October 25, 2004

LOW HANGING FRUIT:

Hope for Democracy in Iran (Emadeddin Baghi, October 25, 2004, Washington Post)

Many people in the West believe that the deadlock in Iran's domestic politics blocks any hope for societal reform. But from my viewpoint here in Iran, there is hope. Let me tell you why.

Society itself, not the government, creates change. And there are deep transformations occurring in Iran. Out of sight of much of the world, Iran is inching its way toward democracy.

The length of higher education in the country has been extended, absorbing the flow of job-seeking youths. This has hastened the transformation of thought and expectation in every corner of the country.

In military colleges, talk of human rights was, until very recently, totally unacceptable. Now courses on human rights have become part of the curriculum.

A 20 percent increase in the divorce rate is regrettable and worrisome, but it is also a sign that traditional marriage is changing as women gain equality. Other figures confirm this. Approximately 60 percent of university students are women, 12 percent of publishing house directors are women and 22 percent of the members of the Professional Association of Journalists are women.

In recent years some 8,000 nongovernmental organizations have been established throughout the country.


it would be helpful, post-election, for the President to start love-bombing the Iranian people--give a big speech noting that both sides have made mistakes, our coup, their hostage-taking, etc., but linking us to the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people as Reagan linked America to those of Eastern Europeans. Go over the mullahs heads.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 25, 2004 11:52 PM
Comments

If the figures in Emadeddin Baghi's article are correct, combined with what I've read about Iran's business community, it would seem that Iran already has a modern society, and that the Iranian people are just waiting for modern politics to arrive.

They could use some modern building codes and methods, however, given their earthquake-prone region.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 26, 2004 3:57 AM

Our coup was not a mistake. But if you feel it's important to pretend otherwise about it, then OK.

Posted by: h-man at October 26, 2004 6:45 AM

Delayed the inevitable for a wasted 30 years.

Posted by: oj at October 26, 2004 7:23 AM

In thirty years we might be expected to apologize for the Iraqi "coup" of 2003. Dr. Mossadeq chose to side with the communists and proceeded to steal British property. Iranians should apologize for that impertinence, but like I said, I'm a nice guy so if it will diffuse the tensions I'm willing to support an apology.

Posted by: h-man at October 26, 2004 8:36 AM

British property? It was Persia's oil. If the Brits couldn't defend it there was no reason for us to do so for them.

Posted by: oj at October 26, 2004 8:42 AM

"If the Brits couldn't defend it there was no reason for us to do so for them"

Tony Blair could have said 50 years later "if the yanks can't defend their office buildings, there's on reason for us to help them do so."

Oil in the ground, undiscovered, is worth less than oil discovered and being pumped out. The difference is what was stolen.

Posted by: h-man at October 26, 2004 10:07 AM

h:

Yes, President Bush told Tony Blair not to send troops if it would hurt him at home.

Posted by: oj at October 26, 2004 11:57 AM

Color me skeptical: The Iranians claim to be Persians and not Arabs, but they seem to share the Arab perchant of talking big, swaggering big, but having submillimeter balls when it comes to actually taking back their freedoms and autonomy. Liberating Iraq was the right thing to do, but we certainly should have been more skeptical when we were told we would be welcomed with open arms. Made us too complacent and underestimated the post-war job.

Posted by: Ptah at October 26, 2004 2:49 PM

Ptah:

Tell it to the Shah.

Posted by: oj at October 26, 2004 3:51 PM
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