A matter of timing

Is it too early for us to chant for a separation of religion and state?


A matter of timing
by Peyvand Khorsandi

It is too early now to publicly attack Messrs Khatami and Mousavi, two appalling political fraudsters hoisted on to the placards of masses who for thirty years have suffered under the brutal reign of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is too early because blood is being spilled by young people whose lives are denied their full expression by the medieval sensibilities of Iran’s ruling clerics.

Khatami and Mousavi are, for now, untouchable – to criticise them, judging by the competing emotions on Facebook – is to attack the very demonstrators who are risking their lives for freedom. It is too early to say that these two shining lights are in fact agents of darkness. It is too early because blood is being spilled.  

“The Islamic Republic,” a friend of mine writes, “is too deeply rooted to go. We have to take what we can.” So deeply rooted that it is afraid of bloggers and tortures them and executes them. So deeply rooted that after 30 years, death is still its best answer to dissent.

But what about those of us in the West, showing solidarity? Is it too early for us to chant for a separation of religion and state? Is it too early do say “Death to the Islamic Republic of Iran?”

It is too early for the lion and sun to return to our flag (not with Reza in tow, thank you)? So we watch with frustration as people, our people, risk their lives for unworthy men who believe in consolidating the very rule people are trying to shake off.

For a dispassionate look at what’s happening in Iran -- as history whether it has been made or is being made demands we should -- perhaps we should turn to Iran’s enemies. President Obama this week told CNBC: “The difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised.”

Amazingly, the dark lord who heads Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad, Meir Dagan, would prefer it if Ahmadinejad’s victory stayed intact. He told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz: “The reality in Iran is not going to change because of the elections. The world and we already know [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad. If the reformist candidate [Mirhossein] Mousavi had won, Israel would have had a more serious problem because it would need to explain to the world the danger of the Iranian threat, since Mousavi is perceived internationally arena as a moderate element.”

Who better to read a fundamentalist religious state than another fundamentalist religious state? They know each other well, cut from the same fabric, these men of cloth.

Most of my Facebook friends are Mousavi supporters. People are dying for the reformist camp. Surely they deserve to live? Surely he should renounce the Islamic regime and offer himself up to human rights investigators – surely that’s what he should do? Surely once, and only if, he’s proven to have had no hand in any disappearances and killings and corruption, surely only then he can be fit to lead? But’s it’s too early for that. People are dying. You can’t question things when people are dying. Strange, that. It’s precisely when you should.

* Burning candle courtesy Aref-Adib.com


Recently by Peyvand KhorsandiCommentsDate
Fantasy fatwa
Jul 01, 2012
Living Dead
Apr 19, 2012
Not one for breakfast
Mar 06, 2012
more from Peyvand Khorsandi
lilith s revenge


by lilith s revenge on




by Mehryar (not verified) on

I called Islam a repugnant Arab plague. Why? First, I find it repugnant. Second, the religion infected Iranian society as a sort of ideological plague - that's my opinion. It originated with the Arabs - that is a fact.

I do agree on the repugnant nature of all these bullshit religions, though. There, we have something in common.


Xym..., (Mr. IRI supporter), shame on U 4 supporting a dictator!

by gol-dust on

how conveniently you present the facts as you would like them to be. last time the turnout was not 82%, it was over 50%. The extra percentage was those who voted for mousavi, since ahmadijejad's supporters always show up anyway.

also, IRI economy was not as bad is despite the huge oil revenue. another point, last time he ran against someone not very popular (rafasanjani), not mousavi! he had not wiped out israel yet. we did not have as much enemy around the world courtesy of mahmoud khaan.

He might not be a thief himself, but he is a dictator who doesn't know a thing about economy. He opens his mouth one time and Iran's stocks lose billions! He saw the halo in the UN, but he didn't see the people's votes!

The problem is that I am not really a big supporter of the other side either since there is so much corruption among them. I want the whole system to be overhauled.

