HISTORY FORUM: Shahin Fatemi on Iran's 100 Year Struggle for Democracy

HISTORY FORUM: Shahin Fatemi on Iran's 100 Year Struggle for Democracy
by Darius Kadivar

IRTV's Exclusive Interview with Dr. Shahin Fatemi head of the
department of economic studies of the American University in Paris. THe
subject of the discussion is centered on Iranian's Struggle for
Democracy and Secularism.( May 2009)

More on Fatemi's Bio Here

Related Blogs:

HISTORY IN FOCUS: Abbas Milani on Iran's Century Old Struggle for Democracy (Part I)

HISTORY IN FOCUS: Abbas Milani on Iran's Century Old Struggle for Democracy (Part II)

HISTORY FORUM: Elaine Sciolino The Elusive Faces of Iran (2001)

Abbas Milani a Lecture on On Modernity in Iran



more from Darius Kadivar

"We Don't Have the Culture of Democracy"

by Khar on

Mr. Fatemi is correct; and yes religion is one of the biggest elements which prevent us from building Culture of Democracy in Iran, the other 2 are Estebdaad (repression) and lack of social education.

Thanks Mr. Kadivar!



by Cost-of-Progress on

as practiced IS the cause for non-democratic societies. While the intent of religion and its doctrine 2000 years ago (or 1400 years ago for that matter) MAY have been noble, it is the people who have taken it and molded it according to their interests and benefits ever since religion was .....invented..

As noted by others, most religions are incompatible with democracy. Further, the notion of Western style democracy may prove to be impossible to achieve in Eastern (i.e., middle eastern) cultures. We must first learn to respect each other's opinon and rights before embarking to expand it as means of governance.

It is up to the people to disallow others to take advantage of them - If a country can take advantage of another due to it being ass backward - It most definitely will. Therefore, instead of blaming others for our short comings we need to rid ourselves of religious nonsense and superstiotion as well as repressive religious practices to allow us ALL to flourish.




I was multitasking while listening to it.  perhaps I misheard / misunderstood the clip. Thanks for clarifying.


I can see where you are coming from. however, in a radicalised atmosphere that is the entire middle-east, thought processes such as yourselves are increasingly difficult to preach. It will be met as something foreign, alien and something that belongs to the "imperial" west in order to control them.

Farah Rusta

Islam is undemocratic by nature

by Farah Rusta on

This is why it appealed to Dr Mossadegh and Dr Fatemi to form an ill-fated alliance with the spiritual leader of Fadaeiyan Islam, Ayatollah Kashani. 


Ali P.

To: Moosir

by Ali P. on

Dear Friend:

I listened to the same interview, and I didn't hear him say religion is THE cause [of us not having a democracy in Iran].

Shiia Islam, the way it is practised in Iran, is definately not compatible with a democratic society.

Secularism is one of the pillars of democracy.


When everything revolves around the religion (state sponsored religeous celebrations, death anniversaries of 11 Imams, teaching of religion in school curriculum, censorship of the press and publication on the pretext of blasphemy, state sponsored institutional sexism, imposition of religeous rules infringing upon civil liberties of all, perceiving the laws of the land as God's law, and not as 'manmade', calling certain people, and concepts "sacred" and "holy" and  somehow above-human,...etc.), it makes having a democracy very difficult.


Ali P. 


He says religion is the cause...


Well, I'll give him one example religion is not the cause:




I'm an athiest myself, btw but thinking that religion is the cause we are not practising democracy in Iran is pure nonsense.  

 The cause for such a retarded outlook of democracy is none other than westerm imperialism and their need for resources in the middle-east. Democracies dont come at the barrel of the gun or threats. Democracies evolve when a nation left to choose its destinity for itself.