Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Obama Season

There has been extensive coverage and much attention on the American elections in Iranian media over the past week. Even while the Iranian President had initially predicted that Obama would not be allowed to become President, he congratulated the President -elect in a message impressing many Iranians and others alike. Although many Iranians and most political groups reformist and principalist are hopeful that President Obama will bring a change in American foreign policy , many are yet skeptical and feel that he may not be able to keep his promises. The question that many put forward is how profound and genuine is the 'change' that Obama will bring about in the directions that the Administration has been taking for the past years. Will he stand firm to change the domineering and militaristic policies America has pursuing for the past decades? Will he keep the spirit of multilateralism that he professed in his famous Berlin speech or will he succumb to the imperial policies of the conservative elements in Washington? There are many historical and political reasons for Iranians to be cautious in expressing their content for seeing a new President after Bush in the White House. Can President -elect Obama gain their trust and confidence after more that three decades of a " tall wall of mistrust"? It remains to be seen .


Black Chador said...

What happened in America on Nov 4th, 2008 has very little to do with Obama and has to do mainly with the American Youth Power. Young American people rejected the Radical Conservatism of Bush and the gang.
The whole world is now looking at the Iranian young generation to send the same strong signal to their Radical Mullah Regime.
At least Obama didn’t have to get stamp of approval from a bunch of unelected mullahs to run for presidency of United State of America. He had 1.5 million volunteer working to get him elected. I wonder beside the paid Basigis how many people would sign up to get Ahmadinejad re elected?
I know you have been ordered by your Democratic government to censor any comments that do not show great love and support for your GREAT DEMOCRACY but I will still send you my comments because someone has to read it before that someone decides to censor it and that is enough for me. Changes come one person at the time as Samad Behrangi use to teach us when we were kids through his wonderful stories.

Anna said...

Dr. Ebtekar,
Did you listen to Gordon Brown's speech today??
Isn't it shameful for the GREAT Iranian people that Saudi Arabia's king is being named in that speech as the representative of dialogue among religions and civilizations instead of OUR Khatami????????? Isn't it a source of shame for us???? Doesn't it make Iranians want to do everything in their power to have President Khatami representing our nation with PRIDE and RESPECT again, so that Iran's immeasurable contribution to that Islamic Civilization which unfortunately is now so inappropriately being attributed to Saudi Arabia, will be correctly recognized as the MAIN contribution to the Islamic Civilization???????!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my God!!!!!!! How low could our nation have sunk over the years that now it is Saudi Arabia that speaks for Islamic Civilizations??????? Unbelievable!!!! What a disservice Iranian leadership has done to the legacy of OUR Imam Mohammad Ghazzali, OUR Ibn-Sina, OUR Razi, OUR Khayyam, OUR Hafez, OUR Mowlana, OUR Attar, OUR MollaSadra, ...???????? Please!!!!! There NEEDS to be a real REFORM in Iran NOW, and its name is Supreme Leader Khatami!!!!!

Allaho Akbar, Khatami Rahbar!

Anna said...

way to go Dr. Ebtekar!!!!!

she's talking about possibly nominating herself as a presidential candidate!!!!!!!! YES!!!!

Ebtekar All The Way!

Anonymous said...

I have real hope that Barack Obama will open a dialogue between our nations. I worked on the campaign (my law office was his headquarters here in Transylvania County, North Carolina). I hope you can read his excellent biography - Dreams From My Father.
As soon as the campaign ended I began work on my own website ( hoping to facilitate conversation between our nations. It is just beginning, there is little content, but yours is my first link.
I will keep coming back to your excellent blog.

Anonymous said...

President Obama is a smart, conscientious, rational man who will remind the entire world of their better angels, get the support of the entire international community once again as in the time of FDR, and will promote justice, fairness, multilateral cooperations, and sustainable peace and security in the world!
so please tell your president to not even think of playing these childish tricks of sending these so-called "congratulations" letters in a move to kick the ball in the American court!!! the old world of political games are over, and if you want what's best for Iran, you should tell your leaders to understand the Obama world and come up with an equally as rational and level headed man for Iran's presidency, so that you won't be left in the dust!

