13 thoughts on “Rouhani’s Promising First Speech as President-Elect – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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    1. @Thamar Gindin: Yes, of course, Tamar, he’s a man of the system. He’s not a revolutionary. He may not work miracles. But just to be decent & competent and moderate–that could be pretty amazing.

      If you’re looking for a leader to topple the Islamic Republic I think you’re going to be sorely disappointed. That man doesn’t exist. This regime may not survive or may transform into something better & more democratic. But that can only happen once the world stops seeing the current Iranian government as the devil incarnate.

    2. @ Thamar Eilam Gindin:

      “… he said the overwhelming vote is a vote of confidence in the Islamic Republic.”

      And he is right. What’s your point?

        1. Secular as in “let’s forget about our historical sensibilities and responsibilities as a Moslem nation and consume ourselves into delirium”?
          Democratic as in “let the fatcats run as many political parties as they want, as long as they pull the strings and are, in turn, fully dependent on IMF, the World Bank, and other related institutions”?

          For the record: I am a deeply secular person, and I have little sympathy for organized religion given political power. But usual Israeli rants about the lack of democracy in Iran smack too much of self-righteous egocentrism. Those are Iranians who should decide how their country will be governed. And they seem to have more urgent concerns than making Israelis feel better.

  1. This sounds encouraging. I agree with you that this does put the ball in Obama’s court. I strongly suspect that nice words in response to Rouhani will not be sufficient and Obama will have to signal that we are willing to compromise on Iran’s right to enrich uranium for their nuclear reactors. Basically we will have to accept that Iran can continue to enrich to 5% U235. Iran has already agreed to the various safeguards against making weapons grade U235. This will require that the US drop its current demands that are holding up the negotiations.

  2. the new Iranian prsedent is not moderate and wanrs Israel destroyed its just woeds irans nuclear programme will continue don’t be fooled

  3. @pradip
    Well that certainly didn’t take long. I can’t wait to hear what Bibi is going to say about this. He can’t be very happy with this news.

  4. Democracy in Iran requires the removal of the parallel power structure. The new president was elected convincingly, but in a system where he can be over-ruled at any time by the Supreme Leader, for whatever reason seems sufficient to him.

    It’s not just that the Supreme Leader has a right of veto over what the President, Prime Minister and Cabinet might do: he has a complete power structure including both uniformed and plain-clothes militias, revenue streams (A very important factor) a large proportion of the country’s fertile land “held in trust” and what amounts to an over-ride on the judicial process. So Iran does now have a potential democratic government, it’s just that the parallel power structure can do anything it likes without reference to the government, and that includes starting and fighting wars, as Revolutionary Guard troops are now doing in Syria.

    It’s like a cross between the Spanish Inquisition and the CIA as it was in the late sixties before Congressional oversight got a proper grip. But if that power structure was removed, the Iranian government would be quite legitimate, and, importantly, functional.

    Iran is probably the only country in the world where significant regime change needn’t involve any dislocation or disorder, though Turkey was in a similar situation when General Attaturk’s government gradually dismantled the Caliphiate’s powers, partly in order to allow Turkey to function as a modern state and mainly to keep Turkey out of any further wars with her neighbours and major world powers.

    To do this, Attaturk had to be seen to be successful (the Caliphiate had been seen to lose its Empire) and he needed a certain amount of time, too, so the job could be tackled at a pace which wouldn’t trigger any public disquiet.

    If Churchill’s invasion of Gallipoli had been somewhat better planned and executed, Attaturk wouldn’t have been Turkey’s one and only successful general and the country might not have made the transition to modernity.

    It needs to be the Iranian president who succeeds, and the Supreme Leader’s private armies which are seen to fail. So, if things go badly for the IRG and Hezbollah in Syria, it’s in the West’s interests to give the Iranian PRESIDENT some chance at progress at the very moment the Supreme Leader is associated with failure.

    This would require American politicians to behave in a non-primitive way, of course, and that’s going to be a very tall order with the present generation of Senators and Congressmen.

    1. @ Fred Plester: Your analysis and implied critiques are a propos, but for the sake of objectivity, I need to point out that I think it’s disingenuous to begin with the words: “Democracy in Iran requires …”

      Let’s be very clear that there are strong elements of democracy in the Iranian republic, just as there are strong elements in democracy in the United States. Both are severely flawed, when held up to an idealized standard of “pure democracy” which exists precisely nowhere on the planet, never has and perhaps never will.

      The secular Western states, which like to wear democracy as a makeup, are grotesquely corrupt, and never allow the really serious questions of politics, economics and warfare to be determined by anything close to a popular assembly (with a few exceptions that are irrelevant to the point). They have perfected the art of democratic pageantry, but pageantry is not the same as rule of the people. The powerful classes have figured out precisely how many crumbs to throw from their dining table to the people in order to win their grudging acceptance. But if that is democracy, it is also a humiliating farce.

      Nearly 73% of the eligible voters of Iran turned out in the recent Iranian presidential election. In contrast, just over 58% of the eligible voters of the US voted in 2012.

      In Iran, the Guardian Council (half of which, by the way, is elected by the Majlis) decides who gets to run — in this case, eight candidates were upresented. In America, an oligarchal capitalist machine decides who gets to run — in this case, as always, two candidates were presented.

      So please don’t engender the impression that Iran “lacks democracy” while we English-speakers “have democracy”. Even if that was not what you were saying, and if it was not your intent to say so, I want to remind you that it is a dangerous and foolish myth repliicated all too often and carelessly.

      And going even further, on a personal note, I am more interested in how much good or evil a government does, both its people and to the rest of the world, than how “democratic” it is. It is indeed evil to rob the people — openly or more subtly — of the power to govern themselves. But it is also evil to oppress, murder and steal. Which has done more evil in the world — the US government, or the government of Iran? And which can be expected to do more evil in the future?

  5. iran is a wonderful country with wonderful people and in Isfahan[ive been there] one of the most beautiful cities in the world with stunning archecture but like most muslims they hate Israel and want to destroy her.i don’t belive there are any moderate Iranians who do not want Israel destroyed in fact the so called moderates will iuused honeyed words but there aim is Israel distruction which in my mind isn purlyly evil anti semetic and satanic

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