Sunday, June 28, 2009

Views from Iran: Iranian Reformists Speak

Iranian member of parliament (MP) and mid-ranking Shi'i religious scholar Hujjat al-Islam Ghodratollah Alikhani delivers a ballsy speech with impecable flare criticizing Ahmadinejad and his conservative and Iranian "neoconservative" (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps & Basij) allies. The talk of a uniform Iranian "clergy" is nonsense, and this proves it.

The popular late Ayatullah al-Sayyid Mahmoud Taliqani speaks about the dangers of the return of despotism in Iran. A key revolutionary intellectual, he was a member of the Central Revolutionary Council formed after the flight of Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, the last shah (despotic "king") of Iran in January 1979. However, Taliqani was soon sidelined by Khumayni and his conservative revolutionary allies. Taliqani argued that constitutional democracy and socialism were thoroughly compatible with Islamic principles, and he maintained open ties to the revolution's leftist parties. He opposed Khumayni's "absolutist" notion of wilayat al-faqih (Vilayet-e Faqih, in Persian). After being sidelined, Taliqani became increasingly quiet on political issues, and he died on September 10, 1979. If only his vision had been implemented instead of Khumayni's.....

Reformist Iranian Shi'i scholar Hujjat al-Islam Mohsen Kadivar, currently a visiting professor in the United States, speaks (in Persian) on a panel at Columbia University. A student of Grand Ayatullah Hossein 'Ali Montazeri, Kadivar bravely criticizes the Iranian regime for its violent suppression of demonstrations following the presidential elections. Kadivar was imprisoned for over a year by a special court which tries "dissident" religious scholars in Iran. When asked upon his release if he would repeat the criticisms that originally landed him in jail, he said, "yes." Ballsy...

Kadivar speaks (in Persian) in front of the United Nations building in New York City about the Iranian regime's crackdown on demonstrations following the "re-election" of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president.

See also HERE and HERE.

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