I really don't care if your next president is a reformist or a conservative, as long as it is not this crazy man you have right now who scares the heck out of everybody in the world!!!! your new parliament speaker seems like a good rational man, why isn't he running for presidency? ... and can't Iran manage to come up with a bipartisan cabinet where you might have a rational and moderate president from the conservative side but then also a reformist woman like you in the cabinet as foreign minister, so that the question of "hand shaking" with Hillary Clinton won't become an issue of disgrace for your people many of whom I know are appalled by these Islamic constraints you have put on yourselves painting a picture of uncultured fanatics with no social etiquettes for the great civilized Iranians around the world ?

Anna said...

I know I said I was done with blogging and writing comments on other people's blogs, but I feel I must enlighten the not so sharp members of Iranian press who don't seem to have figured out what all these political games with respect to their upcoming 10th presidential elections REALLY are about!!!
I have a feeling that this weblog is a regular source of information for many Iranian journalists who keep asking these odd questions from their politicians:

so, I hope they will read this comment and get a clue!!!
I guess I shouldn't be so harsh on them, poor kids, they are not quite used to democratic, free, fair, and healthy elections, so they keep reverting back to the old "conspiracy theories" and bleak "daaee-jaan Napoleon" views that are so entrenched in the psyche of Iranian people!
But you see Iranian Press? The WORLD has changed, and with it, you are witnessing the BIRTH of a whole other kind of IRI!!!! You see? in this brand new shiny and hopeful Obama World, your country's leaders and politicians (I mean those rational smart ones who have "cheshm'e bassirat", I believe you call them "oghalaa") are beginning to realize that they no longer have to feel threatened by the prospect of "regime change" or a coup d'etat or military assault on their country, so suddenly they have to start teaching you people the basic elements of a DEMOCRACY and all the political games that go along with it in a newly legitimized framework of "party politics".
Now let me tell you what's gonna happen in the next 6 months and what names you will be seeing on your presidential ballots:

All this hoopla about President Khatami and the fact that he has spent 3 rounds of talks within his party to define and establish a solid doctrine for his Reform movement, are not signs that he is going to run!!! He's doing all this to help accelerate the maturation and learning process of the public in becoming democratically well-versed and prepared. He is trying to excite the complacent youth, the hopeless middle-class, and the disenfranchised groups of Iranians like women, religious minorities, and so many other people who have learned to mistrust their country's establishment and stay home on voting day. He is trying to generate HOPE in the public and at the same time provide a clear map for his admirers and allies in the reform movement as to what is needed to be accomplished once they are elected.
As for Mr. Karroubi and Rowhani, it's more or less the same story, but for different audiences, like the clerical class, the followers of the clerics and the traditional conservatives who don't agree with the status quo but are also not capable of seeing beyond the word of their "faghih" leaders.

What I think will emerge on the Reformist side as two viable candidates who can bring out many of President Khatami's old admirers and voters to polling boxes, are Dr. Aref and Mohandess Mir Hossein Mousavi. I also think Dr. Ebtekar will try to run and generate some hope in Iran's feminists, but the time is not right for that much CHANGE in Iran so she will be disqualified by the Guardian Council on the account of her gender alone!
On the other side, I think besides your current president, either Dr. Larijani or Dr. Haddad-Adel will represent himself as the alternative to the anti-"aghl" Ahmadinejad, and then after securing the blessings of the current supreme leader, this new "aaghel" Principlist will become the most popular choice for the right wing and will ascend to the second round of the election, at which stage he will have to face off with Mir Hssein Mousavi.

Now, who do I think will win? I think the right wing is not ready to give up its position atop the Executive branch yet (since usually in Iran, each party gets 8 years and not just 4 years in power), so they will do all they can to win from Mir Hossein in the second round, and one of those things that Larijani (or Haddad) will need to do in order to win from Mir Hossein will be to declare before the elections that he will nominate a couple of well-known Reformist rival politicians in his cabinet (like Dr. Ebtekar as Foreign Minister and Dr. Zarif or Dr. Aref as National Security Adviser or something like that), hence making people feel so good about the idea of a "Unity Government" that they will go with that rational Principlist and leave Mr. Mousavi in a 49%-51% losing position which is not too embarrassing and therefore NOT devastating for the Reform movement.
(na seekh missoozeh na kabaab)

Now, take these words to the bank and bet on them, and if you lose the bet, I'll pay you back!!!