Vote: A Change of Mind


Setareh Sabety
by Setareh Sabety

It is difficult to change ones stance on an issue and not be accused of flip-flopping. It is especially hard to do here in where the comments can get especially nasty. However, I have never been the timid sort and as a veteran writer on this site, used to the trenches of the comment section, I have developed thick skin. Plus, I have a right to change my mind. If I did not have this right then campaigning till the last minute would be a worthless endeavor. Yet we see it happen in the best of democracies! So here I jump.

I have been moved by the show of daring and passion of the supporter of Karrubi and Moussavi to change my mind about voting. As some of you know I wrote an article a week or so ago claiming that I was uninspired by the choice of candidates, especially Moussavi, the main challenger to Ahmadinejad. I felt an ennui and weariness towards a theocratic system which I abhor. I felt too alienated and the candidates were too lackluster to make me want to vote in a system I do not deem democratic.

Now, do not get me wrong, I still abhor the system and the theocracy, I am not even sure if our votes get counted or if Moussavi gets elected he will not be politically impotent like Khatami before him. However, I now believe that we should vote as an act of support for the students and those who have taken these elections to revolutionary proportions. I salute those students,activists and supporters of change who have brought the nation to this fearless place where we had not been since '79 or maybe 18 Tir.

In June 2003 I felt the same way
I admired the students of Sharif University when they shouted 'marg bar diktator" when Ahmadinejad paid them a visit a year or so ago. I especially loved a photo of a nerd with thick glasses and beard holding a sign saying, "Rais jomhooreh facist, polytechnique jaay to neest!" I cannot help but cheer this youth. I cannot help and support them. This one is their battle and we should stand by them in solidarity.

These past few days I have been getting eyewitness accounts, clips, article and t.v. coverage of the fervor in Iran. The slogans themselves are enough to move you to want to support those who come out and shout them. One said by Karroubi supporters, brings tears to my eyes every time I repeat it, because it has been my biggest wish all of my adult life: "Hagh Zaneh Irani, Hejab Ekhtiari!" I cannot help but cheer for those people on the streets of Tehran who shout this out for me. My heart yearns to be with them.

What these mostly young and female supporters of change have done is to take these elections to revolutionary proportions and for that I salute them. No matter what happens. Whether or not these votes get fairly countd or a new president comes to power, I think it is worth it to vote as an act of support for these men and women. They have, with their fervor, turned the act of voting into an act of resistance worthy of undertaking.

For those of you ready to lynch me for flip-flopping remember this from my favorite founding father Tom Paine(I am paraphrasing): those who hold too dearly to their opinions risk becoming imprisoned by them.

I will end with another favorite chant heard on the streets of Tehran: "Marg bar Taliban cheh Kabol,cheh Tehran!"


Recently by Setareh SabetyCommentsDate
Car Crash
May 28, 2012
Oliver Stone's Son Converts to Islam
Feb 15, 2012
Ziba Nawak: Naked Solidarity
Dec 09, 2011
more from Setareh Sabety

I will vote if...

by JamshidNotLoggedIn (not verified) on

... and only if the people of Iran can vote for the supreme leader and for the members of the guardian council. Only then my vote would count and have any significance.

Until then I shall resign from voting for IRI's "mostakhdem", something that the IRI wants in order to keep the pour Iranian souls busy. This is how low we have fallen. To be happy with electing a "mostakhdem" into office.

IRI is educating us to be happy with the "least". This has been mollahs way for centuries.

If anyone objects, then how about a democratic vote for the "election" of the supreme leader instead of his mostakhdem?


Okey dokey

by tan foroush (not verified) on

And we'll hear in the future the denials of all these voting folks, just like we heard the denials of all those teary-eyed folks who welcomed to their bosoms that moon-faced Imam -- or, excuse me, it was the moon that was Imam-faced.

Ki bood, ki bood, man naboodam...


well said Kaveh Nouraee

by Anonym7 (not verified) on

"..That doesn't make you a flip-flopper, and even though I haven't changed my mind, your choice is respected ..."

Well said Kaveh, I thought I would never see a comment from you that I could say 'well said Kaveh'!

Jahanshah Javid


by Jahanshah Javid on

We all want this monster, this Islamic Republic, to disappear, to die, NOW! But if doesn't, maybe we could cut its claws, or break its teach -- just make it slightly less violent and menacing.


A friendly reminder!

by Anonymous Iraniam (not verified) on

Setareh: You have every right to change your mind and bash the Shah when everything else fails, but be careful when you base it on what you call an excellent book by Milani. Do you know about Milani's past and why he has a beef against the Shah? You may want to know about the man before you align your judgement with his kind.