My problem is with regime! Khamenei is the true tyrant and dictator! WHo asked him to control the country? Why should a damn mollah be allowed to control the country? I thought we had a revolution to get rid of the shah! Now we placed him w/ another dictator? then why the hell we even had a revolution, bringing much more dictatorship?

Mollahs were not supposed to be in chage as Khomeini himself said:"I am a cleric, I would let the politicians do their job." But, did he follow through? NO! Then, he lied!

My friend's brothers and sisters who revolted and fought for Iran. have not been able to see each other for over 30 years due to this regime, and you have the nerve to defend these criminals? We are homelss under this regime and we love iran much more than these arabs do!

When khamenei said that ahmaghijejad is president, regardless if he won the election or not, since he wanted him to be the president! he is admitting that the election was a scam like everything else in this government! Shame on you for supporting this regime!! We should get rid of this regime and find someone better than mousavi, but politically if we are stuck w/ mousavi for now, I can live with that!


Stepping on Superman's cape causes Iranian inability to count

by Xymphora (not verified) on

Last election, Ahmadinejad won with about 62% of the votes cast and nobody said anything; this election Ahmadinejad won with about 62% of the votes cast and apparently it is the most corrupt election in world history (at least according to American commentators, who should know a corrupt election when they see one). What happened? Did he start unprovoked wars? Did he steal the land of others? Did he lock people up in a cage and then slaughter them? Did he preside over great human suffering? Just what the hell did he do between the previous election and this one to make him, apparently, the most hated man on earth?

Read the full piece Here



rely to MEHRYAR

by lilth's revenge (not verified) on

RE your comments on''repugnant arab plague' i see that even in these dark hours racism and hate always find their ways.all religions are based on superstition and are a plague

lilith s revenge

turkey as model?I DO NOT

by lilith s revenge on

turkey as model?I DO NOT THINK SO.if the islamist party has its way it will turn turkey into another'islamic republic'


Change in Iran or illusion?

by Taytelbaum, (not verified) on

Not to dash your hopes: what is Iran's socialist view, and secondly what is your socialist view globally? It is important to know this answer right now, for it proves the revolution is right or wrong at the moment.


Bravo. Nice post.

by Mehryar (not verified) on

The day that Iran crawls out from underneath this repugnant arab plague of Islam is the day that Iranians will actually taste the fruits of freedom.

I know this is unlikely until people mentally mature and stop this childish worldview that centers on worshiping an invisible cloud being, a preposterous mythology and a book written by some ancient charlatan. But separating the state from the mosque is a good start.

And as far as Mousavi goes, he is nothing more than a figurehead for much deeper aspirations. Iranians are desperate for ANYTHING that represents change and he will do for the moment. The people in Iran are the ones that are risking their own safety, so I can't begrudge them on which clerical candidate they support.

I was ecstatic to read this article about some brave and patriotic youths who are going out at night "Basiji hunting". Well done! I've been fantasizing about doing this for 30 years.



I see that the Iranian Government is Calling the BBC

by Terry (not verified) on

The Bahai Brodcasting Company...

I will be the first one to tell everyone that if the Bahais ran the BBC it would not show 95% of the CRAP I've seen on it's broadcasts....


Is it too early for us to chant for a separation of religion and

by Faribors Maleknasri M.D. (not verified) on


beeing very khorsand on behalf of the nice question and the spezial polite way to ask it, is my answere NO. However it is allready since 30 years - since 1979 - MUCH TOO LATE. In that year founded the honorable Iranian Nation its Islamic Republic and as the youngest History showes it is willing to protect it. If necessary again by sacrificing Blood and Lives. On the other hand if somebody is willing to bring a separation so is the way to Islamic Republic of Iran open. She/HE can go and see and separate and change. BUT pleaes be aware and remember: who ever enters that Country and wants perform jobs even in interesst of stabilizing the system will have to attend Koran school for an uncertain time. It is up to fanatic mullahs to decide at which time they will have an ear for him. The Mullahs, those fanatics, well they count stil 7ty Millions. !979 they counted only 30 Millions. The mission seems promissing no success. Just see how the great satan is near death as the result of its struggle to change the Governmental system in Iran. the logic teaches us: what that creature was not able to perform how could i bring the job to a positiv result?
With a deep Khorsandi and respect.


