Friday, June 12, 2009

Breathtaking changes may be underway in Iran

Photo, Iranian presidential
candidate Mir-hossein Mousavi,
and his wife Zahra Rahnavard

By Madison Reed

Numerous reports for quite a while have indicated that Iran is undergoing breathtaking changes.

Iranians have just gone to the polls today to elect their next president. Saturday, Iran time, the world should know the results. This time, indications are that the world may be stunned by a dramatic transformation of the Iranian nation that could not only redefine the potential for Islamic nations to break free from religious intolerance, embrace civility, equality and modernity, but inspire the entire world, and to help make the world a happier place.

The change is driven by Iranian women, high numbers of educated young people, academics, professionals, and even good-spirited mullahs who simply don't agree with the former strict interpretation of Islamic law and tradition. While current Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is said to enjoy the support of many poor and deeply religious Iranians, the numbers of these voters may not be enough to re-elect him. The real Iranian society has been undergoing profound change, while the world has been listening to all the superficial media spin nonsense that has often protrayed Iran as a medieval and backward society, hopelessy mired in Islamic fanaticism.

Mir-hossein Moussavi, who is a moderate reformist and former Prime Minister, appears to have a comfortable lead over Ahmadinejad. His wife Zahra Rahnavard, a mother of three, as well as an accomplished artist and academic, has helped shatter the remaining barriers against women's full participation in Iranian society, by campaigning along with her husband, and even being a speaking at campaign rallies. This is unprecedented for any Islamic society.

"I am here to say that men and women are equal," she said in an interview with CNN news reporters Christiane Amanpour and Reza Sayah.

"Thirty-four million women demand to have female Cabinet ministers; 34 million women demand to be eligible to run for president. Thirty-four million women want the civil law to be revised; 34 million women want the family law revised."

I have great confidence in Iran, and always knew that it would eventually emerge from its long difficult experience with religious fundamentalism, a learning experience that would shape it into a freer, happier and wiser nation.

To Iran's happiness! I wish you the best.

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