There is an equally excellent review of the exact same book on the net by an academic that challenges his views. There can be lots of criticism of the Shah, however it is easy to criticize but hard to be in his shoes, specially of a sick dying man. His criticism, within the iranian society with the nasty characters that we have seen in the past 30 years, could be far far far more justified IF we could do better (even marginally) without him. Unfortunately we failed miserably without him - leftists, islamists, and intellectuals alike, none gave a damn about iran or iranians, but only wanted to seize power and control the wealth, and only one group succeeded in that venture, the mullas.


Beautiful piece!

by Monda on

Thank you Setareh. No one has said it better.


من رای نمیدهم

شهباز نخعی (not verified)

من رای نمیدهم، با آنكه عمیقا بر این باورم كه رای دادن نماد وجدان و اراده انسان در تعیین سرنوشت و شیوه اداره جامعه است. در جامعه ای كه شیوه اداره آن بر مبنای اراده یك فرد، كه خود را نماینده خدواند و مامور اعمال اراده او میپندارد، رای دادن چیزی جز مهر تایید زدن بر این روند ناروا و مشروعیت بخشیدن به آن نیست.
من رای نمیدهم، زیرا نمیخواهم مصداق گفته ماكیاول باشم كه میگوید: "مردم چنان ساده دلند و به قدری زیر نفوذ نیازهای آنی خود قرار دارند، كه همواره هر فریبكاری، فریب خورندگانی را پیدا خواهد كرد."
با ندادن رای، من فریبكاران را ناكام میكنم و فریب خورندگان را در اقلیت قرار میدهم.
من رای نمیدهم، زیرا صندوق رای را تجلی گاه شعور انسان میدانم. اگر بنا باشد صندوق رای به ابزار نفی شعور انسان تبدیل شود، این كار را توهین به شأن و شعور او دانسته و از شركت در آن خودداری میكنم.
من رای نمیدهم، چون چنته به اصطلاح نامزدها را آنچنان خالی میبینم كه به مصداق "قافیه چو تنگ آید ــ شاعر به جفتك آید" همه به سخیف ترین نوع یاوه گویی افتاده اند. یاوه هایی كه حتی كودكان دبستانی را نیز نمیفریبد.
من رای نمیدهم،تا به چهار نامزد تایید صلاحیت شده از طرف حكم حكومتی رهبر ــکه این روزها انواع وعده های غیرعملی و ناهما هنگ با ذات حكومت آخوندی را به مردم میدهند، بفهمانم آنقدر كه آنان و رهبرشان تصور میكنند، ساده لوح نیستم و این را میفهمم كه در واقع آنان نه نامزد بلكه خواستگارانی هستند كه به خواستگاری عجوزه قدرت ــ كه آن را دلبری فتان تصور میكنند ــ آمده اند و حاضرند همه شرایط تحقیركننده پدر یا قیم عروس، یعنی رهبر را نیز بپذیرند. با ندادن رای، من عدم اعتماد خود را به این آدم نماهای حقیر و دروغگو نشان میدهم.
من رای نمیدهم، زیرا به خلاف آنچه كه اصلاح طلبان حكومتی تبلیغ میكنند نظام حاكم بر كشورم را قابل اصلاح نمیدانم و این نظرم متكی بر تجربه های فراوان گذشته، از جمله 8 سال دو دوره ریاست جمهوری آقای خاتمی است.
من رای نمیدهم، چون در جبین كشتی سوراخ شده و در حال غرق نظام ولایت مطلقه فقیه ــ شامل همه جناح سازیها و جناح بازیهای آن ــ نور رستگاری نمیبینم و زندگی و آینده نسل جوان و نسلهای آینده كشورم را در گرو این خودداری از رای دادن میدانم.
من رای نمیدهم، تا نشان دهم كه راه خود را از وابستگان، نفع بران و مزدوران نظام جدا كرده ام.
من رای نمیدهم، تا به دنیا بویژه سیاستمداران فاسد، نفع پرست و طماع اتحادیه اروپا بفهمانم كه این نظام فاقد پایگاه مردمی و نظامی غاصب است كه با خدعه و تزویر، سركوب و جنایت و غارت و چپاول، بر سرنوشت ملتی بزرگ و با فرهنگ، با پیشینه ی تاریخی چند هزار ساله، حكومت میكند و نفع واقعی و درازمدت این كشورها در آن است كه به مردم ایران بپیوندند و به خواست دیرینه آنان كه آزادی، مردم سالاری و رعایت حقوق انسانی است، تن دهند.
من رای نمیدهم، تا لكه ننگ تروریست بودن را از پیشانی خود و هم میهنانم پاك كنم.
من رای نمیدهم، تا نشان دهم كه آنقدر شرافت و شهامت اخلاقی دارم كه به اشتباه و ندانم كاری بزرگ خود در 30 سال پیش در دادن رای در همه پرسی 12 فروردین ماه 1358 اعتراف كنم و از نسل جوان كشورم، كه هزینه های سنگین آن اشتباه بزرگ مرا میپردازند، پوزش بخواهم و طلب بخشایش كنم.
من رای نمیدهم، تا حكومت آخوندی آنطور كه رهبر معظم آن میخواهد "یكدست" شود و سپس آسان تر بتوان آن یك دست را از گلوگاه مردم بلادیده و مصیبت زده ایران قطع كرد.
من رای نمیدهم، تا با تایید ضمنی خود شریك جرم و جنایت ها و ظلم هایی كه یك اقلیت معدود به نام خدا انجام میدهند، نبوده و در پیشگاه وجدان و خداوند مورد بازخواست قرار نگیرم.
من رای نمیدهم، تا با وجود آنكه نه "انتخابات" ی در كار است، نه آنكه منصوب میشود اختیار و "ریاست" میدارد و نه ذات و ساختار نظام ولایت مطلقه فقیه هیچ تجانسی با "جمهوری" در مفهوم متعارف آن دارد، "انتخاب" ی واقعی داشته باشم. "انتخاب" این كه با گفتن یك "نه" بزرگ، فقدان مشروعیت نظام را به دنیا نشان دهم، با واداشتنش به تقلب هر چه بیشتر در انظار جهانیان رسواترش كنم و "علی را با حوض" متعفن اش كه كرمهایی در گنداب آن می لولند و به گمان باطل خود بر سرنوشت 70 میلیون انسان حكم میرانند، تنها بگذارم. برای من این "انتخاب" صد بار از مضحكه "انتخابات" ی كه نظام با انواع حیله و ترفند میخواهد مرا پای صندوق رای آن بكشاند، با ارزش تر است.
من رای نمیدهم، زیرا قرن بیست و یكم است، من ایرانی هستم و سرشتم با پذیرش ظلم، خواری و ذلت سازگار نیست.
من رای نمیدهم، زیرا . . .

