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July 23, 2003

Should he resign?
Mona Vajihollahi  [info|posts]

-- I’m thinking: Khatami should resign.
-- I read Behnoud’s latest article (in Persian). Once more I appreciate him giving hope to everyone and encouraging us to be patient… Should Khatami really resign?
-- Then I check the news (in Persian):
    o Tehran’s District Attorney, Saeed Mortazavi, who is accused to be involved in Zahra Kazemi’s death, has been appointed to prosecute the perpetrators!
    o The students who have been imprisoned recently are being tortured in most inhumane ways possible. Reminding us of medieval tortures, they are physically beaten, hot water is poured in their ears to keep them awake, they are threatened to be sexually harassed and they are even banned from drinking water.
-- Khatami should resign, I think.

I must admit that I was never in favor of Khatami’s resignation before, mainly because I was afraid of its consequences, specifically probable rebels and slaughters. I was always hoping that he would react more courageously and with our patience everything will be fixed step by step.
But now… It’s very hard for me to find any reason for his stay. Everyday when I read the news about arresting another journalist or student, I ask myself what we should do now. Maybe petitions help… Maybe the letter to Khatami (in Persian) will set our friends in Sharif University free, but what about the rest? What about these people who are being tortured? It’s somebody’s life for god’s sake. It’s the best period of their lives, their youths. How long should we wait?
I believe in what Behnoud mentions in his article. The most important result of Khatami’s presidency was that the players showed their hands. No more people are killed and tortured in the silence. Now everyone knows how they take advantage of the religion and no more anyone believes in their version of religion. So, I agree that Khatami’s era brought pretty important gifts for us, but now it seems he can not go any further. He, himself, said that the president does not have enough power to stay by his pledges and act upon the responsibilities stated in the constitutional law. The regime is obviously not willing to give him such kind of power.

Maybe his resignation would not fix anything in the first place, but at least I believe the regime’s legitimacy will be challenged by the world. Khatami has become an international personality, and he has gained much respect among intellectuals all over the world. I even remember one Canadian once told me that he envies us because our president is a great man and a real philosopher. I think he should use this kind of global publicity, if he does not have the local power to defend people’s right. He can make his appraisers see what’s really happening in Iran. If everything is stuck inside Iran, maybe we need a pressure from outside.

I believe this kind of public pressure is necessary to achieve our freedom. I always think about a comment Behnoud made in one of his articles (in Persian): “According to the history, the substantial changes that have happened in Iran during 20th century were never carried out by Iranian people solely, but were mainly influenced by foreign powers and their interference.” For me it confirms that people’s will is not always enough, we certainly need world’s attention and awareness.

Comments
yahya at July 23, 2003 02:38 PM [permalink]:

I agree with the obvious fact that Khatami has failed to fulfill many of his promises. Reform has failed as well. Still, for me, understanding the benefits of resignation of Khatami is a challenging issue. I can't envision the mechanisms that can take Iran to a democratic country after his resignation. I do not believe that merely international pressures can work. The democratic movement in Iran is still fragmented and weak. This movement needs time to define itself independently from the reformists who are in power. Khatami can still be a shield to keep Iran safe from external threats and allow the democratic movement in Iran moves ahead. I think people who argue for resignation of Khatami should more clearly identify the steps after his resignation.

John Anderson, RI USA at July 23, 2003 05:47 PM [permalink]:

I am not sure a Khatami resignation would be for the better, but then I know almost nothing about Iran. It is the Supreme/Executive council[s] that must go.

As to the World's attention, other than those who think Saddam should have been left in power in Iraq you have it: we are desperately trying to think how to help you, or better for you to help yourselves, without mass shedding of blood.

And, in case you have been buried by propaganda, no one wants a return of the monarchy in any form.

Ghazal at July 23, 2003 07:31 PM [permalink]:

Yesterday we had a discussion during tea time, one of the professors was asking that "lets assume I get tired of hearing something like
war on terror or terrorism and I would want to take a pill to sleep for a while and not get up until it's gone how long do you think I should sleep? "
someone said "don't be optimistic in the case of terrorism when it starts it might be around until the group really wins the case and then the word will be replaced by something else like freedom fighters as in the case between Britain and Israel"
Now I dont like hearing so many arguments pro Khatami resignation or against it but good for me because no matter what happens it will be over in two years anyway! you see I just don't like the idea of giving up on a project that was started with so much hope even if the odds are against it. It actually reminds me of one my own research projects :-( .
the way the idea became so popular and one of the main demands of people who were carrying khatami's pictures in their wallets when I left Iran makes me suspicious and pushes me towards conspiracy theory. Hmm... Who is really behind it ?

Vahid at July 23, 2003 08:35 PM [permalink]:

I agree with "Yahya" about, those who are for resignation, should think of what could happen next. And to be honest, one should be very optimist to think, a simple resignation will solve evreything. A goverment that kill journalist and burries it wherever it wishes, would not care much about international pressure. But I also agree with Mona, I think Khatami should do something. He should protest against what goes on. And he should do it in the most effective way. Resignation is a strong protest, but it should not be done passively. He should seek something beyond it.

Vahid

BHS at July 23, 2003 08:39 PM [permalink]:

Khatami's resignation to me could only be a gesture of protest really, of declaring himself not guilty of what goes on behind the thick veil of politics in Iran. That is, simply giving up.

And that's why I'm also opposed to his resignation. There's no real outcome, for one thing, and then Khatami as the president has (had) better ways of protesting, instead of resigning. Instead I belive people have to find more effective ways of making their demands clear. If it's having a democratic government, for instance, one should get rid of the unelected gang, not an elected president who one thinks is not firm enough or not fit for that job. Yes, I'm disappointed in him, but more angry at the real culprits.

Mona at July 24, 2003 04:05 AM [permalink]:

I just want to make it clear that I'm not sure if Khatami's resignation is the best way either! BUT I'm looking for a way out of this deadlock... Everyday they arrest more people, torture them, threaten others... Khatami expresses his disagreement, he asks for fair trials, he warns about Iran’s future and they just continue doing whatever they want! This way of solving the problems is what he has been doing in these 6 years, and I did agree and appreciate even this much of resistance… But as I see, it has lost its effect day by day. Nobody seems to care about what he does or says. As he once said, he is a president without any sort of power and a bunch of responsibilities….
I always thought he should talk to the people. He should be more open. This way of handling all the problems secretly does not seem to work, but it’s becoming too late, even for addressing people…
What’s the ultimate solution? I guess nobody knows… Yes, Khatami’s resignation is not the solution, but what is? Let’s say he finishes the two remaining years of his presidency. Who will be elected next? Better to say, who they approve to be the candidates? Will they set the political prisoners free in these two years, or will they arrest more people? Will they let the parliament work? Let’s even think about next parliament election in upcoming February… Who do you think the approved candidates will be?
I’m just afraid of losing time and opportunities… Khatami’s resignation is one choice today, but it won’t have any meaning two years later…
I hope that people can make their demands clear too. More importantly I hope somebody hears their loud voices on time….