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Iran…Saving Face - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It is plain to see that the Iranian regime is sparing no effort in creating a foreign scapegoat that it can blame for its own mistakes in front of the Iranians who are demonstrating against the recent elections, as the regime wants to push on ahead rather than confront its internal crisis.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry issued a statement that lacked the language of diplomacy. The statement said that the foreign media has become a mouthpiece for “those who are creating unrest,” and warned that the ministry would “take legal action” against “enemies” who tarnish the “radiant face of the Islamic Republic.”

The Revolutionary Guards did the same thing, warning Iranian websites against publishing anything in support of the protestors. Mohammed Reza Habibi, Esfahan’s Prosecutor-General, went a step further and warned that the death penalty was awaiting those who are “waging war against God.”

All of this is happening today in the name of democracy and everybody knows that those who accept democracy must ensure freedom of expression and demonstration and above all, they must ensure election integrity because this is what forms the foundation for democratic activity, and not for “waging war against God.”

Here we must address some Arabs; Wafik Samarrai said in his article a few days ago that they must feel some shame as what has happened in Iran completely goes against democracy. Democracy means freedoms and institutions and transparency; bragging about democracy does not mean you are democratic.

Therefore, it is apparent that the regime in Tehran is searching for a foreign enemy on which it can pin its internal problems. This reveals the depth of the crisis that the Iranian regime is going through as many observers are missing an important point regarding Iranian culture…

When the Iranians, from all kinds of backgrounds, supported the Islamic revolution over the Shah’s regime they did not care so much about the slogans raised by the leaderships [of the revolution]; they sought freedoms and to expel the imperialists. The Iranians dreamt of a revolution of freedom and independence.

In Shirin Ebadi’s ‘Iran Awakening’ she speaks about how she hoped for a revolution as a woman working in the judiciary and how one of the first consequences of that revolution was her dismissal from her judicial post. She also speaks about how many Iranians felt that they had been duped after the revolution. This is confirmed in Hashemi Rafsanjani’s book ‘My Life’ in which he speaks about his large effort to use the Palestinian cause as part of the revolution’s discourse and political and cultural life in order to find an Islamic cause that the Iranians could unite behind in support of the Islamic revolution and its leadership.

Therefore, those who came out against the Shah’s dictatorship are the very people who have come out against the Mullah’s dictatorship – and they have not done so with foreign support. This is the best way to understand what is happening in Iran today rather than what the Iranian regime is trying to say.

What we should understand is that there is a large part of society in Iran does not seek to export the Iranian revolution and to interfere in the affairs of others – it seeks to stabilize its own country and wants it to flourish just like any other society wants for itself.

Therefore, what the Iranian regime is exporting today is nothing but a sorry attempt to save face in front of the international community. This community has discovered that Iran, which claims to be a democracy and to be able to solve the problems of the region, cannot even solve its own.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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