Democratic Islamic Republic?

Interview with Walter Posch


Democratic Islamic Republic?
by Fariba Amini

Walter Posch is a researcher and historian who has worked on security issues in the region, most recently on Iran. He is an Austrian citizen who studied Turkish and worked on the Ottomans in Vienna and Istanbul. He holds a PhD in Iranian studies from Bamberg University, Germany, where he worked under the supervision of Professor Bert Fragner. In his subsequent career, he worked as a Middle East Analyst at the National Defense Academy in Vienna and at the Paris-based Institute for Security Studies of the European Union (EUISS). He has visited Iran several times and writes public policy papers on Iran and the region.

What is your present position?

I am a Senior Research fellow for Iran at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

What made you interested in Iran?

I was very much interested in history, especially that of the Ottoman Empire and its relationship with Iran.

As a student of the Ottoman Empire/Turkey and Iran, what do you find different and what are the similarities between the two countries, if any, especially in today’s politics?

Turkey has a strong European tradition both during its Ottoman heyday – the Sultan was also the Qaysar-i Rum, the Emperor of the Eastern Romans. And the Turks were for centuries included in European affairs be it in the Mediterranean world or the Balkans, and they started Western style modernization early on, during the 19th century, in a way which continues actually until this day.

Turkish and Iranian elites have basically the same interests: to develop their country on their own terms and be treated on an equal footing with the big powers. The Turks however are much more realistic in their politics. Their membership in NATO and their application to he European Union was to the benefit of the whole nation; also the country’s economic liberalization based on the rule of law, transparency and democracy is beneficial for all citizens and encourages individual initiative and therefore empowers citizens.

By contrast, look at Iran: its politics are typical for an underdeveloped rentier society; basically it is about controlling as many state institutions as possible in order to distribute the wealth generated by the country’s oil and gas. Therefore, there is no transparency of the political process; political parties are weak and only a front for strongmen who prefer backdoor deals, all of which means that transparency does not really exist. The citizen is not really empowered; ideology trumps qualification etc.

Do you think the Islamic Republic wants to attain hegemony in the region?

Not really; I think they are realistic enough to know what their limits are; however, the cards they have they use very cleverly. Look at Iraq or Afghanistan, though less so Lebanon and Syria. Their biggest strength is long-term thinking; they do not despair when they suffer strategic setbacks such as now in Bahrain. As a result, the Islamic Republic punches far beyond its economic and military weight, and stays always at the center of attention. Hence, they are indirectly recognized as a power.

What is the role of the Revolutionary Guards in this respect?

Ever since the students protest in 1999, the Guards have acted like a political faction. Most likely the drama around Ahmadinejad, whom they have supported, forces them to think again whether this was such a good idea.

In foreign policy, they engage in the cross-border operations (Iraq, Afganistan…) and they provide the regime with a very powerful tool – together with the intelligence Ministry.

Their economic role is important as well, but here, too, the Guards have to face the limits of the Iranian political system. They abused their power and went too far in their activities, to the detriment of other political factions.

Beyond that they have their ordinary military, policing and gendarmerie functions, which are basically necessary for the State.

In light of recent assassinations of several Iranian nuclear scientists, and the claim that Mossad, the Israeli Intelligence Services, had a role in these or, rather, that the Israelis did not deny their role, where are we headed?

I do not know whether or not Mossad has assassinated the nuclear scientists in Tehran. In any case since it is not the first time, this must have been a huge operation involving many local human resources in Tehran.

Do you think Netanyahu’s government will strike Iran in September as Robert Baer claims in a recent article?


Can you elaborate?

Baer is the only person who talks about a possible strike. Besides, Israel would force the US into a war, and the Americans certainly don't like to be seen as responsible for another war. Other than that it would mean the end of the NPT treaty to which Iran is a signatory and founding member.

You have done an extensive study on the Green movement. What are some of the weaknesses and strengths of the democracy movement in Iran?

