Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Islamic Republic is fading. History is at hand, say Iranian-Americans.

Some Iranian-Americans, watching the post-election unrest in Iran, say the tug-of-war between the people and their hardline government has come to a head after three decades.

Crowds demonstrated in Los Angeles, California on Monday, June 15 over the Iran election results.

"I am absolutely convinced that what we are witnessing is a turning point in the history of the Islamic Republic," said Dr. Hamid Dabashi, professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York City.

"Even if the Islamic Republic survives this crisis, it will no longer be as it used to be," added Dabashi.

The contentious election results between conservative incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and reformist challenger Mir Hossein Moussavi sent many Iranians protesting in the streets, while others celebrated Ahmadinejad's apparent victory.

Kaveh Afrasiabi, who has taught at Tehran University and Boston University and identifies himself as an independent, told CNN that Ahmadinejad's widespread support in rural areas and small towns was the reason for his win. In results announced hours after the polls closed, Ahmadinejad received more than 62 percent of the vote, a figure hotly disputed by Moussavi's supporters.

With the credibility of Friday's election under scrutiny, how the Islamic Republic of Iran overcomes it and reclaims its legitimacy in the eyes of some of its own citizens and the international community remains to be seen.

"There is good reason to believe that many if not most of the pro-Moussavi demonstrators are gladly taking an opportunity to safely protest something bigger: their enormous discontent with the entire system as it stands," said Shirin Sadeghi, a Middle East analyst for the Huffington Post.

The unstable political, social and economic climate has some scholars questioning the future of the Islamic Republic.

"They are either going to crack down severely or they are going to cave in -- it could go either way," Dabashi said of the conservatives who now dominate Iran's government.

Many Iranian-Americans say they see this as their opportunity for change...[Story continued here]

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