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Statement by Five Religious Intellectuals

by MUHAMMAD SAHIMI in Los Angeles

04 Jan 2010 08:2432 Comments

The hardliners' plan to exploit the events of Ashura to arrest the leaders of the Green Movement -- Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Mohammad Khatami -- appear to have been defeated, at least for now.

After counter-demonstrations by the supporters of the hardliners on Wednesday, December 30, the nation was in a state of suspense. People were worried about what was coming next. But Mir Hossein Mousavi issued his Statement No. 17 on Friday, January 1, in which he said he was ready to die for the cause of the Green Movement and listed a minimum number of demands that must be met in order to move the country to a calmer state. The Statement has already caused considerable squabbling among the hardliners, and deepened fissures in their camp. As the outspoken reformist journalist Abbas Abdi said, "Mousavi has thrown the ball into the hardliners' court."

On Sunday, January 3, five important religious intellectuals issued a joint statement in which they declared their full support for the leaders of the Green Movement in Iran, and listed ten demands that they believe must be met in order to get the country out of deep crisis. The ten demands include the five that Mousavi had already listed and are, in fact, practically identical with what he had listed in his Statement No. 13.

The five signatories are Dr. Abdulkarim Soroush, the distinguished Islamic scholar; Dr. Mohsen Kadivar, a student of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, a progressive cleric, and an outspoken critic of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (for which he was jailed a few years ago); Akbar Ganji, the investigative journalist who was imprisoned for six years, Ataollah Mohajerani, former Majles [parliament] deputy and Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance in the first Khatami administration (a short period Iran enjoyed a relatively free press), and Abdol-ali Bazargan, son of former Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan, a well-known Islamic thinker.

The statement begins by declaring that,

Six months ago millions of Iranians demonstrated [peacefully] in the streets, in order to regain their rights that, through the treacherous elections, had been taken away from them, and to protest against all the insults and belittling by the government. The security and military establishment responded to the peaceful demands of the people violently and ruthlessly, and tried to prevent people from being present in the public domain and debate, and attempted to link the Green Movement with foreign powers and aligned with their policies.

The hardliners thought that they could, by a bloody crackdown on the legal uprising, put an end to the people's protests, as they had done in the past. But, despite all of their efforts, the flames of awareness burned higher and the sounds [crying for] reforms [grew] louder; the Movement became stronger by the day.

Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, who over the past five decades and particularly the last six months, had defended the fundamental rights of the citizens of the nation, and left the people under the most critical condition, shined as the spiritual leader of the Movement. His death gave new life to the Movement and revealed all the injustice that had been done to him, which angered the nation even more as the month of Muharram was coming, a month that is for demanding [people's] fundamental rights and rising up against dictatorship and oppression. People's protests, following the long historical tradition in Shiism culture, were at their height on Ashura, and the informed nation [of Iran] that has learned from the life of Hossein [the 3rd Shiite Imam and a most revered figure in Iran, who was killed in October 680 in his war against the dictator of the time] targeted the oppressor of our era [meaning the hardliners and Ayatollah Khamenei]...

The statement continued,

It is clear that the extremists in the ruling elite resort to violence because they know that they lack a broad social base of support and a secure future. They want to accelerate the occurrence of the "final confrontation" and "the day of reckoning [the day that they finally put down the uprising]," in order to force the ambivalent forces within the political establishment to accept the fait accompli, and reduce the great forces of democracy to violent rioters.

But, what this regime has done has angered and hurt deeply across a wide social strata, from young people, women, and religious and ethnic groups, to intellectuals, clerics, academics, workers, and political activists. The talk of "the enemy's conspiracy" by the unjust Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Khamenei] over the past 20 years and its [mis]use for inventing [imaginary] enemies and creating fissures among the people (such as [saying]: the press is the enemy's base; the intellectuals work for the enemy; the Green Movement is a colored conspiracy of the enemy for overthrowing [the regime]) have transformed [in the Leader's view] a great part of the nation to the enemy's front which must be oppressed by the organs of oppression.

