Friday, December 5, 2008

Two Political Congresses

Pariliamentarism and democracy are two relatively novel concepts in Iran . Although the Parliament is now a century old in Iran, democracy is only three decades old and both institutions still face important challenges today . Even while facing pressures, political parties in opposition to the government are more active on the eve of the tenth Presidential elections we have ahead.
I attended two grand political meetings yesterday. The first was the annual congress of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, a reformist party created more than a decade ago . The second session was also a political gathering of another reformist party; The Iranian Kargozaran Party. Kargozaran or "technocrats" as we consider them were created by the followers of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani. The party leader is now Karbaschi , the renown and successful former Mayor of Tehran. He proposed the formation of a moderate coalition government that would replace the radical and weak government in power today.
The IIPF Congress began with the speech of the Party leader who provided an exegesis on the evolution of the Islamic Republic. Dr. Mirdamadi spoke of the aspirations that people had 3 decades ago, he reviewed the initial objectives that the Revolution pursued , he pointed to the achievements and advances. Specifically, he made point of the fact that the current government does not meet with those standards and objectives and that in some respects the country seriously needs reform to keep on track. The Islamic Republic needs to preserve its democratic identity just as it needs to keep its Islamic values alive, he noted.
Mr. Khatami and many other prominent figures took part in both sessions. We were concerned that this coincidence of the two party sessions would not lead to any dispute or give any message of discord among reformist groups. That would have been a propaganda lead for the government media against the reformists. Both sessions took place successfully with a two hour time lapse and the message emerging from both was one of solidarity and collaboration among reformists.
I had an interview with a local news agency on the occasion of the 16 th of Azar or Student's Day . On this day in 1953 , during the Shah's regime, student demonstrations against the visit of Richard Nixon to Iran in 1953 were confronted with anti riot police who had fired against the students, killing three of them in front of the Tehran University School of Engineering. My late father was an engineering student at that time at Tehran University , he had clear memories of that dark day and the ensuing anger and hatred among Iranian youth.
I will speak on that occasion at two national universities on Saturday and Sunday. I will come back to you on news of those two events .


Anonymous said...

can't wait to read your next post!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Bush said he looks forward to "a Middle East where our friends are strengthened and the extremists are discredited, where economies are open and prosperity is widespread, and where all people enjoy the life of liberty ... ."

The president said the United States is urging Mideast nations "to trust their people with greater freedom of speech, worship, and assembly," as well as advancing economic prosperity, quality healthcare, education and women's rights.

The United States has worked to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, including the establishment of two democratic states, Palestine and Israel, "living side-by-side in peace and security," Bush said.

Challenges remain in the region, he said, including state-sponsored terror, Iran's nuclear aspiration and oppressive governments.

"Yet the changes of the past eight years herald the beginning of something historic and new," Bush said. "I believe that the day will come when the map of the Middle East shows a peaceful, secure Israel beside a peaceful and democratic Palestine" and independent countries "bound together by ties of diplomacy, tourism, and trade."

everybody knows that THIS day will not come without Iran's help. so I take it he has finally recognized this undeniable fact, and that is why CHANGE is on its way! YES WE CAN!

Thank God for the concept of "expediency" in Shiism! and Long Live Barack Hussein Obama!

Anonymous said...

read this Ms. Iranian Reformist politician and denfendder of Freedom of Expression!

here! here! I second that!!!!

Anonymous said...

These political parties you are talking about Dr. Ebtekar, all have a very old predecessor called the Freedom Movement of Iran. I hope these new parties can draw on the expertise and experiences of FMI's seasoned old lions, especially with such generosity of spirit shown to them by this grandfather of Islamic Democracy, the chairman of FMI, the GREAT Dr. Ebrahim Yazdi:

Viva National Unity for Iran!

Anna said...

Dear Dr. Ebtekar, your other reader Holly (aka Black Chador) and I have started a conversation under my latest blogpost (the one about my memories of the revolution), which might be interesting for you to read and perhaps get a sense of how different expats with differring views actually think about IRI, would you like to come and follow our conversations on my site?

and then later we will continue this conversation on her site and go back and forth. I'll update you when I go on her site to write more.

