Saturday, January 25, 2014

Foreign Affairs: Kevan Harris: 'How to Reform Iran's Theocracy'

Source:Foreign Affairs- "Hassan Rouhani attends a conference on National Unity in Tehran in 2007"

"When Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivered a speech last month at Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University, the audience was a microcosm of his country’s bitter politics. Gathered at the back of the hall and amassed outside on the campus grounds were groups of young women and men who supported Rouhani's election campaign promises: engagement with Western powers, economic rejuvenation, and greater social and political rights. At the front of the hall, scowling, sat university administrators and conservative student groups. Those seated farther from Rouhani chanted, “Release the political prisoners,” while those closer to him shouted, “Death to America.” It... 

"February 2009 marks the 30th anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini's return to Tehran and the overthrowing of the Shah. Throughout the month, BBC World News will have news and documentary coverage assessing the impact of the revolution on modern day Iran and its relations with the rest of the world.

A Taste Of Iran
In a new four-part series the BBC's Iranian Affairs Analyst Sadeq Saba travels around his home country to get a taste of today's Iran -- its land, its people, and above all, its cuisine.

Fall of a Shah
This two-part series examines the seismic events that led to the fall of a Shah. Presented by World News Today presenter Mishal Husain, this programme uses BBC News and documentary archive to look back on the reign of the Shah and explore how both he and the West underestimated the power of religion in Iran." 

Source:Shahzad Raja- with a BBC documentary about the Shah of Iran.

From Shahzad Raja

Kevan Harris wrote an article for Foreign Affairs (that is linked on this blog) about how to reform the Islamic theocracy in Iran, how reform the Islamic Republic of Iran, as if that's even possible. That's not going to happen as long as the Islamists from the older generations there, who not just remember the Islamist revolution in Iran pre-1979, but what life was like under the Shah of Iran, in the 1970s, 60s, 50s and perhaps even 40s. The current government there is like the Christian-Right's in America, best dream possible, their utopia, where personal freedom is extremely limited, especially for women, but ethnic and religious minorities there as well.

President Hassan Rouhani might be a moderate in Iran. But that's moderate in an Islamist sense, meaning not moderate at all in the outside world. A Communist could be a moderate Communist, but they are still a Communist, which is still pretty extreme to anyone who is to the right of them. And besides, President Rouhani is just the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He's more of a figurehead than anything else. The real power in that country belongs to the Supreme Leader whose in charge of the Islamist regime there and is an in-facto dictator of that country. 

To get real reform in this large country of 75 million people, that's one of the largest police state's in the world, you either have the people there who want it and move to take down and try to replace the current regime there and replace it with some other type of government, or the younger generations there need to become part of the Islamist regime there and work within that system to bring it down. But as long as the older Islamists are in charge of Iran, it will always be an Islamic theocracy.

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