This is a reference to what Ayatollah Khamenei has been preaching since he was appointed the Supreme Leader in 1989. Anyone or any group that has criticized him and his policies has been accused by him of being linked to an imaginary enemy that he has never described or identified. The statement then continued,

We believe, as a small part of the nationwide Green Movement, that at this point in time, the demands of the Movement can be summarized as follows, which can be used as the basis for the future mobilization of the movement and its relation with the ruling group. A part of these demands has already been mentioned by Mr. Mir Hossein Mousavi in his Statement No. 17 that, in view of the difficult political condition of the country, represents the minimum demands. We fully support the positions of the leaders of the Movement in Iran (Mousavi, Karroubi, and Khatami), and believe that the optimal demands of the Green Movement of the Iranian people at this point are as follows.

1. Resignation of Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [as the president] and holding a new presidential election under the supervision of neutral organs; abolish the vetting process of candidates [by the Guardian Council] and formation of an independent election commission that includes the representatives of the opposition and protestors, in order to draft the rules and regulations for holding free and fair elections.

2. Releasing all the political prisoners, and investigating the torture and murder of the protestors over the past several months in open courts in the presence of a jury and the attorneys of their [the victims'] own choice, and compensating those who have been hurt and their families.

3. Free means of mass communication, including the press, the internet, voice [radio] and visage [television]; abolishing censorship and allowing banned publications [such as dailies] to resume; expanding non-governmental TV and satellite channels; ending the filtering of the internet and making it easily accessible to the public, and purging liars and provocateurs from [national] radio and television.

4. Recognizing the rights of all the lawful political groups, university student and women movements, the NGOs and civil organizations, and labor unions for lawful activities and the right to peaceful protest according to Article 27 of the Constitution.

5. Independence of the universities [from political meddling and intervention]; running the universities democratically by the academics themselves; evacuating the military and quasi-military forces from the universities, and abolishing the illegal Supreme Council for Cultural Revolution [that interferes in the affairs of the universities].

6. Putting on trial all those that have tortured and murdered [people], and those who ordered the past crimes, particularly those over the past several months.

7. Independence of the judiciary by electing [rather than appointing] its head; abolishing illegal and special courts [such as the Special Court for the Clergy]; purging the judiciary from unfair judges, and banning judiciary officials from giving political speeches and carrying out orders of higher officials [the president and the Supreme Leader], instead of implementing the laws fairly and neutrally.

8. Banning the military, police, and security forces from intervening in politics, the economy, and culture, and ordering them to act professionally.

9. Economic and political independence of the seminaries, and preventing politicizing the clerics to support the government, and banning the use of Friday prayers sermons for issuing [by the clerics] illegal and anti-religions orders.

10. Electing all the officials who must become responsive to criticisms, and limiting the number of terms that they can be elected.


The statement ends by declaring that,

Not meeting these [legitimate] demands of the Green Movement and increasing the [violent] crackdown and oppression will not only not help us to pass the [present] crisis, but will also deepen the crisis with painful consequences, for which only the Supreme Leader will be responsible.

Copyright © 2009 Tehran Bureau

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32 Comments

This and Musawi's statement are a positive move in seeking to move towards a proper dialogue rather than a dialogue of the deaf conducted through the pulpit. I pray that moderate forces in both camps will seize this as an opportunity to effect a national reconciliation & reconcile the seperated partners as otherwise the divorce is going to be even messier for Iran with an unknown outcome.Fortune favours the brave, we should keep faith that good will prevail after all i.e. the heart of Shi'ite teachings.

rezvan / January 4, 2010 2:03 PM

So one day after posting an article arguing that Mousavi is the leader of the Green Movement, this article comes to light. It looks like the leadership structure is becoming more apparent.

