Sunday, January 11, 2004

The Shi'ite Hits the Fan

Iran’s theocrats may have finally created the spark for the democratic revolution that many in the West have been waiting for. In preperation for parliamentary elections, The Islamic Republic’s Guardian Council disqualified hundreds of pro-reform candidates from running for election – including many current MPs. This has led to protests by members in parliament, including both a walkout and a sit-in. The nation’s regional governors have also threatened to resign en masse.

This high-handed rigging of national elections seems destined to create a dangerous split in Iran’s political establishment, given the historic inflexibility of clerics regarding their public pronouncements. Especially alarming is the knowledge that the Guardian Council is composed of “six clerics and six Islamic lawyers.” Could there be a more fearsome enemy of democracy that a cadre of fundamentalist Islamic lawyers?


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