Friday, January 11, 2008

Reformists before Parliamentary Elections in Iran

Farideh Farhi frets that, in the run-up to the next parliamentary elections, "the 'successes' the conservatives have had in defending Iran’s 'national sovereignty' and standing tall on the nuclear issue will be touted with a constant reference to those who were ready to give in on the question of enrichment out of fear" ("If Americans Are Wise They Would Not Meddle in Iran's Affairs," Informed Comment: Global Affairs, 11 January 2008).

The problem is that, in this case, hard-liners have a point: reformists indeed tried to argue that the Ahmadinejad administration in particular and hard-liners in general were putting Iran in danger by their refusal to compromise on Iran's national rights and that Iran ought to appease the empire by suspending uranium enrichment (see Majeed Naghdi, "Trading the National Rights of Iranians for Factional Gain," MRZine, 2 December 2007). That position was neither principled nor, as it turned out, politically smart.

Reformists might have, instead, focused on the cost of living first and civil rights and liberties second, seeking to win back working people who once voted for them, while defending Iran's sovereignty as vigorously as their political competitors. But that is not in their nature.

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