Friday, May 15, 2009

News Flash: Everyone is Free in Iran!

Breaking news, comrades. It's time to drop all that stuff about oppression in Iran. An article in the Guardian told me so. So forget the imprisonment and torture of trade unionists, revolutionaries and Marxist student leaders; forget the persecution of secularists and the liberals behind the One Million Signatures Campaign for Women's Rights; forget the murder of Kurds and other minority groups; forget the execution of LGBT Iranians; forget the compulsory state-funded sex changes; and, above all, forget the 1979 Islamist counterrevolution that was drenched in Communist blood.

This is the real deal:

The leaders, a range of very different political figures with very different political views, have won the support of the majority of the population through the electoral process... both state and society in Iran are modern and legitimised, based on dialogue between those who wish to preserve traditional conservative Islam and those who wish to embrace democratic modern Islam... Today the majority of the population supports the prevalence of modern ­ideological thinking in the context of Iran and Islam. Today the democracy movement seeks a balance of power between state institutions and civil society, to guarantee the rule of law, good governance, accountability, and collective and individual freedoms – as well as the role of religion in politics.

Well ain't that just lovely.

If, however, you feel that the author of the article in question, Elaheh Rostami-Povey, mi
ght be overlooking a few not-so-savoury aspects of the Iranian regime, you can come along to this event in London and ask her and Mohajerani (a minister under the Islamic Republic) a few questions...

British Museum / Guardian Public Forum
Empire of the mind and soul: what does modern Iran owe to Shah 'Abbas?

Tuesday 19 May, 19.00
Reading Room and BP Lecture Theatre
£15, concessions £12

19.00: Exhibition
Private view of the exhibition Shah 'Abbas: The Remaking of Iran
20.00: Debate
A high-profile panel will use the exhibition as the starting point for a broader discussion of contemporary issues relating to Iran.
Chaired by Jon Snow, writer and broadcaster, with an introductory talk by Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum.
Speakers include Azadeh Moaveni, journalist and writer, Dr Ata’ollah Mohajerani, historian, writer and former Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance and Dr Elaheh Rostami-Povey, Lecturer in Development Studies at University of London