Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Iranian Student Day

Yesterday's Student Day demonstrations in Iran occurred, according to what the world media has been able to discern, across a number of cities including Tehran, Kerman, Mashhad, Isfahan, Hamedan and Shiraz. Most importantly, the demonstrations yesterday included actions that directly targeted the notion of the "Islamic Republic". In Tehran there were reports of burnings of posters of Ayatollah Khomeini and marchers carrying flags from which the word "Allah" had been removed. At Sharif University protestors have been video-taped shouting: "Death to the oppressor, whether shah or supreme leader".

These actions show the protest movement in Iran is emerging in a direction that is flagrantly at odds with its official "insider" leadership. The movement to free Iran from "Islamic" dictatorship is central to the direction of the world today. If a secular, democratic, free and open Iran can emerge then the prospects for the Middle East will entirely alter. The success of this movement and its emergence as a force for secular democracy are key issues for anyone today concerned for a move towards open societies generally. Best wishes to the movement and to its increasingly secular direction and here's hoping for a leadership that catches up with the spontaneous movement against a regime led by clerics.

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