While this is interesting, it is also highly disappointing that once again these types of people are getting involved in politics. "Islamic thinkers" (what is this anyway?) should keep to their speciality - religion. Hey, I am an expert on Harry Potter books and could write a thesis on the holy game of Quidditch. Does that make me a qualified politician? Of course not.

A quick footnote: Prof. Sahimi, you have consistently defended the involvement of Islam in Iran by using the logic that it has been a part of our identity for 1,400 years. While I don't support an absolute monarchy, it should be noted that monarchy has been a part of our identity for over 2,500 years!!! So why are you rejecting the opinions of monarchists and embracing the opinions of "Islamic thinkers"!?

Pak / January 4, 2010 2:19 PM

This statement is absolutely brilliant, even if it puts against a wall most of the establishment, making it unacceptable.

But in ten points it summarizes all the requirements needed to allow the transition to a democratic system.

Italian / January 4, 2010 2:42 PM

Furthermore, you justify the overthrow of the Shah because he was a failure. Based on this same assumption, you reject the return of any sort of monarchy and consider monarchists to be from a extinct political wing. Well then, using exactly the same logic as you, the Islamic Republic should be overthrown and buried deep in the ground. The involvement of any regime insider, even if they have reformed, should also be absolutely rejected. Therefore, why should anybody listen to Mousavi et al or Soroush et al?

Prof. Sahimi, I am not trying to be confrontational like some others and highly value your opinion. Regards.

Pak / January 4, 2010 6:09 PM

Very interesting. With respect, and given the reputation of the presumed authors, it'd would boost our confidence in the authenticity of this document if we might also have a link to the original letter in full, in english, or persian. If one is not available, an explanation to that effect would also be helpful.

picard / January 4, 2010 7:09 PM

Pak:

I do not know what you mean by me "consistently defending the involvement of Islam in Iran."

I am a practicing Muslim and a secular. I believe in and support a secular democratic republic in which religion plays no role, and the clerics have no special privilege. I have said this throughout the years. It cannot get any clearer than this! Religion is a private matter.

The only things that I have opposed are that, (1) the historical fabrication that Iran before Islam was a true heaven on earth and Islam destroyed it, and (2) Islam is a "foreign" religion. Islam is as foreign to Iran as is Christianity to central and south America and part of Africa, where Christians used force and brutality to convert the indigeneous people.

Monarchy is a political system. Islam is a religion and a private matter between a person and his/her God. Islam is a matter of faith; one either believes in it or not. A political system, on the other hand, is subject to evolution (just as Shiite Islam is, which is why I believe in it). Just because Iran was a glorious monarchy 2500 years ago - which could have been great for its own era - does not mean that we should have it now. A democratic republic is the most advanced, and the only, form of democracy.

Muhammad Sahimi / January 4, 2010 7:14 PM

These people DO NOT represent the Iranian people in any shape or form. The Iranian people have been oppressed, murdered, imprisoned, tortured and raped by the Islamic Regime for 31 years.

IRANIANS DO NOT WANT ANY FORM OF ISLAM IN THE POLITICAL STRUCTURE OF THE FUTURE GOVERNMENT OF IRAN.


PEOPLE OF THE WORLD, YOU ARE WITNESSING ANOTHER CONSPIRACY TO SAVE THE BARBARIC REPUBLIC.

Iranians, accept this pack of lies and you will remain oppressed for generations to come.

Iranians need to establish a secular democracy in a government of the people, by the people for the people.

The civilized world learned a long time ago for democracy to flourish in any society, religion and state must be separated. They fooled you in 1979. For the love of your country do not be fooled again. You have experienced these barbarians for the last 31 years. They belong in the garbage of history. THAT IS WITHIN YOUR REACH. DO NOT TURN YOUR BACK ON YOUR COUNTRY, HISTORY AND CULTURE.

------------------------------------
God bless America, my home. God bless Persia, the country these barbarians have temporarily taken away from me.

Sohrab / January 4, 2010 7:16 PM

in this photo is the cleric in front wearing a green banner in support of green movement or in support of ashura (hosseyn) ?