Setareh Sabety

Darius Jan

by Setareh Sabety on

lol. I knew someone would say that. I am glad it was you who is an honest and kind monarchist (a rarity really) than Farah Rousta who is mean and petty and who hides behind a fake name. She should practice changing her point of view once in while. She seems to be parroting her daddy! We all need to grow up and change our minds once in a while. Listen to Tom Paine! I am proud of the fact that I do not adhere to any one ideology or party. most people are like me.

I was just reading Milani's excellent bio of Hoveyda and I thought of you. Next time you have a chance to meet Farah Pahlavi do ask why she refused to answer his questions regarding Hoveyda's arrest. These Pahlavis where not even kind to their most loyal and honest servants! Glad they are not in power lest you too, with your uncharacteristic-for-monarchists, honesty, would fare the same way poor Hoveyda had!
We need a little truth coming out of them for history's sake, now that 30years have passed and they will surely never return to power.

Farah Rusta

Suprised? Nope!

by Farah Rusta on

Given the author's well-established history of U-turns, the only surpise is why she didn't do it earlier?  Borrowing from Margaret Thatcher:

"U-turn if you want to; the lady IS for turning"'



Darius Kadivar

Hezbeh Baad ... ;0)

by Darius Kadivar on

To paraphrase Azar Nafisi regarding the American Elections of Obama VS Bush I would say "If you think its about Moussavi, Ahmadinejad, Rezaei or Karroubi ..."

Then your in Deep Trouble ...



Just Kidding Setareh Jaan ...



Anonymous Iraniam

by KouroshS on

I agree with you.

 Those who know and confess to the atrocities of this regime and yet think voting is the right move, based mainly on emotional reasons and nothing more, have basically adopted the Sookhtan va sakhtan philosophy , thinking that they have put themselves on the path to gradually acheive a democratic society, thinking that acting democratically would actually transform a system that is based fundamentally on undemocratic principles, into a democratic one. But as mollahs would say: Over my dead body, you will have your democracy.

 they are Lucky in a sense that there is not a uinted and solid opposition group leading the way in the fight against the IRI, so naturally nobody can stand in their way to remind them of the meaning of what they are doing. They have a burning desire to Change! things, So Burn baby, Burn!

 The sad thing about all of this is that, a majority of those young campaigners might not know precisely what they are campaigning for and it really depends on how one looks at things. Emotions and nice words and slogans spread like a wild fire so rapidly, and by the time they realize what they have done may not have been making the right choice, it is way too late.

