06 September 2006

Ahmadinejad commits himself to further liberalization of Iranian society……….

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made further progress in his plan to reinvent Iran as a liberal secular democracy yesterday by calling for a purge of "liberal and secular" academics in the universities."Today students should protest and shout at the president asking why some liberal and secular professors are still present in the universities," he told a gathering of young scientists. "Our educational system has been under the influence of the secular system for 150 years. Colonialism is seeking the spread of its own secular system." While acknowledging it was difficult to change this system, he said: "Such a change has begun."

Mr Ahmadinejad also said his government had tried to reduce the political influence of university chancellors, many of whom were seen as pillars of the reformist government of his predecessor, Mohammad Khatami. "A political predominance existed among many of the university chancellors but we have tried to reduce it because we don't believe chancellors should enter into politics at all," Mr Ahmadinejad said.

His latest comments will intensify fears among student and faculty members of an incipient crackdown. In recent months, several student activists have been imprisoned and dozens of liberal lecturers forced to retire before the statutory age. Last year, Mr Ahmadinejad appointed a radical cleric as chancellor of Tehran university, the country's most prestigious institution.
The government has also buried "martyrs" from the 1988 Iran-Iraq war in some universities in what activists see as an excuse to allow security forces on to campuses to keep watch on the student body. Iran's Islamic authorities have kept universities under close surveillance since a wave of student protests demanding greater freedom in 1999. A student leader, Akbar Mohammadi, died in jail in July after a hunger strike started in protest at being reimprisoned following a long-term release on medical grounds.

But Professor Sadegh Zibakalam, a political scientist at Tehran university, dismissed suggestions of an imminent purge. "Ahmadinejad is a populist trying to create a charismatic image for himself," he said. "These comments are aimed at those who voted for him and perhaps designed to divert attention from Iran's economic problems. They don't mean there is an orchestrated plot against more liberal lecturers."

Perhaps this is all “harf” (empty words) but it does sound as if he is looking to consolidate further his position by removing sources of potential opposition

18 comments:

sonia said...

I bet Mitt Romney will now praise Ahmadinejad for cracking down on those 'liberals' they both hate so much...

jams o donnell said...

LOL Sonia. Then again when you can see some on the left praising Ahmadinejad one realises that fuckwits are not confined to one political persuasion or another!

sonia said...

That's correct. But at least those on the left do it because they hate United States and they would praise the Devil himself if he criticized George W.Bush. It's wrong, but there is at least some twisted logic behind it. Romney's position isn't just wrong, it's also completely illogical...

elasticwaistbandlady said...

I must have missed something. How did Mitt Romney get dragged into this? He's not even considered a serious White House contender yet, and as Governor, this sort of matter is beyond his scope.

sonia said...

Elasticwaistbandlady,

I must have missed something

You have missed this.

jams o donnell said...

True Sonia but the logic get pretty well twisted along the line!

ewbl, Sonia posted an item about Mit Rommey and his assault on Ahmadinejad's predecessor as president of Iran. Khatami was the opposite of Ahmadinejad - a reformer rather than a demagogue. Rommey opened his mouth and hit the wrong target.

beakerkin said...

Sonia

I hate to disillusion you, but part of my job is reviewing foreign accademic transcripts. Students in Iran, Communist China
and even the former Soviet Union are required to take fewer political classes than those in the United States. The revolutionary concept has students focused on their majors instead of a plethora of social science classes. This also does not count dogma placed in gnuine classes such as Eng Lit.

sonia said...

beakerkin,

I hate to disillusion you

Disillusion me about what ? Students taking political classes ?
Where is your point ?

jams o donnell said...

Beakerkin, I am not sure what you are driving at. The post is about Ahmadinejad seeking to crack down on liberal academics (or at least those he would see as such.. or more empty rhetoric on his part) and a link to foolhardy comments by a US governor about a former president of Iran who was pretty well the opposite of Ahmadinejad.

the flying monkeys said...

Excellent...I think pursuit of power is the same the world over. Irony is each story is different but motives and tactics are always the same albeit I believe Romney's position may be untenable.

Bryan said...

Poor lad is trying to find something he's allowed to do. He attempted to allow women into football pitches prior to the World Cup, but was told he had overstepped his brief. Now he going to see if he's allowed to muck about with universities.

