A Short Note about Dr. Sanjabi & Iranian Liberals
یاداشتی کوتاه درباره دکتر سنجابی و لیبرالهای ایران
I want to explain at the beginning of this
article that my goal is not to discuss about the monarchist opposition of Iran
but my goal is to review a topic of Iranís recent history. The reason of
writing this note is because
For a few years, I have avoided to discuss the
monarchist and mojAhedin groups of Iranian opposition. Nonetheless when during
Let me emphasize that my goal is not to view Shah's era in an unfair way. There is no doubt that the intellectuals were not in power during the Shah's time and the monarchist functionaries were in power, thus it is obvious that for the failures, basically the intellectuals or people of Iran cannot be responsible, when Shah's regime did not let them participate in power, for us today to see responsible for failures or successes or to condemn them. Nonetheless I should note that this legal reality of opposition or the people does not make them clear of all faults in general. To be a democrat, when a force is in opposition and not in power, is not a big deal, whether then or now.
For example, religious intellectuals of Iran during the Shah's time were in opposition and talked a lot about democracy, but when with the start of Islamic Republic they rose to power, they did not act democratically. I mean if we are going to be fair, we should say that if the leftist or nationalist or futurist intellectuals had come to power, the outcome might not have been much better. Even in my own experience with a limited number of leftist, nationalist and futurist web sites outside Iran, those who were able to control the publishing facilities, even in web sites that I had played a role in founding them or in their development, when they do not even hold political power, they censored me, and pretended their action as an editorial issue.
Thus my critique of monarchy does not mean that I imagine the other political ideological currents as angels. In fact, one good result of decades of activities of various Iranian political forces during the times of Islamic Republic at various international enterprises is the fact that various political forces have shown themselves as to ho for the sake of political and ideological differences even in the area of professional work, and even outside Iran, they discriminate, instead of being professional, and this issue impacts the judgment of opinion leaders about various forces, regardless of how much verbal compliments of unity and friendship is talked about. People are much smarter than thought to think of these *political* practices as personal or trade related issues and not to see that because of political and ideological discriminations that still weighs like an evil ghost devouring the Iranian spirit and imprisons the freedom of expression even outside Iran where it is not the filtering of Islamic Republic as the cause of all censorship and animosity with the freedom of expressing political and ideological thoughts.
But the issue of monarchy is not equal to the discussion of how the intellectuals and various shades of ideological leanings abide by democracy, rather the issue is about restoring a specific system of government for Iran. The reality is that even in Cambodia, with a king like Norodom Sihanouk in the opposition, who had been overthrown by a coup and not by a revolution, and although always being a democrat and supporting social justice, still today the restoring of monarchy in that country is a failure for democracy and not a success, and his son is not a bad person, but because of the system of monarchy itself in a backward country with all its entourage, monarchy is not able to be any better in practice, and has become the symbol of failure of all the endeavors of Cambodia to reach a free and modern society.
In other words, in the best case today the endeavors to restore monarchy in the forms of constitutionalism and democracy, in backward countries, the result is not like the European Spain, in a continent where democracy has been dominant for centuries, rather it is a negative experience of another defeat for democracy in Asia where in most parts of its the presence of dictatorship is weighing heavily all over that continent. The activists working to achieve democracy in Iran, cannot spend their energy and strength in the futile attempts to change the system of republic back to monarchy in Iran, rather the endeavors to overthrow the religious and dictatorial existing state and creating a secular, democratic and futurist system where even the framework of classical republics is not sufficient to express it let alone the restoration of the 50 year monarchy of Pahlavi which is miles behind the needs of our times, although any individual has a right in the opposition to still pursue the restoration of monarchy or constitutional monarchy, or like mojAhedin still to pursue another form of Islamic government.