We definitely will be having that conversation four years from now,


Somehow I feel "The genie

by hanooz omidvar (not verified) on

Somehow I feel "The genie has been let out of the bottle" and people will not be quite the same again. (I sincerely hope so... unless it all reverts to the usual suffocation)
Things will definitely not change overnight but millimeter by millimeter.
What really bothers me though is that I read somewhere: " I am voting for AN since he has increased my 'hoghoogh bazneshastegi', what more do I want, whatever else he is doing 'be man che' -- he is the best."!!

This mentality, which also exists all over the world, can bring down nations if there are not those few who care about the well being of others too.

--We must change our own mentality so that our children will learn too... maybe just maybe a little!

Good for you Setarh!


Herd mentality got to you;

by Anonymous Iraniam (not verified) on

IRI's "kheimeh shab baazi" worked. I have to admit that my emotions wanted to go ahead and help AN ousted, but my feet would not move forward and my heart would not permit. I saw Mousavi's "karnameh" couple of days ago and how many real people and real families were ruined when he was PM and he did not say as little as a word in condemning what was going on. My human heart cannot disrespect those families, who are probably still in mourning.

Besides, he can at best bring in a temporary relief in minor matters. Major issues of iranian society are fixed and cannot be changed in voting booths. Please read the recent interview of Batebi, imprisoned during Khatami regime, to see his eyewitness description of how thuggery goes underground during reformists but never loses its vigor.

Four years from now, we'll be here, discussing how disgusting he has been and how little iran has changed. That has been going on for thirty long years when dictatorships like Chile have turned into democracies but we are still discussing basics.

Haft shahre eshgh raa attaar gasht,
Maa hanooz andar khame yek koocheim.


That's it!

by IRANdokht on

Setareh jan you convinced me!

I am voting too ;-)



Dear "Setareh Sabety",

by MiNeum71 on

It' very important to try to go this one step, although I know it takes more than a vote for Mousavi to save Iran. I hope they don't spoil our hopes and dreams.



I am with you!

by Nady (not verified) on

Your change of mind made my mind up! I wasn't ready to drag myself to the City and vote as I think it has already been decided who will emerge as President! It is sad to think that way and not to have faith. And here you are with your honesty and care for the youth of our country you showed me the importance of my vote, not only I am going but I am encouraging others to do the same.


I always loved you

by Souri on

For your courage and your honesty. This time is no exception.

Thanks for being among us, we need more people like you in this site.

desideratum.anthropomorphized anonymous000

Setareh, I really

by desideratum.anthropomorph... on

feel my sleepless past few weeks campaigning have been paid off, and I sincerely mean this!  I know I didn't have the tiniest impact on your thinking as our cyber-encounter on your previous piece was very short and I didn't intend to change your mind but merely challenged you on some wrong analogy.  But, but, for some reason, I really now feel content with the way I spent the past three weeks.  Good for you for being so honest and treu to yourself!

Niloufar Parsi

Setareh jan

by Niloufar Parsi on

nice one :)

Anahid Hojjati

Dear Setareh, you are right to change your mind

by Anahid Hojjati on


Setareh jan, you said it best in your blog:"What these mostly young and female supporters of change have done is to take these elections to revolutionary proportions and for that I salute them."

We need more writers like you on this site who are flexible to change their minds and then write about it too.




by keivonk on

this isnt flip flopping, this is being brave enough to keep an open mind and evaluate the stance of those who may have opposing ideas and thoughts from your own.

we live in this system, this reality, and we have to do the best with what is available to us, even if rejecting the entire system and not participating seems like the best option.

Thank you!


Kaveh Nouraee

Ms. Sabety

by Kaveh Nouraee on

You are exercising your right to change your mind.

That doesn't make you a flip-flopper, and even though I haven't changed my mind, your choice is respected and anyone who tries to "lynch" you will have just have to suck an egg.




I congradulate you for your courage and honesty.  Not to change one's mind and remain of the same opinion for ever is more likely an indication of not thinking, if not of being an outright zombie!!  You observed and engaged honesty and passionately with the events of the past weeks and had the moral fibre and intellectual rigour to change your mind.  Warm regards, hamvatan.



I agree

by Anonymous Everyday (not verified) on

I wasn't planning to vote. Like most of us I felt frustrated with the choice between a superstitious incompetent liar who is soooo stupid that it almost seems courageous, and the so called reformist who knows what to say yet is backed by some of the most corrupt members of the establishment.

However as I see the conviction of our youth in Iran I too have decided that I will vote, not for me, but for our students. The least I can do is help them get what they want. I will vote on Friday in the hope that it is a step in the right direction.

Big Boy


by Big Boy on

ROCK THE VOTE, BABY!!!!  Just do it.

As long as there is "hope" for a better future, Iranians cannot and must not stand on the sidelines of life and just be silent observers.

Oh and no lynching for flip-flopping you big flip-flopper. :)  In fact, good on you for being brave about it and doing the right in ROCKING THE VOTE!