Saturday, June 20, 2009
Twelve years ago, with the election of Khatami as President of Iran, it became obvious that in large cross sections of the Iranian society the revolutionary zeal has petered out. The clergy was determined to keep the revolution that brought it to power alive and prevent its moderation and for that aim went to great length to limit free elections and democracy. With Ahmedinejad’s first (and only) election there was an attempt to revive its zeal internally and, as is customary with revolutions, project it outwards by linking it with local grievances, in this case, in Lebanon and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The rigging of the elections and the violent clampdown on peaceful protestors that began today, demonstrates that the uneasy combination of an Islamic state and democracy has failed. By choosing revolution over the remaining vestiges of democracy, the clergy ensured that Iran will no longer serve as a model of mass supported Islamic Revolution. While internally the revolution has been saved, its foreign influence is likely to vane. Nor, as we learned, is it possible to make a peaceful transition from an Islamic to a democratic state, as happened in the aftermath of communism. Instead, Iran is coming to resemble the authoritarian regimes of the region.
Posted by Gershon Shafir at 2:39 PM