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Iran's Cultural Revolution

map.jpgThe Washington Post is reporting that things aren't going too well in Iran:

Iran is in the midst of a sweeping crackdown that both Iranians and U.S. analysts compare to a cultural revolution in its attempt to steer the oil-rich theocracy back to the rigid strictures of the 1979 revolution.

The recent detentions of Iranian American dual nationals are only a small part of a campaign that includes arrests, interrogations, intimidation and harassment of thousands of Iranians as well as purges of academics and new censorship codes for the media. Hundreds of Iranians have been detained and interrogated, including a top Iranian official, according to Iranian and international human rights groups.

"The current crackdown is a way to instill fear in the population in order to discourage them from future political agitation as the economic situation begins to deteriorate," said Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "You're going to think twice about taking to the streets to protest the hike in gasoline prices if you know the regime's paramilitary forces have been on a head-cracking spree the last few weeks."

Despite promises to use Iran's oil revenue to aid the poor, Ahmadinejad's economic policies have backfired, triggering 20 percent inflation over the past year, increased poverty and a 25 percent rise in the price of gas last month. More than 50 of the country's leading economists wrote an open letter to Ahmadinejad this week warning that he is ignoring basic economics and endangering the country's future.

"Ahmadinejad has repeatedly stated his goal of purging Iranian society of secular thought. This is taking shape as a cultural revolution, particularly on university campuses, where persecution and prosecution of students and faculty are intensifying with each passing day," said Hadi Ghaemi, the Iran analyst for Human Rights Watch.

The Bush administration's $75 million fund to promote democracy in Iran is the key reason for the recent arrest of several dual U.S.-Iranian citizens in Iran, including D.C. area scholar Haleh Esfandiari. Iranian analysts contend that the U.S. funds have also made civil society movements targets because of government suspicions that they are conspiring to foster a "velvet revolution" against the regime.

What's about the only thing that could rescue Ahmadinejad right now? You guessed it. The Bush administration. Don't put it past them.

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Comments (5)

Paul Hamilton:

The silver lining on this cloud is that at least this an acknowledgment that there there is opposition to the theocracy over there, and if it's as widespread as I hope, the mullahs won't be able to stop it and it will only raise public resentment.

Lee Ward:

Unfortunately, Ahmadinejad has another two years left on his term. He was elected on a strong anti-US stance, but now unemployment and inflation are wrecking havoc with the Iranian economy, and he's having to bring down the hammer to quiet civil unrest. I wish he was up for election was next week.

And it's ironic that Iran's economy is laboring under the high cost of gasoline. How apropos.


he was "elected" only in the loosest meaning of the word. the candidates all had to be approved by the ruling theocracy. there was widespread reports of riots occurring during and after the election opposing Ahmad. according to many reports from Iranians, there was widespread physical suppression of opposition as well as electoral fraud.

i only post the above to argue that tho he and the theocracy espouse an anti-US rhetoric, do not assume that every day Iranians do.

and even if he was up for re-election next week, doesn't matter as it's the council that really runs the show there.

oh, and i suppose you think that the US should not be trying to support democracy groups in Iran?

Lee Ward:

"oh, and i suppose you think that the US should not be trying to support democracy groups in Iran?"

I think the current administration doesn't care about democracy one way or the other, and that's a shame because that was something that this country stood for, proudly, for generation after generation.

"Democracy" just doesn't fit into the Republican platform anymore, ever since 2000 anyway.

Peter F.:

Actually, there was a real choice in Iran's last Presidential election between Ahmadinejad and Rafsanjani.

You're delusional. Actually.

And, yes, because of BUSH! freedom-loving people in Iran are being arrested!

And this is America's fault how....

Wow....Just wow


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