Anonymous said...

my advice to Mr. Khatami on how to say NO to all these excited young people who are begging him to nominate himself for presidency, but at the same time, how NOT to cause them to lose this newly found excitement and enthusiasm:

Dear President Khatami,
if you can convince Mr. Karroubi and Mr. Rowhani and any other cleric who has declared his candidacy or is thinking of doing so, to NOT do it, and instead, to go on a JOINT press conference with you (hopefully to be broadcast on IRIB), where all of you (Khatami, Karroubi, Rowhani, ...) will appear together to announce to the nation:

"according to what Imam Khomeini preferred at the beginning of IRI, according to what Ostad Motahhari said in one of his first TV interviews in 1358 about the IRI constitution, and because of the fact that after 30 years, Iran is full of very capable and rational and pious non-clerics like Mir Hossein Mousavi, like Dr. Aref, like Dr. Kharrazi, like Dr. Ebtekar, ... who can step in and take on the role of presidency, while following the stated goals and the clear doctrine of the REFORM movement, all of us (Khatami, Karroubi, Rowhani, ..) have decided to step down and encourage these competent and highly moral and pious intellectuals and experts to run, and we want the board of directors ("shoraaye hakamiyat") at the headquarter of our oldest Reformist party, the National Confidence Party, to get together will all other Reformist parties and organize a series of internal party elections during which one of these fine young men (and women) will be selected as the ONLY Reformist candidate to compete with the other side's eventual ONE candidate.
please vote for our ONE Reformist candidate if you were hoping to support either one of us next June."

don't you think this would be the BEST possible way to promote DEMOCRACY in Iran and teach Iranians that they don't have to revert back to "worshiping" ONE man and vilifying his rivals, waiting for ONE savior and losing HOPE when he doesn't succeed in saving them, or worse, sitting home on election day and saying "raaziyim be rezaaye khoda"???!!!!

Anna said...

WOW!!!! the son of Dr. Ali Shariati is ALLOWED to talk in Iran???????!!!!!

"jallal khaalegh"!!!! what's happening in Iran???? looks like DEMOCRACY and FREEDOM is FINALLY starting to take root again after 28 years!!!!!! well, it started to take root 11 years ago too, but I doubt it was this bold, b/c it was not tolerated at all by the anti-democratic elements in the higher echelons of the "nezaam" regime itself!!! but now, even though the president is a radical fanatic, but the "leadership" must feel secure enough in itself to ALLOW the son of Dr. Shariati to actually have a voice, to ALLOW the old foreign minister of the Bazargan administration (the FIRST democratic administration of IRI) to go and represent Iran in Germany, to invite the old interior minister of Bazargan to the 30th anniversary of Majlis, did things like this happen during President Khatami's presidency? I don't know, I only have become an avid reader of Iranian news for the past couple of years, so I'm not sure how things were between 1997 and 2005, but of course, if it wasn't for those 8 years, there could have never been a chance for what seems to be coming Iran's way in June of 2009!!!!
Hallelujah!!!! are Iranians "Free at last" too (like Dr. King said)????
God Bless Obama!

Anonymous said...

here we go again with my dear fellow Lur:

any wonder why I love this guy?!!! He's my kinda cleric! the kind of cleric for whom YOU Reformist politicians and your followers in student associations and NGOs should lobby the Supreme Leader and ask him to replace that reactionary oppressor Jannati (head of Iran's Guardian Council) with this wonderful, progressive, enlightened, popular, loved, honest and moral man of God!

Karroubi, Karroubi, baraaye nejaat-e Negahbaan, hamaayatat mikonim!!!

Make him the head of the Guardian Council and SAVE your IRI!

Anna said...

hopefully your SMART diplomats and politicians won't let Israel destroy this beautiful and ancient village near Natanz (40 Km):

showing off Iran's defensive capabilities in military maneuvers and shows like this:

ARE NOT the way to deter Israel!!! all out intensive and serious DIPLOMACY with the incoming Obama administration is!

Long Live Diplomacy!

Anna said...

Iran's current Supreme Leader wrote this:

there was something wrong with the font and it was too long, so I didn't read it until the end, but the first few paragraphs (which were NOT political, but spiritual), were extremely beautiful and I'd say quite poetic!
I've heard about this gentleman's cultural and literary strength, and the fact that he chose to join his family with that of Dr. Haddad-Adel is a sign of this gentleman's appreciation for all things cultural and poetic, but I think here's an actual proof of his genuine spirituality - in a way reminding me of that amazing essay by Jalaal aal-e Ahmad about the spirituality of the Hajj - and of course, you cannot be a mystic or a spiritual "aaref" and at the same time a reactionary fundamentalist blinded by meaningless "zohd" and being empty of morality!!!!

