Monday, April 7, 2008

Working with the civil society

Everybody is back to work now after the long holidays. The felicitations however are still going on. I sometimes wonder how many holidays we have in Iran and how long it takes afterwards to get back on track. We usually visit the family and friends and people we honor during these days .

We visited President Khatami on Wednesday and, along with Tehran city council members ,the Supreme Leader Khamenei on Sunday. Aside from these courtesy calls, I found some time to complete some of my unfinished work.

We have had two official Council sessions this week and today we completed a bill defining the procedures for close collaboration of the Council with NGOs . This bill provides grounds for the empowerment of NGOs and their integration in urban management processes. Part of the text reads: NGOs in Tehran are invited to take part in the decision making processes,to assist in the implementation of projects and to provide consultation and expertise for the proper management of city affairs. In addition NGOs may take part in regulation and oversight which is the most contentious issue that the council faces in its mandate. I spoke about the importance of providing opportunities for NGOs to take part urban management issues and I explained our successful experiences in working with NGOs in the Environment Committee in the council. I think this is an important step forward for the civil society.

During the Reform period under President Khatami the civil society in Iran began to flourish and NGOs grew in number as well as in strength and capabilities. The current Principalist and populist government has different priorities and they have not provided adequate support for non-governmental activites which are mostly critical of governmental policy.


Anonymous said...

I edited it, please post this one, thank you.

Dear Dr. Ebtekar,
Happy New Year and Noruz Mobarak! Best wishes for you and all my dear fellow Iranians who are lucky enough to be residing inside Iran! I often hear how people in Iran wish they lived abroad, perhaps due to the astronomical levels of inflation, the unhealthy level of pollution in Tehran, and the lack of social freedoms especially for women, but what they don't recognize is how blessed they are to be able to serve their own people!

I have a request please?
Would you please, please please write a blog in which you might give your opinion about the new make-up of the Majlis, the legitimacy of the election outcomes, considering the challenges under way by Mr. Khatami and Karroubi to the Majlis-Negahban body about the possibility of a recount?

There are many speculations written by bloggers and political pundits online about the possible alignment of the more pragmatic conservatives like the Larijani camp with the Reformists in the Majlis, and therefore presenting quite a formidable and substantial and REAL challenge to some of the radical and overly-risky policies of the Ahmadinejad government and his hard-line cabinet. What do you think about that?

I mean you are in there! You are dealing with all these currents, power-struggles and political games first-hand! So, if you say something about this, I consider it a credible source "manba'e movassagh"!!!!

Please write about your opinions and predictions on the topic of this so-called "Larijani Factor"!

Another question? This one is more of a long-term prediction, or "Future Vision" kind of a question. I know you don't have a Cristal ball, but as I said, if anybody can give "credible" predictions about the future of Iran, it would be people like you!

What are the chances of Mr. Khatami one day becoming Iran's Supreme Leader? Of course I don't mean any time soon, but after many many healthy years for the current leader, may he live a long and healthy life for 100 years!
Can Iran find itself among the most respectable countries in the world again, with a truly democratic system, with a modern and moderate leader like "our man in a chocolate robe", and a Woman President named Dr. Ebtekar one day? (hopefully without the black chador, but fully Islamic, like the wife of Dr. Javad Zarif, "tres chic et magnifique"!)

btw, What ever happened to Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif? He's your fellow Reformist, isn't he? He did such a marvelous job in NY as one of the world's top diplomats when he was Iran's UN ambassador for 5 years! He made all of us expatriates very proud! Why is he not in the news anymore? I hope he'll be appointed as your Foreign Minister when you become Iran's first female president!
En-sha-Allah! :-)
p.s. if you don't like to post some parts of my comments, please feel free to censure parts of it, but I hope you leave at least the other parts of it that are not too controversial!

Anonymous said...

oops! ... i forgot to include the link to this article in my previous comments, as one of the examples of the buzz out there about the new Majlis and the new realignments:

but of course i'm sure you've read many more articles like these, you know what it is that optimistic people like me are trying to speculate about the future of Iran, right? ... so just let us know how off-base or dreamy we are, if that's the case?