Heydar / January 4, 2010 9:41 PM

Pak- Interestingly and ironically, there has been a conjoining of both the 2,500 yr old monarchic tradition and the 1,400 yr old Islamic tradition of ulul amr in the institution of velayat-e-faqih as currently interpreted! Surely the current bearer of the val-e-faqih position, Ayatollah Khamanei, is accused of acting like an absolute monarch and despot riding roughshod over the popular will. The only difference as reported is that he is not known to throw grand banquets to which only the rich and powerful are invited. His proclivities, as reported, include a love for caviar and vulgar jokes told by a fellow mullah! I have not come across of any allegations that he is personally corrupt and certainly his known lifestyle and demeanour seems relatively unostentatious compared to the other leaders in the region. And as far as his predecessor, Ayatollah Khomayni is concerned, there has never been any doubt that he lived a very simple life akin to the lives of many ordinary Iranians and spoke a language that struck a chord with the man in the street.
Besides both were indirectly elected through the Assembly of Experts elected by the people. So the question is not the absence of democracy in IRI but its effectiveness in being the genuine expression of most of the people whilst ensuring respect for the constitution and human rights for the dissenting minority and arbitrary applications of the law that bring the whole system into disrepute.

rezvan / January 4, 2010 10:06 PM

Pak,

While monarchy has existed in Iran for a longer period of time, it has not been adhered to by a great majority of Iranians as Islam is. I am not a religious person myself and in fact agree that religion has done much harm throughout human history, but we cannot justify the reinstatement of monarchy on such flimsy logic.

Corruption and graft have also been endemic in Iranian culture for thousands of years. Does that mean it should be institutionalized? All of us, no matter how secular we are, have to face the fact that Iran AS A WHOLE is Shia Muslim country. Even the Shah was a Muslim, as was his whole family, as are ALMOST ALL monarchists; the shah's only beef with the religious establishment was over their perceived threat politically, plain and simple.

The only way forward for Iran is a truly representative government. And the only way to have a truly democratic government is to take into account every Iranian, ESPECIALLY those who make up the majority! I am not advocating a theocracy or tacitly supporting the Islamic Republic, so don't even go there as a predictable last resort. I'm simply pointing out that your flawed logic is hardly a compelling argument in favor of reinstating your preferred form of dictatorship in Iran.

Iran has been struggling for a century now towards a representative democracy. This is the basis of the Green Movement as a whole. Actually read the demands made by Mousavi as well as the ones in this article if you're unsure (although I doubt this will mean anything to monarchists since you have an agenda, and logic/facts are irrelevant). We don't want "some sort of secular democratic government" as Reza Pahlavi and his minions on these message boards say (translates: secular monarchy with rubber stamp parliament, just like his father AND just like the IRI minus the secular part). We want an actual representative DEMOCRACY with free & fair elections, a real parliament, impartial/independent judiciary, open economy etc etc etc etc. No one is asking for a king. Grow up.

Mirza Kuchak / January 4, 2010 10:14 PM

It is time for the Supreme Leader to face up to the consequences of his own decisions. There is no foreign power, no conspiracy. He alone is responsable. He does not represent the majority of the people and equally importantly, he has lost what the Chinese called' the mandate of heaven'.

pirooz / January 4, 2010 10:19 PM

For people who crticize this statement, where is "religion" in this statement? This statement could have been issued by totally secular individuals. It is brilliant and clearly encapsulates the legitimate democratic rights and demands of Iranian people.

UniversityStudentIn1980s / January 4, 2010 11:00 PM


These demands are certainly reasonable, and as mentioned, a smart defensive move since it puts the ball in Khamanei's court.

Any single of these demands on its own would greatly reduce the power of Khamanei and IR. Add all 10 and it is basically regime change. I dont see how Khamanei would ever agree to any of these. This is a political move. A smart one.

