Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Iranian spring 

Revolutions do devour their children:
The pictures on the office wall were all of autumn landscapes, the dry leaves matched by the thin, reedy tones of the ageing former revolutionary behind the desk.

"I'm not in a position to advise the youth on reform," he said yesterday when asked what wisdom he had for Iran's young electorate before presidential elections next Friday. "They should go and find out for themselves."

Few would recognise Abbas Abdi, 49, as the leader of the students who stormed the American Embassy in Tehran in October 1979. High on the hope of a new Iran after the Shah's deposition, the students from the capital's Amir Kabir university caused an international crisis by holding US staff at the embassy hostage for 444 days.

But most revolutions destroy their own vanguard, and Iran's was little different. Mr Abdi was released from jail a month ago. It was his second term in the capital's Evin prison, where he served 2 1/2 years, much of it in solitary confinement.
As Karim Sadjadpour, representative for the International Crisis Group in Tehran, says of the regime: "Ideologically it is bankrupt. People don't believe the leadership and they don't feel they live in a country where there is a representative democracy... They have no allegiance with the revolution. The gulf will only increase with the coming years." Sentiments supported by the latest research, as reported by the essential Regime Change Iran blog:
A recent public opinion survey of Iranians, conducted by The Tarrance Group, surprisingly found that a vast majority (74%) of Iranians feel America's presence in the Middle East will increase the probability of democracy in their own country. The survey, which was the first of its kind, found, two-thirds of Iranians believe that regime change in Iraq has been a positive for both neighboring countries: with 66% believing that it served Iran's national interests, while 65% believed the Iraqi people will, in the long-run, be better off.

Commissioned by the Iran Institute for Democracy, the survey discovered that a solid majority (65%) of Iranian adults consider fundamental change in Iran's system of government, especially its Constitution, a must to bring freedom and more opportunities to their homeland.
There's one country whose citizens are desperate to burst out of the Axis of Evil shell. Let's hope that this year will be the year. Imagine that, an almost unbroken chain of democracy from the Mediterranean to Central Asia.


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