He not a cleric, and in the Iranian government that means he's low man. The president of Iran is a figure head, like the president of Israel. the only reason we even know his name is because the Western media haven't studied the structure of the Iranian government.

His major accomplishment since being elected is to reduce dog walking in Tehran.

I think it's a hoot every time I read a serious discussion about something he has suggested. He wouldn't be allowed to have scissors if he didn't need them to cut ribbons for new buildings.

jams o donnell said...

The squalid games of power playthemselves out in a similar way across the world eh flying? Ahmadinejad isn't the biggest player in Iranian politics and I hope all of this is just "harf".

I realise that the position of President of Iran is not one that has real power Bryan.. as you say, jut like the Presient of Israel.But it does look as if the puppet is trying to cut his strings and it seems like he has had a fair degree of success by building up a lot of popular support. It may be that all of his machinations will come to nothing but I can't help but feel that is becoming something rather stronger and rather more powerful that the clerics would like or culd deal with.

elasticwaistbandlady said...

Okay, right after I posted here yesterday morning, my favorite talk show got me up to speed on Mitt Romney's comments.

That was before they started mocking Ahmadinejab for his small stature and oppressive ideology. Chalk up another dictator wannabe to suffering from the infamous "short man syndrome."

jams o donnell said...

What is with short men? Attilla, Stalin et al? We who clock in at 5'9" (1,75m) are simply content to loaf in front of the tv and get fat! Don't we deserve a medal for that???

elasticwaistbandlady said...

My Papi is the same 5'6 as me. When I wear his steel toe boots though, I tower over him. Me thinketh he enjoys women of the domineering kind despite his protests to the contrary!

Yeah, my 8 year old has a navy blue, double-breasted, blazer that we teasingly call his "Napoleon" jacket. We've even posed him with his hand inside the lapel just like the infamous photo. As of yet, he has no plans to conquer the world. I thinks he's waiting until he reaches his ninth birthday for all that. Right now, his only successful invasion involves that of the cookie jar kind.

jams o donnell said...

the not wife would need stilts to tower over me -she is all of 5'1" (1,55m). Hmm the young un is on the road: today he annexes an Oreo, tomorrow it will be two!!

Pēteris Cedriņš said...

I doubt if it is mere "harf"; according to Iran Focus, "Ahmadinejad’s hard-line government fired forty professors and lecturers from Tehran University" in June. Ayatollah Amid Zanjani, appointed to head Tehran University, has no degree and no academic experience. He headed the komiteh in Tehran’s eastern Jaleh and Farah-Abad districts. The Komitehs were local police stations that also served as prosecution chambers. They achieved much notoriety as the power base of radical Islamist vigilantes who imposed rigorous religious laws on the population.

Re Bryan's comment, "the only reason we even know his [Ahmadinejad’s] name is because the Western media haven't studied the structure of the Iranian government" -- since when is "the Western media" monolithic? In an article published just last week in the New York Times, for instance, "A Cleric Steeped in Ways of Power," there is a brief summary of the structure(s) of power in Iran. The article also notes: When Mr. Ahmadinejad was elected last year, many analysts and present and former officials said he was Ayatollah Khamenei’s candidate. But when the president came out with his aggressive comments — about nuclear energy and Israel in particular — many wondered aloud if the leader’s candidate was speaking without the consent of his prime patron. [...] But Ayatollah Khamenei [...] erased some of that confusion late last month, when he made statements siding with the president against the Guardian Council, which oversees all government decisions, and Parliament. In a news conference last month, Mr. Ahmadinejad acknowledged that Ayatollah Khamenei had advised his administration to try to broaden its circle of advisers and reach out to more "intellectuals." I see no reason to think that Ahmadinejad was given the rôle of "the public face of the nation" by "the Western media."

Like Jams, I do not understand what Beakerkin is driving at, but for different reasons -- is it the quantity of "political classes" or what is taught in them, and how they are taught, that matters? Such classes in the Soviet Union, for example, consisted of indoctrination (a tradition Lukashenko has lately revived in Belarus). This is the reason that the knowledge of civics in parts of Eastern Europe is so woefully low, and as far as I can tell it rather often correlates with the high percentage of persons yearning for "a strong hand" and having no understanding of, or desire for, democracy.

jams o donnell said...

Thanks for this thoughtful and well considered post Peteris. Although the role of Iranian president is hardly big on executive powers I wonder if he is trying to carve out far greater influence than would be permitted to his predecssors. I need to think about this.