Changing Iran

Ganji3 Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow interviews Iranian dissident journalist Akbar Ganji in The Boston Review:

As a supporter of the 1979 revolution, what did you expect from it? Did it turn out differently than you thought it would?

The discourse of the 1979 Revolution was about justice, independence, and anti-imperialism. As a consequence of the Cold War and the Third World ideological thinking of this period, the United States was viewed as the source of all the social and political problems facing our society. In those days, social justice meant either the just rule of Ali, the first Shia Imam in the 7th century, or Soviet-style socialism.

The 1979 revolution did not bring about liberty, democracy, or human rights; it did not even fulfill its promise of social justice. The class gap is about the same today, if not worse. The political repression is greater than it was before the revolution. This is because the Pahlavi regime only repressed political opposition, but the Islamic Republic continues to repress the entire spectrum of cultural, social, and political activity.

In my view, the most important achievement of the revolution is that it turned the masses into agents of historical change and highly politicized them. The 1979 revolution demanded political independence and the end of external interference in Iran’s domestic affairs. In this sense Iran has become independent, but globalization processes have made possible many new forms of foreign interference that affect Iran.