Iran's 2009 uprising, unlike Egypt's, was about a total regime change
It is a no-brainer that President Mubarak was going to eventually meet the demands of the Egyptian demonstrators by stepping down from his never-ending presidency.
Most Egyptians appear to have revolted with sincere intentions, but it would be naïve not to suspect that various forces such as political Islamists jumped on the bandwagon and exploited Egypt’s domestic turmoil, fueled as well by the massive support and encouragement from Western mainstream media, especially CNN.
The movement was given another significant lifeline with unprecedented support from the Obama Administration that demanded the Egyptian government honor its people’s cry for freedom. President Obama has encouraged the people everywhere to use the events in Egypt as an example for gaining freedom.
It was a rather peculiar stance for this Administration to take since in 2009 it did not extend the same support to millions of Iranians pouring into the streets risking their lives demanding the overthrow of the Islamist regime in Tehran.
That was an event that, unlike Egypt’s, turned bloody before the eyes of horrified global community. Perhaps President Obama will stay true to his words, and morally support the ongoing Iranian efforts in this endeavor. Maybe CNN can devote the same zealous broadcasting on behalf of Iran’s fight for freedom that it has shown for Egypt’s.
In that regard, it is imperative to note that the recent events across the Arab world should not misguide Iranians towards an erroneous and undesirable political direction – derailing their aspiration for a complete regime change with a simple change of guards. In 1979, Iranians were fooled by Carterism, or support for theocratic regimes. Let’s not repeat history to everyone’s continued detriment.
During a Feb. 11, 2011, interview with KRSI Radio, a former Iranian diplomat and president of Azadegan Foundation, Dr. Assad Homayoun, stated that although a desire for a better life, rule of justice, and human civil rights have been the fuel for moving the masses; unfortunately, history has shown that their dreams could end with terrifying results. Reign of terror may follow if it becomes a full blown revolutionary movement as a group of elites with expertise in the field and an ideological agenda take over the power of the masses. In this regard, Homayoun believes that at this time the fate of Egypt’s future remains uncertain.
Unlike their Arab counterparts, the Iranian uprisings since June 2009 are not concerned with “human resources” issues, but rather the country’s entire management structure. Unlike Egypt, Iranians sit on an abundance of natural resources badly needed for the global economy. So a new, healthy Iran and its ability to self-govern is a whole different ballgame than Egypt – not to marginalize Egypt in an already strained and radical region.
Many analogies have been drawn between revolts of Egypt in 2011 and of Iran in 1979 all of which are based on the wrong premise rendering them baseless. There is nothing similar between the two scenarios.
Egypt in 2011 is poor and its masses live in substandard conditions. Iran in 1979 was exemplary in demonstrating how a third world country could rise and compete with the industrialized world if it fostered education, skills and modernization among its people. The main issue lacking at the time in Iran was proper political participation for which efforts were underway as Iranians were becoming more educated in political science and world affairs.
What happened in 1979 reflects how people in Iran were manipulated by domestic ideologues and foreign fear of the then-Soviet expansionism into revolting rather than reforming their most prosperous era in modern history.
Although it is hoped that Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, and other Middle Eastern nations begin to take charge of their destiny and improve their societies, Iranians should remain focused and not deviate from their main goal. Iranians know they cannot be truly free until political Islam has been removed from their constitution and form of government.
Unlike the Egyptians, Iranians will not settle for the removal of a character such as Ahmadinejad only to be replaced with a lesser Islamist such as so-called opposition leaders — Mousavi or Karoubi. The agenda of the continued Iranian opposition is not a “human resources” issue involving the replacement of one of the regime’s agents with another, but a secular, national re-conquest!
Although to some extent Egypt incorporated Sharia laws to some aspects of its currently-suspended Constitution, the Iranian people are completely rejecting their Sharia-based Constitution.
The Internet age will bring unfathomed changes. It will guide and energize the masses while recording the events so that historical facts cannot be so easily discarded and rewritten to fit an agenda.
Iranians were the first people to use technology to show their revolt, and others will follow suit as the Arab world has demonstrated for all the world to see its desire for a better life. The people of the world are rising, not for outdated and inhumane political- or religious-based ideologies, but for the rights of every man and woman to live free, dream and pursue happiness. In that regard, the Iranian people share the aspirations of the Egyptian people, if not necessarily the same solution.
Sheda Vasseghi is on the Board of Azadegan Foundation and a member of Persepolis3d.com. She is a regular contributor to WorldTribune.com and FreePressers.com on Iran’s Affairs.