So, I hope those who look at ALL Iranian clerics with ONE prejudiced view and call them ALL "mullah" (in a derogatory tone), might, just might give the cultured and educated ones among them the benefit of the doubt (and "kolaaheshoono ghaazi konan") and realize this:

Just as you can't call ALL evangelical preachers in America: racist bigots, and think of them ALL as being in the same league with the likes of violent and immoral impostors like John Hagee, you also can't do the same with ALL Iranian Ayatollahs and call them all "blood-thirsty mullah" just because you saw someone like Khalkhali mercilessly kill people at the beginning of the revolution, the same way Napoleon Bonaparte ordered so many innocents heads to get "offed" by the guillotine!!!

"Benefit of the Doubt" is a good thing to afford to EVERYBODY if we presume to call ourselves "fair", and want to distinguish ourselves from "bigots"!

Anonymous said...

Readers of Persian Paradox: please read this article about Mr. Brzezinski 's interview with Ha'aretz:
(in English)

(in Persian)

I hope those cynical "daaee-jaan-Napoleon" thinkers and analysts in Iran who keep saying Obama is not going to CHANGE US policy with regard to Iran, will read this article, and get it into their "mote'asseb" and hard sculls that CHANGE has already come to USA!

This is proven by the fact that a man like Obama was supported by the big brains in American political establishment (party elders and leaders of both Democratic and Republican parties) during his 21 months of presidential campaign, and the fact that Obama RISKED his entire campaign on the promise of "direct diplomacy with Iran", and not to mention the fact that if he were ever to go back on that promise (which of course he never would), then the entire far left of American political spectrum (i.e., supporters of Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel) and the hard-core liberals of America like would get furious at him, would hang him out to dry in 4 years time, and that would mean the END of his political life, hence the return of the AIPAC-friendly old establishment crowd in the position of SETTING UP the American foreign POLICY (i.e., President Hillary Clinton who would "obliterate" Iran to protect Israel, or worse, President Mitt Romney who's so racist and anti-Islam that he would obliterate the entire Middle-East to hasten the second coming of Jesus Christ and actualize the required Armageddon which is needed before he comes and takes the good Christians up to heaven in Rapture)!!!!

So, I hope there are more smart political scientists in Iran like this one:

and their voices, along with the rational analysis that I'm sure BRILLIANT Iranian politicians and diplomats like Dr. Zarif, Dr. Kharrazi, Dr. Velayati, Dr. Larijani (both brothers) and others are already making, will get to be heard by Iranian leadership, and "aghayoon" will get to see how WRONG they are with regard to their ancient and obsolete views of the world (particularly America)!!!!

Hopefully Iranian leadership and power circles in IRI can set aside their centuries old anti-Imperialist motivated cynicism and their habitual bundling up of the ENTIRE West into the column of "enemy", and SEIZE on this once in a lifetime opportunity that is offered to not only Iran but to the entire Muslim world, thanks to the fairness, rationality, and pragmatic nature of American LIBERALS like Barack Hussein Obama!
"gozasht aan zamaani ke aansaan gozasht"!!!!
"deev cho biroon ravad, fereshteh dar aayad"!!!!
and if Bush was "deev", then believe me, Obama is "fereshteh"!!!

Anonymous said...

I wish American politicians would read this blog and get an idea of what is really happening in Iran. Some people are becoming realistic and this is good news:,0,738348.story?track=rss

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting my comments again! :-)
I just read about another one of your Reformist colleagues named Mohammad Ali Najafi, then I googled him and found out that he wanted to be a presidential candidate in 2005 but wasn't allowed?! You see? this is how little I know about contemporary Iran, but this gentleman sounds like a good candidate to join that list (I was talking about earlier) of non-cleric good reformist experts who should run in the National Confidence Party's primary elections, before ONE strong candidate comes out as the ultimate Reformist candidate for next June!

Anna said...

Dear Dr. Ebtekar, Please let your other readers know about this stimulating conversation that has started between two of your old readers (Holly and I), and encourage them to come join our debates!

Thanks! :-)