Four years ago, the first election of Khatami to presidency meant that Iranian people turned the table on the Islamic Republic, and even within the confines of IRI’s selections, they voted for the one who was not the regime’s #1 choice, in that election.


That was the beginning of a process which could end up in people's movement finding its *real* leaders and not the ones selected by the establishment, such as Khatami. This is why the regime got scared and the killing of Foruhars was regime's attempt to stop such a process. 


But the killings backfired and even the regime was forced to admit the killings as the work of its own intelligence service agents, and even had a trial of these agents, although behind closed doors, after the mysterious suicide of their lead hit-man, Saeed Emami, who had worked for the regime for years making Hoviyat programs on Iranian TV to discredit Iran’s opposition.

The Students Uprising of July 9th, 1999 was the first popular movement, which showed beyond doubt that killings of Foruhars and writers, not only did not stop the ones who want real change in Iran, but it has made them more determined, when seeing the reformist regime did not even work hard to protect its own friends, let alone guaranteeing the protection of real opposition, as one would expect of a real reformist regime.


The Students were vocal about their demands for change in Iran, and the regime was also  very clear in its attack on them.  The vigilantes attacked, killed, and wounded the students ,and many of the student leaders were arrested, but Khatami threatened the students to discontinue or get the stick, and some of the student leaders are still in Islamic Republic’s dungeons, have been forced to TV pseudo-confessions, and the like.  But even the TV confessions have backfired on the regime, making its image more like that of  Savak confessions of this regime’s predecessor, Shah’s regime, which Iranian people still remember.

In the new election, Iranian people voted for Khatami, although this time, he was the regime’s #1 choice.  People voted for him to choose the lever evil among the candidates and preferred to do this than boycott when they did not see any serious alternative yet. 


In July 2001, Khatami’s government that has just come to its second term, with a strong vote, in its first test after its second term, is backing off from the permission for the anniversary demonstrations of the  18th of Tir, and the students are not giving up on their demonstration against Islamic dictatorship and for a democratic and future_oriented government through a referendum

Tomorrow’s rally is very important because this is where Iranian people are making a decision as to what they accept as a reformist system.  One can call a system anything one wants, reformist or what, but how a system treats its students’ right to have a rally in commemoration of the events, that has made many of them killed, wounded, and imprisoned, says a lot about the reality of the second round of Khatami’s government.

One thing that is for sure, is that two years after the 18th Tir Students Uprising, the Iranian people have found so many new leaders, that are neither from the past nor selections of IRI.  Just looking at the names of the ones in IRI prisons, or newly released prisoners shows how unsuccessful the regime was that by killings the Foruhars and writers, and by killing the dissidents abroad, it could deprive the Iranian people of leadership to oppose it. 


These are new leaders who are neither with MojAhedin nor with Monarchy.  They are the independent new force that Iranian progressive people have created, and they are getting stronger and stronger, and the attacks of regime’s vigilantes, will only make this force more aware as to how to form a democratic and future_oriented Republic of Iran.

Two years ago, Ayatollah Khatami was so slow to bring the murderers of Foruhars to justice, but was swift to threaten suppression of the Students Pro-Democracy Uprising.  Let’s see how he will do this time around.  Is there still hope that Khatami to act like deClerk when the Apartheid regime of South Africa was being abolished? Is there any reason to hope that the movement of Iranian people for a referendum for a secular state not to be crushed by Khatami himself?  Time will tell. 


Today is a critical juncture for both the Iranian people and Khatami, and his faction, in making a decision as to what kind of program they will go for, as the hopes for the reform of Islamic Republic is fading away with suppression of the students and with every new stoning by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

These are tough times, especially for the ones who are facing the vigilantes on the streets of Iran and are facing torture and forced confessions in the Evin prison. I believe any help for the progressive students movement in Iran has never been as timely as now.  The cornerstone of the current movement in Iran is the separation of state and religion which can only happen now, by the abolition of the Islamic Apartheid state in Iran and by forming a democratic and future_oriented Republic of Iran.

Long Live the Pro-Democracy Movement of the Iranian People,


Sam Ghandchi, Publisher


July 8, 2001








* The above article was first posted on SCI (soc.culture.iranian) Usenet newsgroup on July 8, 2001


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