The continuation of the process of reform in contemporary Iran depends on finding a space for criticism in the country’s new political culture. Critical thinking has been the cornerstone of modernity. As such, a fundamental priority for cultural life of Iran remains the acceptance of a healthy tradition of criticism. For a nation with little official appreciation for such tradition, however, achieving this end is neither easy nor without conflicts.
Article 27. Gatherings and demonstrations, without carrying arms, are allowed provided that they do not harm the tents of Islam and public interest and rights of others.
Article 28. Every individual has the right to choose his/her own occupation provided that the activity is not against Islam and public interest and the rights of others. The state is obliged to give all individuals equal opportunity to enter into various occupations in the light of societal needs for various types of employment.
The leaders of Iran’s reformist movement, emphasizing freedom as one of the three basic principles of the Islamic Revolution of 1979 (the other two being national sovereignty and an Islamic republic), underlined the need for the promotion of democratic institutions within the framework of the Islamic Republic’s constitution. Reformists advanced the idea that meaningful political reform, expressed as “political development” (tose’eye siasi) in contemporary Iranian political discourse, is only realized when individual and social freedoms and rights of people are met. When people are allowed to take part in the process of decision making and setting the future course of their society, obstacles facing the formation of political parties and organizations and professional and cultural formations are removed, freedom of thought, expression and publication are recognized, the doors of the parliament and municipal councils are open to all citizens and information is disseminated without censorship and misrepresentation.
Nonetheless the insistence on the need for people, in all aspects of their lives, to be guarded or shepherded by a body of people who know better because of their religious authority is being contested in Iran today not only by many lay intellectuals but also some leading clerics.
Iranian creative arts have, in many ways, exceeded expectations and have succeeded to communicate important messages beyond the limitations of censorship. In fact, Iranian artists have often left many international festivals and societies of arts in awe for creating exceptional arts despite all the restrictions of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
What becomes interesting in the WikiLeaks debates is that Arab authorities have chosen to privately communicate their fear of Iran with the US while publicly behaving otherwise. As follows, taking a close look at the current Wikileaks debates a number of important questions come to mind: Why have Arab authorities expressed their concerns about the nuclear capabilities of Iran through private correspondence with the US? Why are they still refraining from making public statements in regards to WikiLeaks documents? It is, indeed, essential to refer to socio-political analysis in seeking responses for the aforementioned question.
To say that the Persian Gulf is Arabian Gulf is not a simple matter and it certainly triggers national pride against external forces such as the US and Arab nations among millions of Iranians who may or may not oppose the current government in Iran. While millions of Iranians are frustrated with President Ahmadinejad’s repressive policies and seek social, political and economic justice, they will not allow external forces to violate their national pride. Throughout history Iranians are notorious for their persistence in keeping the borders of Iran intact against foreign enemies and the Iranians of today are no exception to this long history of patriotism.
“I could understand Nasrin’s passion to be a lawyer and she was working hard To become a lawyer in Iran, you have to work with a lawyer who has 10 years experience. After 2 years of that they can approve you and you take the bar exam and you can be an independent lawyer.” In 1995, she took and passed the bar exam successfully. The previous year, Nasrin married Reza Khandan, who supported her efforts and continues to stand by her, through their ongoing traumas.
Sixty six year old Mehrangiz Kar is a modest and soft spoken woman; her inner strength and power are not immediately obvious. Yet this Saturday, December 11th, Kar will be honored with the ‘Activist of the Year’ award at the American Islamic Congress’ (AIC) annual East Meets West benefit. Sitting in her small unadorned office at Harvard’s Kennedy School, Kar calmly relayed the past 40 years of her life, a story she described as “full of sadness and a ruined family life.”
A government that is formed by a revolution has both written and unwritten agreements when it comes to the rights of its citizens. If a revolution has formed itself vis-à-vis the intentions of seeking independence and eradicating imperialism the government has also given itself the right to define what the boundaries and even acceptable limits of each citizen are and should be, in order to defend the grounds of the Revolution. A prime example of such a government is Zimbabwe. Many years ago, Robert Mugabe, the current president of Zimbabwe, was the portrait of a revolutionary standing up to the West.