Shaul Bakhash

Iran in Ferment

Khatami and the reformist parties are correct in their conviction that peaceful change through the political process is preferable to violent change. But the reformers have failed to exploit numerous opportunities to their political advantage. As a result, most middle-class Iranians have dropped out of the political process; disillusioned students may soon do so as well

The protests by Iranian student in the last few weeks – the largest in at least three years, with scores arrested – reflect widespread discontent with current conditions. The discontent is not limited to the younger generation but is felt by Iranians of all classes and age groups. Student aspirations for political freedom, accountable governments, economic opportunity and an easing of social controls are widely shared. But the response of the politicians also demonstrates the political bankruptcy of the hard-line conservatives who oppose the students, not to mention the failure of political leadership of the reformers who support the students.

This article is available at the Daily Times.