29 Jul 2009 — Middle East Online
Iranian experts believe that the development of political reform and the emerging wave of social awareness which is encompassing the different classes and layers of Iranian society is not a direct result of efforts made by the politicians, notes Kourosh Ziabari.
The gradual and steady evolution of reform movement in Iran does not essentially hinge on the struggle of reformist “leaders” and is inherently capable of growing progressively without being invigorated or revitalized by the role-playing of pragmatist politicians who have already served as the state officials under the administrations of former Presidents Khatami and Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Iranian experts believe that the development of political reform and the emerging wave of social awareness which is encompassing the different classes and layers of Iranian society is not a direct result of efforts made by the politicians but a spontaneous consequence of Iranian people’s exposure to the political transformations on the international level, their expansion of contacts with the outside world and the impacts being generated by the youths and universities.
“During the tenure of former President Khatami, some felL into the false believe that the social developments and the students’ demand for political reforms are provoked and enticed by the reformist newspapers and thus, a multilateral raid on the independent newspapers and journalists was launched,” says Nasrin Pourhamrang, Iranian journalist and a lecturer of sociology at the Scientific and Applicative University of Rasht, “however the recent election which transpired to be most vibrant and dynamic election in the contemporary history of Iran was a witness to the prominent presence of reformist media, and only two or three reformist newspapers have been available to the people.”
“This shows that reformism is the result of growing awareness among the educated, middle urban class of the Iranian society which is calling for the rationalization of laws, transformations of authorities’ stance and betterment of social circumstances. Reform in Iran is not the consequence of Mr. Khatami’s government or the recent presidential election,” she added.
“The reformists have proven that they will run away when are given the chance to fight for the people and against the looters of our nation.” Dr. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, a US-based Iranian environmentalist and political activist was quoted in Middle East Online saying, “The striking bus drivers of 2005, the striking oil workers of 1978, have far more legitimacy to feed and educate the nation, to speak for the nation’s true needs, than any reformist character which was approved for running for political office by an unelected council of tyrants.”
“To save ourselves from the US and Israeli wars and embargoes, we need the strength of a home-grown democratic state in Iran. We need a state that fears, respects, and answers to the millions of Iranians who refuse to be robbed again,” added Savabieasfahani.
However and despite the fact that the road to social reforms in Iran will be obstructed by various barriers and impediments in the future, people should not give up monitoring their politicians and leaders justly and cautiously.
“I wish all people, and not only Iranians, would feel entitled to make demands for their own lives and their own future,” Mary Rizzo, an Italian journalist and editor at the Tlaxcala Network for Linguistic Diversity said in an article published in Middle East Online, “I have no recipe to give, only that people should always monitor those who govern them, being able to stand in support when necessary, and also able to confront their leaders when there are issues that do not bring anything to the people.”
“I have great faith in the Iranian people to pursue what is in their own best interests, and I only hope that their demands are not manipulated by others,” added Rizzo. “National interests should always be inspired by what suits the people and what can render their lives better as individuals and as a society. The two need not be in contrast.”
However, a certain amount of apprehension regarding the spontaneity of Iran’s reform movement and protecting it’s originality from the foreign intervention can be pinpointed as a common concern in the statements and remarks of experts quoted by Middle East Online.
Jeremy R. Hammond, American journalist and the chief editor of Foreign Policy Journal believes that the Iranian nation is the only eligible, competent and relevant entity who should decide for its destiny in the long-run: “I think it’s up to the Iranian people to decide how they should pursue their collective goals, but they can’t wait for their leaders to offer up change. Change comes through massive political pressure from the bottom up.”
Hammond is also concerned about the fate of Iran’s political progression in the face of US hindrances and interferences: “The US simply cannot allow Iran to be independent and operate outside of the Western power structure. Countries are supposed to take their marching orders from Washington. Iran is defying Washington, and therefore must be demonized.”
Kourosh Ziabari a freelance journalist and reporter in Iran, works regularly with Tlaxcala and Foreign Policy Journal.