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Monday, 05 February 2018 10:09

Wind of change over Iran amid Revolution anniversary

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By Azer Ahmadbayli 

Based on Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's recent TV speech regarding the upcoming 39th anniversary of Khomeini’s accession to power and the fall of the Shah’s regime, he seems to be one of the strongest supporters of the Islamic Republic.

During his speech, Rouhani warned the country’s leadership against ignoring people’s discontent and demands, otherwise it might suffer the fate of the last Iranian Shah.

“The Shah did not listen to the people’s advice. The voices of reformists, advisers, academics, elites and intellectuals have not been heard,” he said.

This makes President Rouhani one of the most forward-looking Iranian politicians trying to break the environment that can cause irreversible consequences. Thanks to that, he seems to be the most dangerous figure in the eyes of those who, by definition, wish to topple the current regime.

He also seems to have a good memory, as he well remembers what the delay in the long-overdue changes could lead to.

Rouhani’s address reminded one of the last public speeches made by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in late 1978, when he addressed people of Iran, on the threshold of the Revolution: “I have heard your voice… I make a commitment to be with you and your revolution against corruption and injustice in Iran”, meaning that he was prepared to practically change things in the country, but there was no time left. In February 1979 people took it to the streets, chanting “death to Shah”.

Late last year we witnessed similar slogans yet again, chanted on Iranian streets.

The increasing incidents of acts of aggression towards clerics on the streets of different Iranian cities have taken place. Some of them have been recorded on video and published online.

There are also sharp comments and images in social networks, mocking the clerics.

“Poor Iranian youngsters who have to get up every morning in the cold weather and get to workplace, you should keep in mind that a group of clerics sleep in religious seminaries. Not only they [clerics] do not need to go to anywhere, they even receive money on a monthly basis,” user @un00sha tweeted.

That is, how tasty the Revolutionary freebie is.

The past several weeks, a spontaneous campaign against the compulsory law for women to cover their heads with a scarf (hijab) has also been gaining momentum in Iranian cities. Since the beginning of the protests, up to date 29 women were arrested for the violation of the law. People called them “girls of the Revolution Street”. The amazing thing is, even some traditionalists coated in hijab to take part in the campaign, saying that every woman should have the right to choose.

Getting back to Rouhani, without pointing finger on Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) directly, he also voiced his concerns about its destructive role in the country’s economy.

“They were scared of the unarmed government. [How about now that] we have given the economy to a government that is armed with guns as well as with media outlets? It is armed with every means available and nobody dares to compete with it,” Rouhani said.

“If information, guns, money, newspapers, news agencies and other hallmarks of power and authority combined into a single institution, its managers would have been prone to corruption, even if they were [Prophet Muhammad’s companions] Abuzar and Salman,” Rouhani said.

What were the ideals being the foundation of the Islamic Revolution and where are they now?

President Rouhani is trying to answer this question and to breathe in new life into a tired body of the Revolution. He is himself its adherent, but he sees that use of gray schemes in the country’s banking sector, unreasonably privileged position of clerics at the expense of others, misuse of power and excessive advantages given to and taken by the Revolutionary Guards Corps, etc. – all of that is creating tensions in Iranian society, in addition to the complicated external circumstances.



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