Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Hope For A Moderate Iran

there is an intriguing editorial in the new york times today about political change in iran.

the iron rule of the mullahs may be doomed. i think perhaps that iranians, like the afghans, do not really like theocracy. the afghans celebrated the brief respite they enjoyed from the taliban's rule by whipping out the radios and dancing in the street, both forbidden under taliban rule.

the other point to take away from this editorial underscores the reality that true political change must come from within. university students in iran have been agitating for reform for a long while now. this agitation is less likely to be resented by the ruling class when it comes from their own children. such a call for reform carries more legitimacy than one forced by an invading force, which will always have over its head the suspicion of ulterior motives. if anything, an occupying force that demands less religious extremism will probably only encourage it. most people as individuals do not like having others tell them what to do. an invading force seeking to change a society's political system will inevitably be regarded as a threat to the culture and values of that society.

what i fear now is that the united states will start poking its long nose into the affairs of iran and do damage to this fragile movement for an more open society. at this time, with fundamentalist terrorists such a clear and present danger, we can ill afford to set off a new wave of fundamentalism in iran.

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