Ahvaz / January 4, 2010 11:40 PM

God (Allah) help them win free of God's (Allah's) priests.

The greatest enemy to any spiritual belief are those that claim to speak the mind of God without following the heart of God.

Go Green.

Irish / January 4, 2010 11:52 PM

"IRANIANS DO NOT WANT ANY FORM OF ISLAM IN THE POLITICAL STRUCTURE OF THE FUTURE GOVERNMENT OF IRAN"

Let me rephrase that:
IRANIANS DO NOT WANT ANY FORM OF ISLAM. ISLAM IS AN ARABIC RELIGION FORCED ON IRANIANS.

gooya / January 5, 2010 5:11 AM

I believe as five religious scholars living outside Iran, they should have also added to their statement that the government must stop committing crimes in the name of Islam. They also should have asked for abolishing the role of Vali Faqih.

Parastoo / January 5, 2010 5:41 AM

dear dr.sahimi;we must hold our breath for a second,we cannot at this junctue,take the islam out of the equation. this religion has been embeded for ceturies in our culture and tradition.things has to evolve step by step.these group of intellectuals are by far different that the hardliners,many are well educated and has spouses that are also quite educated.the jeffersonian democracy will come maybe later.this is the first step.we have to set goals that can be achieved.you cannot tell a nation that has been govern under islamic rules,to abandon them all overnight.it will not work.

fay moghtader / January 5, 2010 7:32 AM

Mr. Sahimi,

You claim,
"Just because Iran was a glorious monarchy 2500 years ago - which could have been great for its own era - does not mean that we should have it now. A democratic republic is the most advanced, and the only, form of democracy."
Why not? Who says Iranians can not have a democratic monarchy? If Iranians are mature enough for democracy, it can be in a form of Monarchy or Republic. Who says that a Republic is the most advanced...? Why? Because they change a character(s)once every so many years? They do the same in a parliamentary monarchy. They are just as much elected representatives of the people as anyone else.
No one is advocating return to the past but going forward with a practical solution that is very much representative of our history and culture.This method is practiced by many and very democratic countries in the world. Can we once look to the future? For the love of our country stop painting a bunch of mullahs and mullah lovers Green and try selling them to Iranians as a democratic alternative. There is nothing democratic in mullahcracy of any form. To think these people would step aside after reading a few requests on a piece of paper is insane. This regime must be uprooted and replaced by a secular democratic alternative. Iranians can make a decision on the form of government they most desire in a national referendum and work hand in hand to construct a DEMOCRATIC foundation for a Republic or a Parliamentary Monarchy. Can we stop labeling each other? You for one should show some political maturity and set examples for the younger generation.
Can we be open minded and accomodating for the sake of our country?

Niloofar / January 5, 2010 2:14 PM

Dear Prof. Sahimi,

I agree with everything you have said, except the point that monarchy is a political system and Islam is a matter of faith. This is wrong; it is absolutely clear that Islam is also a political system, hence the existence of Islamc law. But this is a discussion that goes beyond the point of your article. I only want to point this out to defend my skepticism when it comes to "Islamic thinkers" who think they have a right to be involved in the politics of Iran. They do not. Their 30 year modern track record is enough evidence for me.

Dear Mirza,

I have never advocated a monarchy. From the onset I have supported a secular republic so I don't know why you are throwing accusations at me. However, I am also a proud Iranian who acknowledges our glorious history, including the golden years after the Islamic conquest. That is why I am sympathetic (and only sympathetic) towards those who want to see a referendum on a constitutional monarchy. You may claim it will never work, but I like to use the success stories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Sweden to defend this notion. And it's about time for people to realise that wanting a constitutional monarchy is not the same as defending the previous Shah.

Pak / January 5, 2010 4:45 PM

The regime must be replaced by Iranian people without any religion attachment.

Akbar molavi / January 5, 2010 5:27 PM

@Pak
I agree with you 100%.

Every Iranian must read this: 23 years (bist o seh sal) by ALi Dashti.


