Iran’s dubious celebration

Reporters without Borders said 860 journalists were arrested in the 30 years following the 1979 revolution, including three who were executed.
Sunday 17/02/2019
People march around a truck bearing a large poster with pictures of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (R) and late Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. (Reuters)
People march around a truck bearing a large poster with pictures of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (R) and late Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. (Reuters)

As it celebrates the 40th anniversary of its revolution, Iran marks a dangerous turn in the history of the region. Four decades of sectarian politics and aggressive regional policies have not improved the lives of Iranians nor earned Iran the confidence of its neighbours.

The regime’s Manichaean worldview leaves no room for compromise or coexistence with other nations. Couched in an “Islamic” and “revolutionary” narrative, it sees endless enemies at home and abroad.

Tehran’s chronic paranoia drives its relentless arms race, including the pursuit of nuclear and missile programmes. It drives it to crack down on internal criticism and dissent, which it systematically describes as the result of external conspiracies.

Reporters without Borders said 860 journalists were arrested in the 30 years following the 1979 revolution, including three who were executed.

With its rejection of the excesses of the shah and the many promises it made to Iran’s poor, the Khomeini-led uprising had a base of popular support but the promises the regime could not keep and its repressive behaviour laid bare the disingenuous intentions of the “revolutionary” leaders.

Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi said: “In my view, it’s very likely because, at the beginning of the revolution, 90% of the Iranian population wanted this regime and now, if you take another poll through free elections, you will see that 90% of people don’t want the regime anymore.”

When running for president in 2017, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, then mayor of Tehran, said the ruling political class had the support of just 4% of Iranians.

The whole clergy-dominated political class, hardliners and reformers alike, provokes despair from ordinary Iranians. Time for a change.

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