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IRAN: Arab media looks at the revolt

June 21, 2009 |  8:51 am

Khamenei-ali_cp__10300709 Here's a take on how the Arab pundits are looking at events in Iran.

In an article titled "The Velvet Revolution," Al Dustour columnist Wael Abdul-Fattah says he believes the unrest in Iran shows that the Islamic Revolution no longer fits the country's new generations:

"Khamenei wants the revolution to be reformed according to his own perspectives. Iranian demonstrators are not angry at the forged elections as much as they are enraged by Khamenei's will to enforce his absolute power over the country.

"Unlike Ayatollah Khomeini, Khamenei can't control the minds and hearts of the Iranian population through masses of hardliners who are willing to give up their rights for the sake of unity against the possible Western and American enemy. For years, Khomeini and his successors manipulated the masses by deluding them with expected confrontations with the West. But after thirty years of the revolution, younger, educated and religiously-moderate generations can't be deluded anymore. These generations are seeking explanations for why they are culturally, religiously and politically suppressed. They want to know where their great Islamic republic is. Why unemployment and inflation rates are high and where did all the oil revenues go. That's why the current dissent is coming from inside Iran rather than anywhere else."

Another article titled "Iranian Mullah's Democracy," by Mohamed Fouad in Al-Ahram, looks at it like this:

 "Even if we turn a blind eye to the elections' fraud allegations, how can you call the Iranian elections democratic if Ahmadinejad had around 8 million guaranteed votes before starting his campaign? Those votes come from members of the Revolutionary Guard and the Basij militias, whose loyalty is only for hardliners in the regime and they vote for whoever Khamenei favors. This is a major flaw in the Iranian constitution.

"Khamenei, who is considered the country's supreme leader, showed his subjectivity when he came out to congratulate Ahmadinejad for winning the elections even before the results were officially announced. He clearly looked like the conservatives' leader rather that the whole country's leader. This episode of Iran's history can only show one thing, that the Islamic Republic never had any form of democracy."

Abdul-Rahman Al-Rashed, of Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, wonders how the Iranian standoff will end:

"What will this uprising lead to? Would Khamenei accept the fact that repeating the elections is a must? Would he accept [opposition leader Mir-Hossein] Mousavi as president if the latter wins? Will the Revolutionary Guard counterattack and take over the country in the face of what they can call a 'foreign conspiracy'? I believe that none of the above will happen simply because there are no signs of any crack within neither the military nor security administrations. The uprising can never go any further without either of these two administration's support and that is yet to happen."

"There will be a change of course but not a change of the regime or anything near it. But Iran will change because the hardliners are still accusing demonstrators of treason. Those hardliners failed to understand that 60% of their population are not a product of the revolution and they have different perspectives and ambitions."

-- Amro Hassan in Cairo

Photo: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Credit: Associated Press