Iran’s Tragic Joke
New York Times / Roger Cohen
21-Jul-2009 (5 comments)

So the line I take away from the important Friday sermon of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the two-time former president who believes that the Islamic Republic’s future lies in compromise rather than endless confrontation, is this one: “We shouldn’t let our enemies laugh at us because we’ve imprisoned our own people.”There’s been tragedy aplenty since June 12 — dozens of killings, thousands of arrests, countless beatings of the innocent — and I hope I belittle none of it when I say there’s also been something laughable.What president would celebrate a “victory” by two-thirds of the vote with a clampdown resembling a putsch? What self-respecting nation would attribute the appearance in the streets of three million protesters convinced their votes were stolen to Zionists, “evil” media and British agents? (The former British ambassador to Iran told me with a smile last January that Tehran was an interesting place to serve “because it’s one of the very few places left on earth where people still believe we have some influence!”)What sort of country invites hundreds of journalists to witness an election only to throw them all out? What kind of revolutionary authority invokes “ethics” and “religious democracy” as it allows plain-clothes thugs to beat women?What is to be thought of a supreme leader who calls an election result divine, then says there are some questions that need resolution by an oversight council, and then tells that counc... >>>

Ali Lakani

Iran no banana republic

by Ali Lakani on

Khamenei has pushed IRI to the point of no return.  He has passed every conceivable chance to heed the people's will and to correct the rift.  With his negative reaction to Rafsanjani's overture to people and to attemt a healing gesture, he is now a man hated by the nation he rules, isolated and unsupported by his peers.  Iran is no banana republic, that's true, and Khamenei may have overestimated himself and his power yet again in his arrogant reply to the people of Iran.  It may not be tomorrow, but it is only a matter of time before he would hear Iranian people's message loud and clear, just as the Shah finally did 30 years ago.  I just hope that Iranians have become wiser in those 30 years so as not to make the same mistakes again.


rosie is roxy is roshan

I was thinking something else..

by rosie is roxy is roshan on

I just saw Hamid Dabashi say that he really feels it's a very small percentage in the movement who don't want an Islamic Repbuic. I said below that  the theocracy would die out. That DOESN'T necessarily mean that Iran wouldn't still be the Islamic Repbulic in name. That isn't necessarily  incompatible with a secular democracy. After all the monarch of England is the head of the Anglican Church. And so on. It will depend on the orientation and will of the people. But they've already shown they want other religions to be equal. They demonstrated for the Zartoshti and the Bahai right before the election.  Most people here think they know what the green they're wearing means, but in reality they're the only ones who know.

rosie is roxy is roshan

I think..

by rosie is roxy is roshan on

there will be a gradual, three steps forward, two steps back, movement toward a secular democracy, through a strengthened Reform movement, with a phase involving an elected Supreme leader, with strength going further and further to the Majlis, with incremental change in the Constitution so that the Majlis will eventually have veto power over the leader, and finally it willl culminate in the constitution being changed enogh to eliminate the theocracy. I believe not only that it will be gradual but that the two steps backwards part will not be pretty, especially in the near future, and I believe the timetable will take more than ten years,probably closer to twenty. That will give enough time for the dinosaurs to die out and also for the largely youthful protest movement to have reached the age of maturity for assuming the mantel of authority. And I think they'll be very good at it. No nation on earth has learned such bitter lessons so well from the mistakes of their elders.

That's my guess. I could be completely wrong. But I do believe we will see the end of the Islamic Republic within our lifetime.

ps in just thinking about this a little later, it occured to me that it took 45 years from the beginning of the civil rights movement to the election of a black president. so..that would be..30 years since the overthrow of the shah plus fifteen from the green wave = 45. not saying i'm such a great analyst, my point is: patience.

Maryam Hojjat

Good Question!

by Maryam Hojjat on

What is Iranians' choices after IRI? 


What will come after the IRI?

by John on

Ali (and anyone else), I have a serious question in response to what you wrote: "I just hope that Iranians have become wiser in those 30 years so as not to make the same mistakes again.".

When the time comes that the current IRI power structure tumbles into dust (and eventually it will), what do you think will or should replace it?  A modified theocracy with new, more liberal leaders?  An elected democracy?  Obviously not a monarchy.  Something else?