Sunday, January 30, 2011

Two Iranian Dissidents Disagree On Egypt

By Barry Rubin

While his view is not the same as mine, I respect the arguments made by Mir Hossein Mousavi, leader of the democratic opposition in Iran (without romanticizing his moderation excessively) and think they are worth considering. But then check out the very cogent points made by an Iranian dissident blogger.

There are two different Iranian models for what's happening now. I am not saying that anyone is consciously thinking in these terms; this is just from the point of view of outside analysts:

--The Iranian revolution of 1978-1979: That is, a protest movement that evolves into a new Islamist dictatorship.

--The Iranian rebellion of 2009: That is a democratically minded protest movement which was repressed.

Both were against dictatorships. But, of course, in each case left a radical Islamist regime on power. Ironically, if the Egyptian rebellion fails it can easily be romanticized and is more like 2009; if it succeeds, the outcome could be very bad and more like 1979.

His January 28th statement is as follows. The translation is unofficial and Mousavi is not responsible for it:

"The Middle East is at the brink of great events that could affect the future of the nations of this region and the rest of the world. Certainly the ultimate aim of what is happening is the disruption of the unjust order....

"Today the Iranian people's slogan of “where is my vote” is echoed in the slogan of “the people demand the overthrow of the regime” in Cairo, Suez and Alexandria...."

After hinting that Egypt's regime was tyrannical like that running Iran today, he concludes:
"Our nation admires the glorious revolution of the people of Tunis and the uprising of the people of Egypt and Yemen and other nations in the region to attain their rights."

Now, here's a dissident Iranian blogger:

"I would like to remind people that after the 1979 revolution in Iran, the secularists and the various religious groups united to form a coalition government. Within a year, the Islamic Republic party (two of the members of which were Rafsanjani and Khamenei) completely took control and turned Iran into a totalitarian state in the guise of a so-called 'Islamic' republic that took away many of the hard-earned rights that Iranians had gained in the last century. This regime is still in power in Iran today, executing opposition members and Iranian citizens who dare oppose them.

"I would like to remind people that when Khomeini came to Iran he promised freedom, democracy and human rights. As we are seeing today—with people telling us not to worry about the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt— in Iran in the early days of the revolution people said the same about Khomeini and his minions."

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