To acknowledge this right and to respect it means democracy, and I respect the right of monarchists and mojAhedin to freedom of thought, and I hope they also respect my right to have an opposite view, and not to want to force me by personal attacks to spend my time with issues, that in my opinion no longer have any importance for the political discourse of the future change of Iran. In advance, I thank democratic-minded monarchist individuals like Daryous Homayoun and Dr. Shaheen Fatemi who in practice have respected the views of others all these years and have distanced themselves from suppression and distressing the other parts of Iranian opposition.
As a result it is clear that my issue is not personal or
else I would not mention these two monarchist opposition personalities of
Iranian political arena with such praises. What in my opinion about
moanrchy and mojAhedin in the present movement of Iran has any significance from
a theoretical standpoint, I had written three years ago
About Dr. Sanjabi's Position at the Time of 1979 Revolution
I see some of the people in our new youth
movement blame a lot of the failures of
At the time, I introduced him to Alvin Toffler's book "The Third Wave" and he introduced me to a book called "The True Believers" by Eric Hoffer. Since then, I read Eric Hoffer's book and found it to be one of the best descriptions of the fundamentalist fanatic movements such as Hitler's fascism, Stalinism, and Khomeinism. I also found his concise description of why Jebhe did not have much following to be real accurate.
The reality is that the Iranian intellectuals
basically were leftists ever since the rise of Reza Khan to power. The rise of
Reza Khan meant the defeat of the melli forces who in cooperation with part of
the clergy were running the state ever since the defeat of Mohammad Ali Shah's
bombardment of majles. At the time, Mossadegh resisted the Reza Shah's taking
the three branches of power in his hand. It was the time, when Reza Khan would
take the representatives of majles and threaten them to support his plan. At
any rate, the defeat of the nationalists and liberals at that time shifted the
main body of Iranian intellectuals towards the left. This reality can be best
seen after the fall of Reza Khan in
The fall of Mossadegh's government in the
On the eve of Iranian
Only after the
Frankly even to this day, I think the majority of
Iranian political intellectuals are still the leftists. Even inside Jebhe Melli,
the portion of activists who are leftist in their leaning is the most. One
can easily see it on the way they address Israel where their position
is mostly the standard Islamist and leftist position of seeing it from the angle
of Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
and to side with the Palestinians in that conflict
Even when some of the leftists are calling for
modernism today, they still talk like the religious reformers who want to reform
their Marxist religion rather than going out of the leftist shell altogether.
The same is true about the way they address the United States and the West in
Jebhe Melli is not a party and it is made of individuals who basically are united around the issue of *independence* of Iran, rather than being united on the basis of a liberal ideology, and this is why they are called *melli* and not* liberal*, although fortunately the leadership of it has been mostly in the hands of the liberal factions such as Dr. Sanjabi whom I would consider a social-democrat.
Blanket condemnation of Jebhe Melli for all that
has gone wrong in
In short, the Iranian intellectuals on the eve of
Now in a situation like this, what were the
choices for Dr. Sanjabi and Jebhe Melli on the eve of
Moreover, as far as Dr. Sanjabi and Jebhe, would it make a real difference if he had sided with Bakhtiar. My answer is "no". The Iranian intellectuals really hardly cared about what he or other Jebhe leaders were saying at that time. The only reason that Shah was trying to make deals with Jebhe was because Shah knew that they had some connections with Khomeini and also because Shah had the illusion that Jebhe had much following among the Iranian intellectuals. Shah did not know that because of the oppression of his own government and closing of every political association inside Iran, he had made the Jebhe Melli and similar groups irrelevant and had paved the way for success of the Islamists who had the traditional organization of masjed to use and had no other political organization of the opposition to compete with them, thanks to Savak. And the truth was that the Iranian secular intellectuals were leftists and not liberal at that time and hardly listened to anything Jebhe would say.
So it is a false analysis on one side to assume
Jebhe Melli as a powerful force on the eve of
Hoping for a democratic and secular futurist republic in Iran,
February 24, 2007
Futurism vs Terrorism
ایران آینده نگر: آینده نگری در برابر تروریسم
For a Secular Democratic & Futurist Republican Party in Iran