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Democracy and Islam

Reader comment on item: Iran in Crisis

Submitted by Walter (Austria), Jul 23, 2002 at 07:27

I first would like to thank you for your balanced observations on Iran and Iranian society.

Please allow me to add some remarks: When talking to Iranians in and out of Iran they heavily critizise their government, the hypocrisy, the criminal gangs etc. But critics against the government and especially against the rule of the clergy (correctly: only a part of the clergy) goes back to the early 1980s statements of Ayatollah Montazeri, a close ally and once deputy of Khomeini, who is confined to his house in Qom for more than a decade. Quite a lot of Iranian leftist-Islamic activists close to Khomeini now support democratization of their own society, and as it seems to me are quite honest in their committments. Mid-range functionaries of the regime critizice the support of the Palestinian cause (although they don't really like Israel), arguing that Iran should solve problems at home rather than create or support conflicts abroad...

Another observation is the surprisingly free book market and critical press in Iran itself, both quality and quantity of own production and of translations excel any Arab country. This development seems to me inevitable, even if the regime should be willing to use force against their own people. (But who is the "regime" - Khamenei, Khatami, some other interest groups?)

Although I don't think that some core areas of Iranian foreign policy like the support for Lebanese Hizbu'llah will be given up immediately, Iranian politics under Khatami clearly stepped in a more positive direction. They may continue - insha'allah


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