Their weakest point is their strongest point: that they stay within the political framework of the Islamic Republic’s constitution. Inside Iran, many reformists have always expressed their fidelity to the Supreme Leader – who doesn’t want them – and to the legacy of Imam Khomeini. This allows the reformist current to stay in the political game. But then what do the reformists want? Is a democratic Islamic Republic still possible, I mean possible in real life, not in theory? The Hezbollahis as part of the Principalists (osulgerayan) succeeded in destroying the Reformist parties’ political cadres – all these young enthusiastic people who created their own version of “democracy and Islam”. In other words they marginalized the future generation of democracy advocates.

But the biggest weakness of the Green Movement is that there is not a single useful paper and strategy that sketches out the future of Iran. They also don’t want to change anything in the current constitution; nor do they have an economic strategy – here the regime’s 20-year vision seems to do the deal. And I never heard that the leaders of the Green Movement say they would like to touch issues like say Iran’s ethnic question. (It is not enough to refer to the constitution and vaguely assert the right to use regional and tribal languages, if it comes to the use of the language in school a look to the status of minorities in Canada or Europe could have been helpful.)

And I am not aware that the Green Movement had ever commented on the “gozinesh,” the ideological selection; perhaps it is not important; isn’t it?

So in the end we see a deal between the reformist leadership inside Iran under Khatami with Larijani and the rest of the Principalists on the back of Ahmadinejad. As of today this is what remains of the Green Movement inside Iran.

As to Iranians outside the country, those who would know best and who would be sincere promoters of democracy have been sidelined; they are young and have to rearrange their lives. Iran’s democratization process has lost a fascinating generation.


Recently by Fariba AminiCommentsDate
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more from Fariba Amini

About the Greens

by Cost-of-Progress on

Let's not kid ourselves. The green died as soon as their so called leaders realized that people wanted their very fabric of existence and that of this regime gone and destroyed. Both mousavi and karoubi are of the same rotten fabric that makes up this hated anti iranain regime.





 Dear Omeedvar: Spot on. I

by vildemose on

 Dear Omeedvar: Spot on. I think the situation was much worse than you describe. Iran was worse than Afghanistan today when the Pahlavis took over. This bit of  inconvenient fact that most Islamists and even western pundits  tend to not want to talk about when comparing IRI with the Pahlavis.

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx


Rentier state

by vildemose on

 Mr. Posch is right about one thing. IRI is a rentier state with a rentier economy and no amount of propaganda by Savama agents can change this tragic comedy.


A rentier (, ) is an individual who depends on income derived from rents, which are defined as "a reward for ownership of all natural resources", or the "income derived from the gift of nature".p.85,

 four characteristics that would determine whether or not a state could be identified as rentier:

  1. if rent situations predominate
  2. if the economy relies on a substantial external rent – and therefore does not require a strong domestic productive sector
  3. if only a small proportion of the working population is actually involved in the generation of the rent
  4. and, perhaps most importantly, which the state’s government is the principal recipient of the external rent.[1]

Consequently in these resource-rich rentier states there is a challenge to developing civil society and democratization. Hence, theorists such as Beblawi conclude that the nature of rentier states provides a particular explanation for the presence of authoritarian regimes in such resource rich states.[1]

Beblawi identifies several other characteristics particularly associated with rentier oil states. For example, where the government is the largest and ultimate employer, the bureaucracy is frequently bloated and inefficient – and indeed comes to resemble a rentier class in society. Moreover, local laws often make it impossible for foreign companies to operate independently. This leads to a situation where citizenship becomes a financial asset. In order to do business, foreign enterprises engage a local sponsor (al-kafil) who allows the company to trade in his name in return for a proportion of the proceeds – another type of rent. In addition, the oil rent leads to secondary rents, usually stock market or real estate speculation.[1]


"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx


Let us be fair

by omeedvar on

In 1925, when Pahlavies took power, Iran was a very poor and weak country, with majority of its population illiterate. They used polluted water, and had all kinds of tropical diseases like malaria, measles, polio, trachoma, and many other parasitic diseases. People had no security at home or on the roads.

In about fifty years, the Pahlavies turned it to a modern and progressive country. They created thousands of schools and many universities, educated millions of Iranians, trained thousands of teachers, nurses, doctors and other professionals; controlled and eleminated most of the tropical diseases by creating a good healthcare system and trained personnel; provided security by creating police, jendarmery, and army; removed compulsary veil, and gave voting rights to women.

