Sam GhandchiFull Secularism or another Religious Republic

Sam Ghandchi


Persian Version


Referendum movement for the complete change of Iran's constitution is nearing a new stage.  Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) even before the end of the presidential elections, has started a new confinement for the activities of IRI reformists, because it sees compromise with the U.S., and does not see the need for the likes of Moin to perform the Islamic Democracy show []. It is a shame that the so-called reformists who encourage others to participate in the elections, and do not even protest the censorship and filtering of the secular web sites, when their own president is still in office, their own sites are also being filtered, and they change their site address, rather than clearly and openly standing up to this censorship all these years, and to defend this basic human right, and still dare to compare themselves with Dr. Mossadegh, let's move on.


The reality is that the future cabinet of Hojaltoleslam Rafsanjani, are from those so-called election competitors of his, who have been close to him all these years, and whether those inside Iran, and the others who have lived outside Iran, all these years have been after close relationship between the U.S. and IRI, and today Rafsanjani is speaking of the end of revolutionist approach and talks of start of understanding the reality of Globalization.  As if he and his entourage are telling the U.S., who is better than them, to make a Shi'a state similar to Iraq, in a close connection with the U.S., and with some U.S. politicians who see the main U.S. foreign policy in Middle East today, to be creating a balance between the Sunni and Shi'a regimes, are happy that Mr. Jafari and the new Iraqi regime are helping to wise up IRI.


The recent Iraq and Afghanistan experience vividly shows that in the Middle East, that if full secularism [] in state and education is not emphasized, again the religious-political forces, with or without the mollahs, will restore religious state and religious alliances, and in the best case, the result will be something like the moderated Communist state of China, and not the ending of the ideological state as it happened in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.  It is noteworthy that even some of the pro-referendum sites, systematically do not publish articles advocating full secularism.  But when a kind of religious democratic republic for the future is promoted, similar to Iraq's constitution, in Iran the irony is that Mr. Rafsanjani will say that he will promise that to the West and there is no need to end the Islamic Republic of the last 26 years to create this kind of republic.


The issue of not rejecting "religious state" and just rejecting "religious dictatorship" in the original call for referendum at the site of, that I had written about immediately after the publication of the call [], and unfortunately has still not been published on that site, today is clearly the problem, with the difference that today part of the U.S. politicians, see the creation of "Shi'a Islamic Democratic" states in the direction of the U.S. interests as the solution for Middle East, to balance the Sunni regimes, and although they have issues with what the Islamic Republic of Iran has been so far, but they think that either through part of Iran's opposition, or through a section of Iran's current regime, Iran can become U.S. ally by becoming a so-called Shi'a Islamic democracy.


Of course, as I have noted before, the West's discussion of Islamic Democracy is not something new, but this viewing of Shi'a unity in Middle East which is brought up by some U.S. foreign policy theorists is a new thing.


Why is such a thesis being brought up among some of the U.S. politicians?  The reason is that all these years they have seen that if the reformists inside the former Soviet Union such as Yeltsin, openly opposed Communism and praised the West, or even Gorbachev despite believing in Communism, his view of reform, was to praise the market economy of the West which was opposite to the Communist state economy, whereas the IRI reformists, even those who have come to the U.S. and have separated form their regime, still have not given up on political Islam, and furthermore and even one of the strong anti-IRI forces, the Mojahedin [], all these years, have raised the flag of political Islam.


Now in view of the above reality, those strategists, could either conclude that the leadership of political movement for future of Iran, are not these forces of  political Islam, but are the secular forces that many of them have come out from the heart of the religious forces, but today are *fully* secular, and mostly are in Iran's jails, or they could conclude to the contrary, that in Iran and the other Middle Eastern countries, the conditions are not right for full secularism.  The second conclusion is wrong, and it has taken shape, because of not having a proper understanding of the real Iranian opposition inside Iran, nonetheless it is a viewpoint that exists among some U.S. strategists, who have put their hope in some kind of "Shi'a Islamic Democracy" in Iran, Lebanon, and Iraq, and think of it as a balancing factor, even as a minority Shi'a presence in the political process of countries like Saudi Arabia.


The future of Iran is not any other religious republic, that proclaims official religion of the state, and gives special rights to the Shi'a clergy, basically sanctifying religious apartheid.  Iran's future is a futurist republic [] , which will be secular and democratic, and democracy without secularism in Iran and the Middle East, is impossible, just as in Europe and America it was, and it is surprising that those who prescribe religious state for Iran and Iraq, do not want to do the same in Europe!


Hoping for a Federal, Democratic, and Secular Futurist Republic in Iran,


Sam Ghandchi, Editor/Publisher


June 5, 2005



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