Here is the full PDF link:

English http://ali-dashti-23-years.tripod.com/

Farsi http://ali-dashti-23-years.tripod.com/23-y-p.htm

Ali Dashti's bio on Wikipedia and more links http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ali_Dashti

Ali Dashti started out as a Muslim Scholar with extensive analytical study of the Quran. He initialy published this book without the name of the author for fear of his life. It wasn't till after his death when we learned the identity of the author.

-you will see why Khamanai and Khomeini have basically followed Muhammad's example. Khomeini especially followed Muhammad's actions perfectly in his rise to power.

-you will see how yazid also was able to justify cutting off the water on Hussain.

-You will see how Islamist feel justified doing political assasination

- you will see why, unlike christianity, Judism and other religions, Islam can not stay out of politics and power.

Please read this book with an open mind. It will absolutely blow you away.

Ahvaz / January 5, 2010 8:16 PM

Prof Sahimi,

You never stop do you? And you never learn. Stop regurgitating these damned names over and over again. We don't want Ganji. We can't stand Kadivar. Don't you get it? Your glorious "Islamic revolution" is over! Stop worshipping at the altar of these weak-willed hypocrites Mousavi/Karroubi/Khatami. They are not leaders, they are followers. Don't play into Rafsanjani's hands (again). These filthy b*st*rds all need to go - all of them.

If you want to find a new leader for Iran, try finding a WOMAN who doesn't wear a damned HEJAB. Now there's change we can believe in.

Your articles are informative but ultimately your achilles heel is that you want "more of the same", Khomeini-lite, and you just don't want to give up your misguided (and obviously disastrous) dream of an Islamic Revolution. These morons are not democrats. They must all go.

np / January 5, 2010 9:08 PM

And for the umpteenth time, Prof Sahimi, stop discrediting yourself by making statements implying that a constitutional monarchy can not be democratic. This is a silly statement. Get over your Shah fascination - that guy is gone, as is his political party and his monarchic system. Reza Pahlavi is a different person, and constitutional monarchy a different system. Why do you complicate this matter so much? It's not that hard: 1) one person, one vote; 2) constitutional separation of church and state; and 3) a law-making parliament/congress. If the country decides it wants a symbolic King who has no legislative/judicial/executive power, why do you care so much? What gives the Islamists that you quote and support in each article any legitimacy to say otherwise?

np / January 5, 2010 9:49 PM

This sounds like a secular statement, with very smart demands, and I think the clerics who are behind it understand that the people wish for secularism. Of course, we should keep a close eye on them, scrutinize them (zero taarof/ro-darvaasi!) and hold them accountable. One thing that was lacking in 1979 was accountability on the leaders of the revolution.

Irish: mullahs are not "God's priests", so please don't call them that... many of them proclaim themselves as middlemen between other human beings and their IMAGE of the Creator. I think this gives them an ego boost, which is quite ironic, since spirituality is supposed to smooth and transform the human ego. The mullahs are human beings, with their own flaws (possibly greater arrogance than average). And just like no human being can be a middleman between the mullahs and God, so can the mullahs not be middlemen between their fellow human beings and God.

They've created and (ab)used a lie to further their own egoistic interests and goals. The whole mullacracy is a lie, just as the priesthood's strangehold on European life was once a lie... which was eventually dismantled (and kept in check).

It is time for the mullahood in Iran to step down, as the Iranian people see through their games and the farce they have setup for our nation. The Iranian people can only prosper if they stand on their own individual feet, not in need of constant reference to "marja", but instead, in reference to wisdom that is not pretentious.

We do need our philosophers, we do need our spiritual guides... but not in this patronizing, condescending and arrogant manner as the mullahood has brought to Iran.

The idea of middlemen between man and the divine, or people who are "routes" to God is blasphemy in the true sense of the word: it is a LIE. The divinity is within each person, waiting to be accesses through self-responsibility and self-purification. Each of those Basijis who think they need a "supreme leader" has a dormant direct connection to God, which will continue to be dormant as long as they erroneously believe their "supreme leader" is their salvation.