Except for a couple of countries, no other country required visa from Iranians. The country was at peace, and its borders remained safe. All these and more happened when the price of oil was $8-10 and the highest was $34 before the revolution. Iranian currency was strong,    70 Rials=1USDollar.

Thirty three years after the revolution, with oil price as high as $110, and much higher quantity of oil and gas exported, UN statistics show Iran's infant mortality rate rank 115, and Iranian life expectancy rank 103; way behind Sri lanka, vietnam, and Mexico. Heart disease, traffic death, and suiside (specially in young women) are among the top causes of death, and the statistics provided by their authorities are not reliable.

More than one million of people died or injured in the war with Iraq,  that was extended unwisely until they were so weak that had no choice but to accept the peace. Millions of Iranians moved to other countris as immigrants or refugees. The currency has dropped to 12000 Rials= 1USDollars, and Iranians have a hard time to get visa from any country. Most importantly, women and minorities lost their equal rights, and veil was forces on women again.

Less than %10 of Iranians have benefitted from the revolution, some of them living comfortably in Western countries, and their job is to support IRI, lie and blame the previous regime for every ill and brutal events that is happening in Iran.



by AMIR1973 on

"Debunk"? Yeah, right!

IRI's infant mortality ranking is either 115th or 155th. We'll take the more "favorable" view and state it is 115th. Very impressive!

Its life expectancy ranking is somewhere between 103rd and 132nd!

"Not bad at all"? Yeah, right! Nice way to "use your brain" -- LOOLLLL 

IRI has been in power for 32 years, and it has enjoyed some of the highest oil prices ever! Moreover, the Shah enjoyed high oil prices only from 1973-1978. So, nice try about still blaming the Shah (or the war, etc, etc) after all these years! And where is your evidence that Iran "started from the bottom" in 1979? Show your evidence. Let's see it.

About the quality of research too, the reports say that Iran in 2009 produced 0.48% of world's top cited scientific research.  

That is VERY impressive for a country that is ranked 17th in the world in population and has the 3rd or 4th largest oil reserves and 2nd largest natural gas reserves in the entire world! VERY impressive. I have rarely, if ever, seen an article dealing with original, cutting edge basic science medical research from the IRI in any major reputable medical journal, and I have seen them from India, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states.

If Iran had stopped the war in 1982, Saddam would have been still ruling not only Baghdad but also Tehran. That is the truth. But I do not understand your love for him and why Iran should not have fought him. He was a bad man.  

More lies. More demagoguery.
Yeah, Saddam, one of the most inept military commanders in history, would have been in Tehran hundreds of miles inside Iran, when his incompetent army had been thrown out of Khorramshahr, which is close to the Iraqi border. Oh yeah, that's believable  :-)  

Lets wait till IRI becomes 34 years old in 2013 and then measure the progress scientifically

That is without a doubt the most hilarious explanation I have ever heard of why the Russians keep stringing the IRI along with their piece-of-junk nuclear reactor in Bushehr, which has gotten delayed year after year after year. Here is "scientifically advanced" IRI getting used like an old dish rag by a bunch of inept Russians year after year after year. Success!!!


And yeah, how are US main allies in the region the little dictators Mubarak of Egypt and Abdullah of Saudi doing? Has the recent consignment of 150 billion dollars of weapons reached the Saudi dictator for his protection from his own people?   

Mubarak was replaced by the council of the Military. Talk about a successful "revolution"! The Saudi monarchy is very secure. Why would they need "150 billion dollars pf weapons" to protect themselves from their own people? There were only a few small protests by Shia rioters months ago, and now all is quiet there. Too bad for the IRI  :-(  

And backwards Saudi Arabia has a much higher GDP per capita than "advanced" IRI (which is ranked between 65th and 81st among countries) -- another VERY impressive IRI achievement!

You did get one thing right, though: Empty talk is for grannys.  

Did I embarrass you enough?

Fariba Amini

As usual, never engage in real arguments

by Fariba Amini on

"These so called Iran experts who have either never been to Iran or
remain totally ignorant about the country are worthless. They can not
make even a single coherent argument about the nation."


