May 07, 2002


IRANWATCH: Mohammad Khatami is still posing as the "reformer." One wonders, then, why only his hand-picked candidates are allowed to run for office. "Fear of unrest, he said, has forced a slower pace" to reform. Huh? The people are restless because the "reform" is not real-- it's an illusion for the benefit of foreign governments that the Iranian government would like to court diplomatically. The slower it is, the more obvious it becomes that real reform is not possible under the current government.

One thing shows in Khatami's words: fear. If the mullahs, who have the final say over all "his" policies, thought he were actually going to replace their rule with a secular democracy, he'd be exiled, imprisoned, or killed. When pro-democracy forces are organized well enough (something the U.S. should help facilitate, as Michael Ledeen has cogently argued), anyone who stands in the way of secular democracy will be exiled, imprisoned, or killed. Khatami's sword of Damocles hangs more precariously than most.

Posted by John Tabin at May 7, 2002 01:34 PM