This lie has been used to disempower the masses, for the gain of a few. Once the masses wake up, the game will be over. That is why the "Islamic Republic" is so hell-bent on censorship and suppression of speech.

It is very scary for some, and liberating for others, to realize that our connection with God cannot go through anyone except through ourselves.

Mullahs/priests have no place inside government. The people should have space and freedom to choose their own thoughts and direction in life.

Government is simply a means of administration, the rest is in the hands of the people. Government should merely provide a court system that upholds equality and freedom, provides for national defence, economic welfare, represent the people in foreign affairs, and takes care of infrastructure projects.

Religion is a private matter!

This is what the mullahs and their blind followers don't seem to understand... and what the Iranian people as a whole are realizing (especially after the naivete of 1979). Our nation has learned the hard way, but in a way that will be very hard to forget.

Also, Iranians (especially the younger generation) do wish to reclaim their ancestral heritage, which is far more than just the period after the Arab invasion. Look at the IR: it is made up of people who seem to have scorn for our ancient heritage. It seems that they wish the youth to forget anything except for the Islamic strands in our heritage. They have blinders on about our various ancestors, which to large degree are not Islamic/Arabic. Iranians took the Islamic heritage and transformed it into something new... we were never Arabized, and there is so much in our heritage that is valuable that has nothing to do with Arabs or Islam. The old generation will fail if it overlooks this, because the new generation is concerned with this issue (even Mousavi, in his campaign speeches, talked about returning to our national "baastaan" heritage). Iranians need to realize that our nation is a fusion of various influences from various cultures, from East, West, and North, that have combined with our ancestral culture to create something completely unique in the world today. The IR has spitted on everything except a myopic aspect of our heritage (and have perverted it into a monster at that!). The youth of Iran will have none of that nonsense. Our goal should be an Iran where its pluralism is respected, allowed, and celebrated.

Let's look at the story from a more objective perspective - especially you, fo the older generation.

However, this statement that Dr. Sahimi has published, seems to come from the right intention. Looking between the lines, one sees that it's a roadmap for the dismantling of theocratic tyranny. There ARE intelligent and sane mullahs... there ARE wise mullahs who understand the situation, and care about Iran. There ARE mullahs who deserve our respect and kindness. Could it be that there are mullahs who are as passionate about the dismantling of the mullacracy, as are the youth of the Green Movemement? Yes, I think so.

The Green Movement is a pluralistic movement at core, with the goal of freedom of speech and respect for the diversity in our society. All free countries, whether in the West or countries such as India, strive for respect for diversity, because their very survival as free nations depends on respect for pluralism. THE ENDS DO NOT JUSTIFY THE MEANS, so if the movement itself embraces various viewpoints and ideas (including monarchists and progressive mullahs), then we will much more sanely and authentically reach our dream of an honest, free, happy, proud and prosperous Iran.

Blessings to all.

- Saeed

Saeed / January 5, 2010 11:59 PM

Young Iranians turning away from Islam? Did we not just witness the Tasua and Ashura commemorations attended by millions of young people all over the country. Even in that citadel of 'secularised' & 'westernised' Iran, young people were holding an Ashura party and guess what instead of listening to the usual junk pop mostly made in the US or the dens of sins in North Tehran, they were listening to someone singing of the tragic suffering and sacrifice of Imam Hussayn, the grandson of the noble of Prophet of Islam(pbwt). The heart of the bulk of the youth beats with Islam, the only question is which Islam? The Islam of the Yazid of our time or that of Hussayn. I am certain most can work it hence the popular chord struck by the Green movements religious intellectuals & leaders. If the monarchists want a king then they have already got one in Khamanei, just needs a change of title from Rahbar to Shah Khamanei. After all the English killed their own monarch and then imported one from Germany. Iranian monarchists can save themselves and everyone else a lot of grief by simply accepting Shah Khamanei & then they can get rid of him as they did with the previous Shah!

rezvan / January 6, 2010 2:26 AM

Saeed,
I truly enjoyed reading your posting.Although I believe mullahs at the end can not deliver by nature. God bless you.