Just read the above comment and let's come to a sad conclusion that we iranains do not want to engage in  self-criticism but love to critizize without any basis. We do not like to engage in introspection. Everything is rosy and dandy !!!   everything is either black or white. We do not argue. We brand. We slander, and then we claim we know everything and everyone else is stupid.

Mr.Posch has been to Iran on a number of occasions.  He has studied Iranian history past and present. He follows the events and reads almost all the daily papers, blogs, websites.  He is a real analyst and researcher.  We may disagree with him or his views, but don't make comments that are idiotic.


His PHd thesis was on Ottoman and Safavid relations in 16th century. He has spoken before the European Parliament.   He is a scholar who worked under one of the most well known historians of Iran, Prof. Fragner.  

Mr. Posch speaks fluent Persian and Turkish. he is not an Iran hater but he tells the truth, something we Iranians do not like to hear!  



@ Amir1973,

by superiranian on

Though I am not a supporter of government of Iran but I have to debunk you here. Sometimes one has to accept the facts instead of hiding from them. 

 You said Iran is doing bad in life expectancy and maternal health. Hmm, who are you? WHO president? Because as per WHO, UN and Save the children Iran has had one of the biggest improvements in health care in the past 25 years. Yes, Iran had started from a very very low position since Shah had not invested anything in Iranian healthcare and all he did was importing third grade doctors from India. A simple google search will testify that I am right and you are wrong. All that I am going to say here are backed by solid scientific data available on internet and searchable on google. I am not putting the links since this is my second post on this forum and I am not sure if I am allowed to do so as my "insert a link" button on site cosole is inactive.

Actually your hatred for IRI has shut down your brain. Iran's life expectancy in 2010 was 72 years as per WHO. Not bad at all.  And in maternal healthcare as per Save the children Iran ranked 45th in the world again not bad for a country that started from the very bottom just 32 years ago. Lets have a look at how things were during Shah's time in order to understand how backward Iran was then. In 1977, Iran's total contributions to world science and technology out put was less than 0.0003%, this is as per US universities report about global science production. In 2010, US federal report for science and engineering put Iran's contributions at 1.1% of world's total. Also the same report along side many others such as UK government report cite Iran as having the world's fastest growth rate in science and technology. About the quality of research too, the reports say that Iran in 2009 produced 0.48% of world's top cited scientific research. As per Canada's own report Iran is to surpass them in total output in 2017. There you go quality and quantity, both are there.  There is no denying there. If you want to deny then bring up the proof instead of childishly accusing others and stomping your feet. 

South Korea is far away and is totally in a different neighbourhood with a different history. But even then North Korea was ahead of Iran. Your data about them is when they had just come out of a war and occupation. If you want to compare then compare their war and after war period with Iran's war and after war period. By the way you seem to forget all wars get continued regardless. Hitler in 1941 had sent one of his senior Generals to UK hoping to save face and stopping the war. British imprisoned his ambassodor and continued the war in the process killing 65 million more people. I never heard people like you coming out to complain. South Korea is still at war technically with North. You never complained. Iran fought to the end until Saddam went broke and had to invade Kuwait and that is when his fate was sealed. If Iran had stopped the war in 1982, Saddam would have been still ruling not only Baghdad but also Tehran. That is the truth. But I do not understand your love for him and why Iran should not have fought him. He was a bad man. 

About Angola again you have embarrassed yourself. A simple internet search for latest data from IMF and World Bank shows that Angola's export is less than half of Iran. I am not saying you are lying but it appears you are ignorant.  

About the Arab spring, well, it is too early to say. Too early indeed. Iran waited for two decades to play its cards and finally get Baghdad. You do understand that Iran today is in full control of Iraq. This is as per US government assessments. To say Iran has lost Bahrain is too early. Iran waited for 25 years to get Lebanon. Patience my friend, patience. I know that you are siding with Salafi dictators here, but it is ok. That is your poing of view.

