Whither the Iranian Democratic Opposition?

Whither the Iranian Democratic Opposition?
24 May

Author:  Frieda Afary

May 24, 2013

green_movementAs we approach the June 2013 Iranian presidential election, the real frontrunners of the 2009 election,  Mir-Hossein Mousavi and   Mehdi Karroubi as well as  Mousavi’s wife, Zahra Rahnavard — all of whom came to be known as the leaders of the reformist Green movement– continue to languish under house arrest.  Many young activists,  feminists,  and ethnic activists who participated in protests against election fraud in 2009 or any activities deemed “seditious” by the regime are also in prison.

Although the recent disqualification of two candidates Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei from the election, is very significant and further reveals the intense power struggles within the regime, more significant are the defining issues which continue to fuel the grassroots discontent inside Iran.  These issues are the following:


  • The demands for freedom of speech, press, religion as well as the separation of religion and state. (1)
  • Deep class divisions, growing poverty and lack of labor rights, all of which have also been worsened by severe sanctions imposed by the U.S. and European nations.
  • The demands of an increasingly educated female population for equality before the law.  Some specific demands include an optional rather than a compulsory hijab, the right to divorce, custody of children and travel without the permission of a husband or male guardian.
  • The demands of national minorities such as the Kurds, Azeris and Arabs for self-determination and federalism,  including the use of their own language as the language of administration and instruction.(2)

Full article on iranianprogressives.org

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