Iran: Hope for Moderation and Rationality !
Ali Asghar Kazemi
23 June 2013
New presidential elections in Iran and the victory of a soft, talented and self-claimed moderate clergy, backed by majority of frustrated and progressive minded people has created some hope for change in Iran engulfed in economic crisis and political decadence. Though it is too early to pass judgment on the competence and ability of the new elected president for making substantive changes in Iran, one must be cautious about his capacity to tackle with tremendous barriers on his way. Since, claiming moderation, rationality, confidence building and good management are not enough to alter the course of a thorn-down society. During the past eight years, Iranians of all walks of life have seriously suffered due to actions and reactions of an eccentric man who was neither fit for the office of the president nor even capable to run the business of a grocery store.
We should remember that the emergence of an odd personality such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran’s political landscape paved the way for rising demand for truthfulness, honesty and accountability. As I stated elsewhere, Ahmadinejad was the product of a period of eight years of controversies between two conflicting views: that expressed by a moderate soft-spoken clergy, Mr. Khatami, who was considered as “reformist” by Western political standards; and the opposite represented by the conservative religious-revolutionary groups, who pretended to be the legitimate guardian of the Islamic regime.
As we may recall, Ahmadinejad came into power after a period of crises-ridden challenge for moderation and proliferation of civil liberty in which people tasted for a short while the flavor of freedom and began a gradual march towards a modern civil society in Iran. This however, did not please the conservative traditional layers of the country and the religious system, feeling much vulnerable, was alarmed to the point that the previous open-minded president, Khatami, was coined as the “Gorbachev of Iran” jeopardizing the very survival of the regime.
During his two terms in office, president Khatami failed to accomplish his promised goals due to obstacles on his way created by his opponents in the legislative body and judiciary. Feeling deceived, young and enthusiastic people who had voted for Khatami turned back to him and thus reformist movement and supporters gradually disintegrated and vanished from political scene, leaving the ground to hard-line conservatives with new attractive promises.
Now, once again a self-claimed moderate and rational man appeared on the horizon of Iran’s political scene with a host of promises, while the structure of the system has remained rigidly intact. Thus, chances for president -elect Rouhani to succeed in his promises and respond to the rising expectations of people are subject to serious doubts.
We should wait and see how things will develop in the weeks and months to come!* Ali Asghar Kazemi is professor of Law and -International Relations in Tehran-Iran. Students, researchers, academic institutions, media or any party interested in using all or parts of this article are welcomed to do so with the condition of giving full attribution to the author and the Middle East Academic Forum. ©All Copy Rights Reserved.