About nuclear reactor at Bushehr I must say this:

India (a much poorer country than Iran) had gotten its first nuclear reactors in 1960's just like Pakistan its in early 70's. Both being next too Iran. Shah at the time appears to have been asleep. He only started to build nuclear reactors well after India had tested its first nuke in 1973 and after Pakistan had started assembling its first bombs and yeah, after the French doctors told Shah that he has cancer. Then Shah started Bushehr and never finished it. The atomic age had started in 1945. The guy was on the throne for all this time till 1979. 34 years and nothing to show for. Lets wait till IRI becomes 34 years old in 2013 and then measure the progress scientifically. But something tells me already that IRI is going to win. 

India at the time a very poor country started its space program in early 1960's. Puts its first satellite in 1979. In Iran on the other hand Ala Hazrat Humayum were asleep. Iran by 1979 had not yet any space program. Iranian military did not even have submarines and anti-ship missiles the most important arsenals in modern military. A much poorer Pakistan at them time had both. As per UN, there should be one kilowatt of electricity generation capacity in a country in order for that nation to be considered industrialized. Many industrialized nations ofcourse have more than that some of them by upto five times but his is considered the minimum. By 1978, United States had 4 kilowatt capacity per person. Canada even more. Unfortunately Shah by 1979 had managed to install only enough powerplants to spare every Iranian in Iran with just 0.2 Kilowatt. One fifth of the minimum. In 2010 this had come up to be at 0.9 still short of the minimum of 1 but still much better. Shah was all talk and no action. IRI is atleast doing something. You might not like them but your dislike is not going to stop scientific institutes around the world co-authoring nanotechnology research with them. That is what is happening, whether you like it or not. An uh, your beloved South Korea has tried two times to launch a satellite but failed despite having hired help from Russia and Europe. Iran fired two shots into space both were successful. About the size of economy, the truth is that Iran's economy is growing. US economy is shriking. Iran has just 9 billion dollars in debt. Less than 1% of its GDP. US has close to 15000 billion dollars something like 105% of its GDP. IMF praises Iran, and downgrades US. So I would not worry about Iran's economy. Iran is doing fine and as per latest IMF report and some others like Goldman Sach's N11 report and Economic Intelligence Unit which all have said Iran's economy will continue to grow and will become the 12th largest in the world by 2021. Not bad for a country which under the Shah only 35% of its populace had access to electrcity (as compared to 99% now), and when in 1979, Iran's literacy rate was 50% (While Cubas's at the time was 100%). 

 The lesson is that things have improved. Your denial will not get you any where. Next time when you write try to get less emotional and start citing sources just like I did. I you have the previledge to put in links much better. Empty talk is for grannys. 

And yeah, how are US main allies in the region the little dictators Mubarak of Egypt and Abdullah of Saudi doing? Has the recent consignment of 150 billion dollars of weapons reached the Saudi dictator for his protection from his own people?  


Worthless Speculation from superiranian

by AMIR1973 on

What a bunch of garbage. The IRI is not even in the Top 100 among countries in infant mortality or life expectancy. Got that? Not even in the Top 100! Many countries much poorer than the IRI have better life expectancy and infant mortality rates.


IRI's total export earnings (80-90% of which are from ONE product, oil) are less than that of Angola, a country with a population of only 18 million, i.e. 1/4th that of IRI's population! In 1979, IRI's economy was larger than that of South Korea. Today, it is one-fourth the size of South Korea's! And enough of this garbage of still blaming the war prolonged by that subhuman Khomeini and the thugs around him well over 2 decades ago for IRI's lousy current standard of living! South Korea's war with North Korea was far more devastating in terms of loss of life, especially civlian life, and saw the capital city Seoul devastated far, far worse than Tehran was. 


IRI's "scientific" discoveries do not make it to high impact scientific journals. There is very, very, very little to NO cutting edge, original scientific research coming out of IRI, which has the fastest growing scientific discoveries in the entire Milky Way galaxy! The quantity is still very low compared to major achievers in America, Europe, and Asia, and the quality is not even in the same universe. Got it?


The piece-of-garbage reactor at Bushehr has still not been completed by the Russians and keeps getting delayed year after year after year. What a joke! This is the IRI's "cutting edge" scientific advancement. Or the airplanes that keep crashing! Is this Space Age scientific achievement?