Parang / January 6, 2010 4:04 AM

np:

Thank you for your concerns regarding my credibility. I appreciate it.

If you have anything against the five, tell them, not me. I only reported about what they said. And, like it or not, they are well-known, and respected in many circles.

Sohrab:

Who says the five men represent Iran? I did not, neither did they themselves. In fact, read it carefully: They say, "as a small part of the democratic movement." So, don't get agitated. Close your eyes, forget who made the 10 demands, and just think about the demands themselves.

Saeed:

Thank you for your good comments.

Muhammad Sahimi / January 6, 2010 6:41 AM

"I only reported about what they said. And, like it or not, they are well-known, and respected in many circles."

- Many other well-known and respected scholars have released statements regarding the current situation. Your decision to report this one ahead of the others exposes your political leanings. This isn't a bad thing, but don't play the ignorant card.

"Close your eyes, forget who made the 10 demands, and just think about the demands themselves."

- This is possibly the worst advice I have ever heard, especially coming from an academic!

Sorry Prof. Sahimi, while your articles are of the highest value, for which I am thankful for, your comments are not.

Pak / January 6, 2010 1:08 PM

Dear Mr. Sahimi, I plaude the elegance of your replies, in spite of the childish comments of some individuals.

I am myself an atheist, but extremely disturbed by the zealotry of these sectarians who try hard to extremise the strife at any cost.
They ride the green movement for their own political agenda, but no one of them is actually involved and they even rap of any important ally inside the movement and regime. I don't think this is the most wise way to sell your good-faith, but the easiest for the civil war.

I don't see instead neither the Jebhe Melli nor the Fadaian Khalgh nor the Tudeh trying to make opportunistically proselytes by rising their voice and lies now abroad, and not moving a finger in Iran.

Italian / January 6, 2010 7:03 PM

"And it's about time for people to realise that wanting a constitutional monarchy is not the same as defending the previous Shah."

Very well & agreed Pak,
but who's going to be the king?

Reza pahlavi? about 5,000 self-proclaiming prince and princesses, heirs of the Ghajars? The Zands? Afshars? Safavis? King Ahvazi? King Mamdali sabzee foroosh? King Morteza gachkaar? King Mojtaba Khameneie?

Why don't we just elect a president to be in office for a 5 or 6 year period and if that person does well, re-elect him or her? And if some want to call that person king or queen, that's fine.

People want to go forward, not backward. In my opinion the majority of people who live outside of Iran don't have the slightest clue as to what the majority of Iranians who live inside think. They are the ones whose opinion matters & will decide. Let's face it, at least 90% of Iranians who live in other countries will never move back & live in Iran, they might visit as tourists and that's about it.

Monarchy as a system has flaws in the long run and Iranians know ALL about it. As for the royal families such as England's, they are extremely rich leaches for their country and nothing more. And, they don't have ANY say in government.

Iran is not Iran of 30 or 50 or 200 years ago.

Bahmani 1 / January 6, 2010 7:36 PM

Pak:

I agree that others have also released statements. But, none has the recognition that these five have IN IRAN. This is not playing the ignorant card, but stating what amounts, to my opinion, a fact.

The point about "closing your eyes" was, we should judge people first and foremost based on what they say and why they say it, and then take a look at their past recent history, say for a decade, to see whether they practice what they preach.

Muhammad Sahimi / January 6, 2010 8:05 PM

Lets not hate on Clerics they know better then anyone it's their ass and a Marja gets 1/5 of their followers income to support charitable causes or bonyads if they don't follow the people the money stops. I think it a great statement reminds me of some guys in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Nate Riley / January 10, 2010 1:25 AM