10 thoughts on “Whither Iran: Dictatorship or Democracy? – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Richard-
    Your question at the top reminds me of a quote I heard that Khomeini (the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran) said: “Anyone who thinks that that the Islamic Revolution was carried out only to make the price of watermelons lower doesn’t understand anything”.

    The New York Times article pointed out something that I had thought of before….that the clash we see between the supporters of Ahmedinejad and his opponents has a major factor of class and culture behind it (i.e. the poor and rural population likes him, the educated urban elites oppose him). This would indicate that the struggle is not one so much for “democracy” but rather over which groups/cliques will control the regime.

  2. Why cant you accept that Ahmadinejad won? Perhaps the elections were honest. Did you personally see fraud? Where was Jimmy Carter-if he were present, he could have monitored it

  3. It is a struggle for democracy, at the very least partially fair elections. This is minimal.

    Iranians had to realize that their votes and the elections, really mean nothing, that they cannot choose their leaders. What they may have thought they had, they don’t have. They are faced with the reality of this election being a sham and having Ahmadinejad shoved down their throats, having to swallow the fact that they live under a dictatorship.

    This is not a time for the US or any outside force to interfere. It’s a pregnant moment.

  4. Just recall that not all mass demonstrations led by students against a dictator are advocating democracy. For example, the demonstrations that led to the downfall of the Shah of Iran.

  5. The definition of democracy is people having power, supreme power is vested in the people and their consent, the supreme authority is the people ( not the ayatollahs)- it’s not what they may or may not advocate which is secondary, it’s that they advocate. This is the drama unfolding- the clash between authoritarianism and democracy, where the people have a say, or at minimum give consent. It’s a very beautiful thing to see happening. We should be with them in spirit and keep out of it.

  6. While I agree that the Iranian government is behaving like a bunch of thugs and I hope this mess ultimately leads to more freedom for Iranians and the downfall of the theocracy, don’t be so sure that the election results were fraudulent. Maybe they were and maybe they weren’t–the experts seem divided on this or just admit that they don’t know. Here’s one piece by pollsters who think the results were consistent with their own findings–


    1. I’ve been reading many sources directly from Iran, many more than I link to or reference here. There is universal conviction among Iranian sources including those quoted from the Interior Ministry itself (which conducted the election) that it was entirely rigged from start to finish. As far as I’m concerned anyone who believes otherwise is either a fabulist, Pangloss or an Iranian henchman.

      1. “entirely rigged from start to finish”

        This may be and probably is but why so transparently so? and not foreseeing the probable reaction!

      2. Well, you might be right–I certainly don’t know. The information changes day by day and I’ve read commenters who seem to know something about the area who urge people to be cautious about what we hear.

        I think, though, that a statement like “As far as I’m concerned anyone who believes otherwise is either a fabulist, Pangloss or an Iranian henchman.” in response to a blog comment is unnecessary. You might consider the possibility that people don’t all read exactly what you’ve read and might disagree in good faith, rather than treating disagreement as evil. For instance, a day or two ago I read a pseudonymous commenter at Obsidian Wings who is a Middle East specialist (though not about Iran) and he said that the two Iranian experts he knew were being extremely cautious about concluding anything just yet. Perhaps they’ve changed their minds by now.

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