And you want to talk about "Arab Spring"? There has been no significant "Arab Spring" in Morocco, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, UAE, Oman, Kuwait, etc. Despite the IRI's dreams of Shia rioters turning Bahrain into another IRI, that is totally over! Pooof. Gone down in flames.


BTW, how is IRI's major ally in Syria, Assad doing? Oooops.


@ amirparvizforsecularmonarchy

by spatima on

I am a poli-sci M.A from University of Toronto

Please dont resort to ad-hominem when you lack the logic to make a proper counter argument.

And puff you go!

p.s before calling other people to educate themselves, please follow proper grammar.


Thank you 



In hope of a Free, Independent and Secular Iran


Worthless Speculation

by superiranian on

These so called Iran experts who have either never been to Iran or remain totally ignorant about the country are worthless. They can not make even a single coherent argument about the nation. They even have not taken the minimal pain to go over hard scientifically measurealble facts to base their side of analysis. Their whole mumbo jumbo is based on their own personal fatasies and grudges. Pure speculation. The guy here even does not know that comparing Iran to Turkey is like comparing apple with an orange. Turkey is a NATO ally and is in a partnership with west that it can not break. They have received more than 400 billion dollars in aid, trade favors and technology assistance from the western block since 1980. In addition to that Turkey being the ally has been favored with access to credit from western banks and today Turkey has a debt of more than 150 billion dollars all paid by western institutions. That is not all. Western borders are open to Turkish products and Turkey is making money. Sure Turkey pays a price for all this. They have to house American military units inside their country and have to allign themselves as per NATO demands of them. But Turkey is not Iran. 

Compare this to Iran, a country under sanctions for more than three decades. Was in war for almost a decade fighting western supported Saddam. Went through a revolution and God knows what else. Now the author comes here telling us Iran is an "underdeveloped rentier society" and Turkey is a developed nation. Huh. The fun for this fantasy man stops right there.

Lets see what facts are. The scientifically measureable truth.

Iran as per UN scores 18 places above Turkey in human development index, the single most important  criterion dividing developed countries from developing and underdeveloped. Iranian policies be whatever they are but Iran is not an underdevelped rentier society. The rentier society is the one which has to bow down to EU in order to win trade agreements and the next batch of military aid. Get facts right and the life becomes easier. 

Iran is world's fastest growing nation in science and technology, the ninth nation to be in space. Turkey even does not have a space program let alone launch vehicles. Yes, you can go to night clubs in Turkey and wear bikinis on sea shore but unfortunately for the guest these are not benchmarks by which a country is measured to be developed or under developed.

Iran is almost at par or around where Turkey is. With one or two exceptions eg. nuclear technology and space technology wherein Iran is ahead. As I rightly remember even Austria the birth place of this guy does not have space launch capability. So there you go. Iran is much more advanced scientifically than even your Austria. Already Iran is producing more science than Austria as per Science Metrix reports. If Iran is under developed then Austria is for sure in dark ages.

As for Iran and its ambitions and power around the world the author is well advised to do more reading. Iran is already incharge in Iraq. Almost all those people now in power corridors of Iraq were refugees in Iran and in all probability are getting their instructions from Tehran This is even admitted by US government officials. And yeah, Iran and all Iranians do aspire to be a world power. If this fact is not known to this "expert" then we all know what kind of expertise he has. The trajectory of Iranian power has been going up and up since 1953, nonstop and there is no reason to believe that this ascendence is coming to a stop.