No comment! Just like the protestors who were not allowed

by gol-dust on

to speak! Sorry! I have a lot to say, but I have to obey the one sided agreement! Peace!


Excellent core thought

by Suomynona on

Excellent core thought expressed in this post.

We are IRANIANs first and foremost. Our culture is the common bond.

Our individual faiths as Muslims, Christians, Jews, Zorastrians, Bahais, non-believers, etc. etc. etc. reflects our own private philosophies and does not a country make.

Long overdue: a Free and Secular Iranian government.

Mort Gilani

Old Guy; Old Tactics

by Mort Gilani on

I don’t think Mousavi is the right leader, but whether we like it or not, this is his moment and he’ll be in the spotlight untill the issue of people’s votes is settled.  Although he has adapted wrong tactics all along, he should be given credit for resisting the hardliners’ pressure and pressing for a new election, thanks to the street and online support for him.

90% of the people who are cheering for Mousavi are not the lugubrious mobs of Mousavi’s generation.  This may sound a bit odd for old folks, but our young want to get their rights with song and dance; they will not follow a politician with God –is-Great, Ya-Hussien, and Ya-Halva mentality for long. If Mousavi wants to keep the crowd behind him, at least he should change his style.


Thank you

by Souri on

I was asking the same questions from the day one! Thanks for proving me that I'm not alone in my thoughts. Only when I, express them, I just get some insults and accusation in return. 

Maybe I shold change my name to "Khorsandi" ? 



Peyvan jaan, thank you for

by We all need to change (not verified) on

Peyvan jaan,

thank you for your comments. These days my facebook is filled with my friends who I must say somewhat blindly are pro mousavi just because they hate A.N more. I hope we Iranians would learn more from our own history and not repeat our mistakes in the past. It is great that we have such energetic young population but the passion and emotions of our young people could be very well misled and misused by the people at the top.

One of the problems I see with such movements is that Iran does not have established political parties, even any underground ones! People say let's get ride of A.N now and then the rest will follow. WRONG. Many of these people on the street have conflicting views on politics themselves. Many pro-Islam, pro-Shah, pro-communist, and ...

I wish we do not repeat our mistakes again.



by ali kasra (not verified) on

I understand your frustrations. But Moussavi and Khatami are the best options for Iranians right now. Many revolutions begin with the moderate supporters of the former regime trying to bring some sort of the change in the system. However, almost in all the cases these leaders are soon replaced with more extreme leaders who continue the revolution. Iranians have to settle with Moussavi for now until a real leader rises from the middle of the crowd.


Thank you!

by secular on

You've raised some excellent points....in the last few days I found myself addressing similar issues with my so called friends and family members that are supporting Moussavi. For instance I've asked: What about the years he was in power? Wasn't he involved in the mass killings too? Assuming he wasn't directly involved with the killings wouldn't he have had some knowledge about it?  Wouldn't that make him one of the criminals too? OR, do we just shut up and support the fact that our people have woken up?!  I know we have a tendency to raise our leaders to such high degrees that questioning them would be an act of high treason and forbidden. Over time our leaders become untouchable - I hope we become less reactionary and emotional - and learn to question inconsistencies and how to hold our so called leaders accountable!!!  Shah was not the shadow of god, and khomeini was not the Imam - and Moussavi is most definitely not the symbol of freedom and democracy - lets get REAL!


