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The future Iran

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Iran protest
On July 25 2009, the protest against Ahamedinejad and Khamenei Iranian regime has organized a day of international support to the demonstrations for democracy and freedom. Demonstrations which continue day after day, despite the many young people arrested tortured and killed in the prisons of the regime. The boys and girls on the streets have changed forever our perception of Iran, even if we don't know yet what kind of future the country will have.
Iran is not exactly a dictatorship as normally imagined by common sense. The form of government rose to power with the Khomeini revolution of 1979 is an Islamic theocracy headed by the "Supreme Guide", the Ayatollah, a sort of priest-king, who until 1989 was Khomeini and now is Khamenei, but also has a president and a parliament elected by the people. In practice, the Iranian regime has survived for 30 years based on the consensus of the population. The same could be said of all present and past dictatorships, but if we want to compare Iran to any western example we should see it as a populist regime. The defense of the moral and of Islamic society against western decadence and imperialism, but also for years against communism, and support for the Arab world against Israel have been for three decades the pillars on which the regime has built up its base of consent. 
The previous government of the Shah was in fact closely tied to the United States and Great Britain, to which it had guaranteed large oil concessions. Even if the Shah promoted the secularization of society and the rights of women, his government fiercely persecuted opponents while the country's economic situation deteriorated. The rebellion against him first arose in Marxist circles, then extended to the Islamic religious movements, which ended up taking the upper hand. With the application of Sharia law were banned prostitution, gambling, alcohol, persecuted homosexuals and eliminated women rights. Soon began the war against Iraq, largely financed by the Russians and Americans, who hoped that Khomeini and Saddam will annihilate each other. Instead, the war ended in 1988 and Iran began a slow journey to establish more normal relations with the rest of the world, especially with the European Union and Russia. The main trading partners of Iran are in fact now Germany and Italy. 
A significant part of the Iranian population, especially the most educated, has always lived with a lot of suffering the prohibitions and the repression of the theocratic regime. That, however, has enjoyed the support of the most traditional and poor of the people, which in part benefits from Islamic social institutions. 
What happened after the recent elections is perhaps an irreconcilable rift between the population that supports Ahmadinejad and the religious institutions and the part that would like a different Iran, not exactly capitalist and westernized, but certainly more open to the rest of the world and more secular. It's difficult to say whether this second part of the population will be able to really change the country. So far, the most ferocious repression has failed to break it, and there are also clear signs of weakening of the regime, now unlegitimated in the eyes of the world and a large part of his own people.
The Iranian demonstrators have obtained a very important result, however things go. Now the Western public opinion, especially in Israel, the United States and Great Britain, historical enemies of the Iranian regime, is compelled to see Iran in a different way. Not as a country of religious fanatics willing to follow their leaders to the folly of atomic war, but also as the country of boys and girls who use computers, listen and play music, and are willing to take to the streets and also to die for freedom. Now the West knows that the Iranians are not enemies, because we saw that many of them are men and women like us.

Francesco Defferrari 
Last Updated on Saturday, 25 July 2009 09:43  
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