About the green movement also I must say that again this expert is wrong. Green movement had some very good support in large Iranian cities in the beginning, but their failure was not because they did not formulate any  plan which ofcourse they did not. The main failure came because western powers started to support them publicly and this had its backlash in patriotic Iran. US officials coming out and saying we are helping green movement by giving them crack hack softwares only went as far but the notion of perception that this movement was being run from Pentagon had its effect on the support base inside Iran. The movement could have become a very powerful political party in Iran but they lost their chance to cheap momentary politics instead of having a long term goal. And a lesser failure was due to the fact that green movement failed to switch large segment of intelligentia to its side. Mostly because the arguments of the movement were very simplistic, slogan like and designed for emotional response from young people. The leaders of green movement never put forward a new ideology. Just shouting slogans of freedom might work in Egypt and cause the swing of intelligentia there but in Iran where people are much more educated this did not have the effect. You can not seriously imagine that some one who is doing cutting age research in Iran is going to be impressed by such sloganeering. The movement failed to create the ideological depth necessary to impress higher echelon of society towards which the rest of population look on as models. And one important thing contributed to this last point. During the 24 year rule of green movement leaders namely Khatami, Mosavi and Rafasanjani, some segment of society who behaved like gangs became very rich very fast creating an oligarchy in Iran with tycoons who would collude with each other criminally and swing the national economy to one side and the other almost over night making billions off the back of poor people. One day it was housing market the other day chicken meat and the next foreign currency market. These green leaders at that time did not control the phenomenon. Naturally that engineering research fellow who was being grinded inside such a huge economic mince machine at the time did not like it. The hard liners in Iran played a longer game in a very evil manner. They took their time and when they came to power started to funnel the money into research which was ultimately to benefit the hardliners. That engineering research fellow has been issued large grants for research to develop cyber monitoring software. He/She might be a very freedom loving guy but the large grant he is taking as well being able to work in a dignified workplace doing what he likes most prevails over his freedom instincts. During Rafsanjani's time this engineer had to leave behind engineering and become a real state speculator to provide for his family. Now he makes the monitoring software limitig freedom but his life is set. It is like that with other fields. According to some sources on internet Iran is pouring over 3.5 billion dollars per year into space research. The real amount no one knows. Now Iranian government fully knows that Iran will not need a very large space program and a small one is enough for the national needs. But the reason they are spending so much is because they want to hire a major portion of the intelligentia who might go critical of them. It is better to hire them as employee advising hardliners than having them on the street protesting against hardliners. This has done the trick. Infact Iranian government is so happy about this that they are expanding this program offering more research and high technology position to the society. Combine this with 60 billion dollar cash distributed among Iranians a major portion of them being poors, would eleminate two critical portion of the society without whose presence, no protest is going to succeed. The poor and lower middle class and the intelligentia/scientists. The rest of the population being upper middle class (whose taste for more freedom is not shared by the religious poorer people or hard studying scientists who prefer to stay at home anyways than go partying), become too isolated to be any force protesting the government. That is why there will be no Arab spring type protest in Iran. 


 Has he ever been to

by vildemose on

 Has he ever been to Iran???

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx


spatima how realistic is your hope?

by amirparvizforsecularmonarchy on

It's certainly not based on anything real.

Secular, 100%, yes, even reza shah could do that

Free... 50/50 chance if everyone was united behind a king for say 20 years at least, like the level iran reached by 1965.

Independent... 25/75 first we have to have freedom and then develop the leadership and cooperation that gives rise to no dependence.

Democracy... 0% so why even say it? 

Are you a calculating politician, like Baktiyar or Khomeini trying to inspire people and move them your way by giving them impossible to deliver promises of things they themselves want to hear. 

Or are you an adult, aware this is impossible in your life time and should not be thrown around so as to create dissapointent and pain among many people. Please get with my program and start by getting yourself educated about democracy and how it was implemented in the countries that did it successfully versus the 95% that suffer because of it.  Once you are educated about how the 5% reached it, you will be one less person misleading iranians and a source of thoughtful personal accomplishment.


outright bias

by spatima on

this article is just outright bias

the man has no clue on iran and he is constantly concentrating on turkey in order to assess iran. I have lived in turkey and it is an extremly religious society. i dont see them getting good press as a sign of success.

also he claims green movement doesnt touch ethnic minority issues and suddenly refers to europe and canada. very suspecious to me. according to this guy, one of the most improtant flaws of the green movement is not touching on minority rights, which is absolutly not TRUE. throughout the campaign (i am not green nor do i care but lets face the truth) karoubi and mousavi concentrated on the issue of minority rights. LET US not forget both INDIVIDUALS ARE from the minorities.



In hope of a Free, Independent, Democratic and Secular Iran