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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


April 24, 2000

Age of Reason vs. Dark Ages

I enjoyed reading Charles Kurzman's article in relation to the American support for democracy in Iran in the 20th century and the 21st century ["Lost opportunities"]. I should, however, like to state the following observations.

1. It would be misguided to compare Iran's Constitutional Movement (1904-1909), which was progressive and modernist in nature, to President Hojatoleslam Khatami's attempt to prolong the life of the Velayat-e-Faghih through revisionism. Whilst the former ended centuries of autocracy, the latter is an attempt to prolong two decades of theocracy.

2. Moreover whereas Iran's Constitutional Movement was founded on the spirit of Enlightenement and Age of Reason, the Islamic Republic is founded on the principles of the Rule by Divine Right and the Dark Ages.

3. Finally the present-day Iranian democracy movement (which is comprised of a wide specturm of differing political view points), is founded on the principles of secularism.

It seems to me that the question to be asked remains, "Will President Hojatoleslam Khatami accept to disband the Constitution of Rule of the Faghih in favor of a secular constitution founded on the principles of participatory democracy"?

Nazenin Ansari


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