You can all dream

by Mazdak (not verified) on

but at this point a leadership that has the organization to lead this movement to some form of opening is coming, like it or not, from within the so-called reformist camp. Of course this leadership will be transitionary, i.e. very possible that people will press for more freedoms, eventually questioning Velayat Faghi and so on and so forth. This doesn't mean people have to close their eyes to the record of people like Mousavi or Khatami. They will have to answer their questions. And to the poster that responded to my question of "if not Mousavi then who". None of the qualified candidates, whoever they may be, have the organization to cope with this regime. You're forgetting that the other side still has popular support, and they are armed to their teeth and they are true believers. Even if we believe the numbers coming our of some quarters that AN got 13 million votes, that's still 13 million votes. Plus they have the IRGC, the Basij and the other bracnhes of Armed Forces. These guys are not going to pack it in and leave like the Shahis and leave the arena because the West decided it's time to go. They are going to fight and fight very ugly. Remember back in 1979, Khomeini provided leadership and he had a strong organization to carry his message.


Secularism for Iran

by Anonymous46465645 (not verified) on

"But the fact remains that it is almost impossible to keep State and Church separate. Just look at the system here in U.S.A., do we have that here?
This is supposed to be a model for all others?"

There is nothing wrong with mixture of politics and religion but the state must not be based on religion, that's the difference! a cleric in free Iran must be able to also run for president! there is nothing wrong with that!

America is not run by priests! is she? Iran is run by clerics and the whole system is based on rule of clerics!

We shoudln't compare Iran to America or Europe! in my opinion, the best model for Iran for now is Turkey! there the state is secular but the Islamist party is now at the helm of government.


Villain becomes saviour

by Yousi (not verified) on

It really bothers me that people still think there are "legal" means to obtain freedom in such an undemocratic system. This is to supporters of khatami ,Moosavi,...and "reform" : khatami's era was just hitting the reality of the Islamic Republic , the ultimate decision maker is Khamenehei. I feel sorry for young people that a villain like Moosavi (Who was prime minister during the mass executions) becomes their saviour and they are risking their lives.

Thank you Payvand Jaan


Now or never

by .V. (not verified) on

Islam itself needs to leave Iran.

To the future!


Promote Free Iran

by Ebrahim (not verified) on

Dear Peyvand, thank you for initiating this timely discussion. There is no doubt that a high percentage of female Iranians participating in demonstrations in major cities in Iran are sick and tired of the outdated Islamic rules and constitutional discremination against women and minorities and are asking for change. At this rare moments in history of our nation we need to make sure to promote the idea of seperation of state and religion as well of promoting the idea that after 1400 years of being dominated by the non Iranian invaders of our country, for us Iran is first. We all are Iranians and we have the right to not to believe in a specific branch of/or Islam altogether. Iran belongs to Iranians and religion, or lack of it, is personal matter.

We want to seperate state from religion; seperate religion from clergy; and say Iran has been our homelnd for centuries but Islam has been imposed on us. We no loger yield (tasleem) to the willof the invadors of our motherland and their leftovers. Islam is a non Iranian ideology and not be forced on those who do not want to yield.

Yes to Iran no to any imposed ideology.



Are you asking "If not Mousavie, then who"?

by farokh2000 on

The who would be the list of qualified people who were rejected by the Mullahs.

The criminal Mullahs have no business deciding who can and cannot run, if this were a true Democracy, of course, which is NOT.

I am sure there are tons of people who are well qualified but banned because they don't support the Mullahs.

But the first step is getting rid of these criminals.

But the fact remains that it is almost impossible to keep State and Church separate. Just look at the system here in U.S.A., do we have that here?

This is supposed to be a model for all others?


The problem is

by Mazdak (not verified) on

that there is no one else in the arena. So far the opposition is framed within the rules of the IRI. Of course what will become of this is something else but if not Mousavi then who?


Peyvand jan,

by Princess on

Thanks for this passionate piece. You might be surprised to hear I am with you on this one. I have been wondering about the same question. You put it nicely: "But what about those of us in the West, showing solidarity? Is it too early for us to chant for a separation of religion and state?"

And maybe, just maybe your Facebook friends are not really pro Moussavi, they just want to help the people shake the foundations of IRI by openly defying the will of the Supreme Leader. And hopefully do that with the least amount of bloodshed. The movement has to start somewhere. We are all holding our breaths.

A Facebook friend