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Monday, June 29, 2009

Hope and Change in Iran

Cliff May at NRO.

A blatantly fraudulent election may have been the spark that ignited Iran’s current rebellion, but don’t be misled: Iran has never had free and fair elections.

I was in Iran 30 years ago for the first elections held under the gaze of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the dour, militant leader of Iran’s Islamist revolution. I was a young and inexperienced foreign correspondent unconvinced by older and more experienced foreign correspondents that Khomeini and his followers intended to transform Iran into a freer and more just society, rather than one that would be brutally oppressive at home and threatening abroad.....

The truth is Khomeini and his followers were never freedom fighters. “Don't listen to those who speak of democracy,” Khomeini said in March 1979. “They all are against Islam. . . . We will break all the poison pens of those who speak of nationalism, democracy, and such things.”

Khomeinists believe in the strictest possible interpretation of the Koranic injunction to “command right and forbid wrong.” It was with that in mind that, in 1979, the drinking of alcohol was forbidden, not just for Muslims, but also for infidels in Iran. I still have the memo issued by the management of the hotel at which I and most other foreign journalists lodged, warning of unpleasant consequences should we ignore the prohibition.

More to the point: If “commanding right and forbidding wrong” is your religious and political obligation, what do you do when Iranians go to the polls and vote wrongly, instead of rightly? Apparently, you hand the election to the “right” candidate, in the current instance to Ahmadinejad, including in his opponent’s home region, and without bothering to count millions of paper ballots....

Over the years that followed, Khomeini’s revolution failed, and not only by liberal democratic standards — more people executed, imprisoned, and driven into exile than under the shah, egregious violations of human rights, sponsorship of terrorism, Holocaust denial, and genocidal threats. It failed also by Khomeini’s standards.

Just as the Russian Revolution and the social engineering of Lenin and Stalin did not create a “New Soviet Man,” so Iran’s Islamic Revolution has not succeeded in creating a new Islamist Man — one who wants nothing more than to obey Iran’s religious ruling class and fight for the imposition of Islamic law around the world.

This is what Iran’s demonstrators are demonstrating. They are waging a revolution for hope that has been denied and change that, it seemed, would never come. President Obama’s moral support should be loud and clear.

8 comments:

hass said...

There's no actual evidence of election fraud in Iran, and every such claim is matched by a reasonable and rational counter-claim.

See IranAffairs.com for the compilation of claims and counter-claims.

THINK: Was Mousavi really such a threat to the regime that they had to resort to massive electoral fraud to keep him from office? NO, sorry.

thisishabitforming said...

Hass
What planet are you from?

Anonymous said...

Fact: the last paragraph, particularly the last sentence, is absolutely on the money. No one in his or her right mind can dispute that.

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You are linked. What is your nationality?

Moneyrunner said...

hass,

An election in which the candidates are pre-screend by a collection of unelected clerics is not a free and fair election in the first place.

Second, it takes more than two hours to count millions of paper ballots and declare a winner.

Try to think before you post a comment. It may help your credibility.

Anonymous said...

Moneyrunner -- when you have 47000 counting stations, it works out to about 800 ballots to be counted per station, which can be counted quite quickly. Had you followed the link to IranAffairs.com, you'd see that.

And every government has a system for vetting candidates. In the US our presidential candidates are pre-screened by corporate donations and gerrymandering election districts. Read Walter Karp's book.

Moneyrunner said...

Dear anon @ 1:47 pm,

Why yes, every country with elections has a process for winnowing down the candidates. However, in the US if you want to get your name on the presidential ballot you don’t need the approval of any church, corporation or even of any political party.

Get back to me when the Baptists start denying people the right to run.