June 23, 2009

Iran: If the Protesters Got Everything They Wanted, It Still Wouldn't be a Democracy

While Iranians have been protesting to live free, I take note of what they seem to think living free means. Their demand has been that the election be annulled and conducted again, that their very limited version of democracy be respected. All power is held by Supreme Leader Ali Khameni, his Council of Guardians and the small clique of military officers and businessmen around him. The Council disqualified thousands of candidates before the election, vetting only those who support the regime's ideological lines.Iranian candidates were handpicked by the leadership, not the people. The Supreme Leader, the Council of Guardians, these are not elected bodies . Iranians are not challenging the theocratic rule of the country or calling for that to be done away with. Its instructive that this conversation was had in 2005 too.

As conservatives and republicans try to score political points against the President during a foreign policy crisis, its worth keeping it in perspective. Iranians are protesting and being beaten and killed in the streets for a version of "democracy" no American would consider worthy of the name.