translate into the significant change we all hope for - they will pave the way towards that goal.

Nader Pakdaman

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* Restless

I feel so helpless as I read the news about the Iranian students ["Great pain"]. I was only nine years old during the Islamic revolution, and now I feel the desperate need to be back in my homeland and take part in what is happening. I have read article after article, listened to the news, but still feel pretty restless. I don't know how other Iranians feel, but I will keep all the hamvatans in my heart.


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July 13, 1999

* Aafarin to the Iranian students

I have nothing but admiration for the students in Iran ["The spark"]. They stood up to the authorities and showed that whatever the regime does, it can not violate the sanctity of university facilities. Students are a very powerful sector of any society, specially in countries where campuses are not the place for big drinking parties and scenes of sexual escapades.

Universities in such countries are places for fervors of intellect and political idealism to bloom. Students are generally hot headed, emotional and idealist. They are at an age that because of their proven intellects, they feel they have the power to do anything and stop any violation of their beliefs ... FULL TEXT


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* Time for a change

I think its horrible what these students are going through ["The spark"]. I don't understand how a government can be so stupid as to ban rallies that they don't "approve of."

I think living in a democracy we take for granted our rights to peacefully protest that which we seek to change or simply as a means of expressing ourselves.

I hope more protests sprout in the near future around Iran to show the dimwit government that others too hold a similar belief on the issue of the free press and freedom to protest.

I know I will do my part by joining demonstrations here [in the U.S.]. I hope you will do the same because I know it is time for a change


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July 12, 1999

* Embrace global community

The writer of this article speaks of one losing their Iranian identity as though that would be such a tragedy ["After all, I am Iranian"]!

When I look at the Iranian community all I see is a people obsessed with appearance and intolerant of diversity. What few things there are to be proud of, such as the Persian empire, date back a good 2000.

It is time for Iranians to let down their guard and embrace the global community. Maybe then we could have new things to be proud of.

And for their readers who are gonna be writing to me criticizing my parents for not bringing me up in an Iranian environment, let me just say that I grew up in Iran, not America.


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* Still Iranian

I was going through The Iranian and I read "After all, I am Iranian". It was writen so nicely and true.

Even though I have only been in the U.S. five years I have grown so much in here. I don't dare call myself Iranian American cuz I am still an Iranian. I feel the same pride

It was so obvious that my roomate this past year called me a complete nationalist. He was telling me how I get so excited about every other news or event about Iran.

I guess we all have that pride in us that no one has the power to take away.

Behnam Farahpour

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