November 4, 2009

A REGIME ON THE LAM FROM ITS PEOPLE:

In Iran, From Heroes to State Enemies (MICHAEL SLACKMAN, November 3, 2009, NY Times)

As Iran marks the anniversary of an event that helped define its political identity, many former hostage-takers and their allies are committed to the political opposition, and therefore pose a credible threat to the leadership’s legitimacy, analysts said.

“The fact that so many of the students of ’79 eventually came to a reformist position in Iranian politics is not such a mystery when you remember that the reformist position in Iranian politics is not necessarily a pro-Western position,” said Michael Axworthy, a former British diplomat and Iran expert who lectures at the University of Exeter.

The perception that the hostage siege — once the signature event in the founding of the Islamic republic — has developed into a domestic liability is especially true this year, Iran experts said. Ever since the protests and crackdown after the disputed presidential election last summer, opposition supporters have seized on public anniversaries as a chance to take to the streets, as they are expected to on Wednesday.

Most telling, and perhaps most damning, said the Iran expert Rasool Nafisi, is the reformists’ increasingly popular slogan. It is, simply, “Iranian republic.”

Not “Islamic republic.”


Posted by Orrin Judd at November 4, 2009 6:13 AM
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