Since the Iranian revolution of 1979, major changes have emerged every 10 years in Iran. In 1979, the Iranian people, led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, forced out the shah as the country shifted from a monarchy to a theocratic republic.
Ten years later, in 1989, the leader of the Islamic revolution passed away and was replaced by the current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Ten years after that, in 1999, Iran was rocked by students protesting in support of more freedoms.
Now, exactly 10 years later, up to a million Iranians have taken to the streets after the June 12 election publicly questioning, “Where is my vote?” Despite the mass public protests, however, it is whatis going on behind the scenes within the leadership that has the potential to evoke real change.
The 2,500-year-old country, which has a history of democratic movements, has passed through two revolutions in recent memory, the most recent of which is the basis for Iran’s Islamic Republic. Today, however, there is a growing divide within the leadership between the reformists who want to lead Iran towards democracy, openness and freedom, and ultra-hardliners who want to take the country back centuries before the revolution, to the time of the Prophet Mohammad.
While both groups emerged out of the revolution, the hardliners – who claim their authority and legitimacy from the late Khomeini – seem actually to be going against the very principals of the revolution he led. <...