Voice from the Commonwealth Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts
"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams
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Light posting today. Go read this. A look at the origins of Iran's reformist movement.
The confrontation between the reform movement and the conservative establishment that has dominated Iranian politics over the past six years is regarded by many political analysts as having reached a watershed. The refusal of hard-line clerics who control the commanding heights of government to allow further reforms, coupled with President Mohammed Khatami's reluctance to confront the clerical establishment, has led some to predict the rise of a "third force" in Iranian politics - the disaffected public, particularly the youth - and the eventual demise of the regime.
One problem with this type of analysis is that it ignores the essentially elitist nature of the reform movement and exaggerates grassroots pressures for reforms. This so-called "third force" is too amorphous and fractured to buttress even the broadest reform coalition.
The reform movement in Iran is less an outgrowth of popular disenchantment than a reconfiguration of factional politics in the Islamic Republic. While most informed observers are well aware that the most prominent leaders of reform in Iran are products of the Islamic system, it is generally overlooked that most hail from its most sensitive and secret branches - the security and intelligence community. This reformist elite has forged its overall strategy outside the realm of public scrutiny and is not directly influenced by the disenchanted masses.
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