It was recently brought to my attention that Kaveh Mousavi has written on my “misrepresentations” about Iranian politics. I don’t know who he is and haven’t followed his writings but this one post is sufficient for me to place him on the political spectrum of Iranian politics. All else is smoke and mirrors.

The crux of the matter is that Kaveh supports the “reformist” wing of the Islamic regime of Iran vis-a-vis the “Conservative” faction and therefore sees my opposition to his beloved faction and regime as “misrepresentation” and “lying”. He says there are differences between Rouhani and Ahmadinejad as if that is enough to protect the regime’s leadership from scrutiny.

Clearly, there are differences – that’s not the point. If there weren’t, there wouldn’t be infighting between the two factions now would there? But the differences are a matter of degree. Despite the differences, both factions fundamentally want the regime’s survival . Their strategies differ but the differences in strategy are on how to manage the survival of a theocractic regime that is faced with immense opposition from various sectors of Iranian society. It’s not about reforms (which in the real world means improvements in people’s lives via changes in law or public policy not mere rhetoric).

This should not be so difficult to understand even for Kaveh. There are differences between ISIS, Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic regime of Iran… but fundamentally they want an Islamic state; their rule means the very same thing for people living under their boot. If there are any differences between the lives of people in Kobane, Raqqa, Tehran or Riyadh, it is not because of any “moderate” Islamists but because of people’s protests and their ongoing refusal to submit. You don’t have to have ever lived in Iran to know the role of “moderate” Islamists in normalising and strengthening Islamism; it’s evident even in the West.

Kaveh defends the “reformists” by crediting them for any breathing space in Iran. Rather, the “reformists” are the result of people’s protests. It is the dissent that has created the infighting and that has forced breathing spaces not the other way around.

Don’t forget, “reformists” like Rouhani or Khatami have been permitted to run in the so-called elections only with the approval of the “Conservative” leader Khamenei and the Council of Guardians. Only men who have shown complete loyalty to the Islamic system have any chance of entering and remaining in positions of power. The track records of these “reformists” speaks for themselves. Mousavi was Prime Minister during the notorious 1980s, a period in which Iran Tribunal has found the regime guilty of crimes against humanity. Khatami was Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance responsible for censorship during that time and the current president Rouhani has been a member of the regime’s Assembly of Experts, its Expediency Council and the Supreme National Security Council. “Reformists” indeed!

So of course I oppose both factions of the regime. I oppose its entirety, no matter how it is dressed and presented. For me, and for many others, whether they live in Iran or not, a theocracy is the end of any form of democratic politics. Call it “elections” if you want. Call it “reformist” or “moderate” if you want.

To defend the ruling elite (any segment of it) of a dictatorship where the law and public policy and the state and all its machinery still kills people for blasphemy and enmity against god and considers women half the worth of men is indefensible.

Such a regime has to end – it can’t be reformed just as you can’t reform a state based on racial apartheid or fascism. It has to end not by US-led militarism or economic sanctions that harm the public but by revolution as the only way in which people can fully intervene to be rid of dictatorships and theocracies. Of course the outcome is never guaranteed like any struggle or fight for change but I will always put my faith in social movements and people’s will to change things for the better than criminals feigning to be “reformist” in order to control and maintain Islamic rule as Kaveh does.

Yes I don’t live in Iran. I don’t think this is breaking news. I would most probably not be alive today if I did and there are enough threats from the regime, Iranian press mentions and death lists on which I am purported to be on to explain why. I, like many others, have been forced to leave our homes and live in exile because of a regime that cannot tolerate dissent. But whether I live in Iran or not is irrelevant. I don’t need to have lived in Iran or be Iranian or spent the past several decades in Iranian politics and worked with countless refugees who have fled or been persecuted by this regime to understand Iranian politics. Just as I don’t have to be South African to oppose racial apartheid or Palestinian to oppose the Israeli state’s occupation. Just as one does not have to be gay to defend gay rights or a woman to defend women’s rights.

Politics is about our values and where we stand irrespective of our identities, gender, where we live and where we were born…

Kaveh’s politics are clear as are mine.

His role is to defend the regime by defending a faction of it and to persuade people to be satisfied with a theocracy. Mine is to defend progressive social movements and people’s opposition to an Islamic state which is incompatible with the 21st century. His role is to support the “reformist” strategy calling on people to stay in their homes, not protest, scorn the opposition and only use the permissible mechanisms provided to them by a dictatorship; mine is to defend revolution, refusal and resistance.

Kaveh says that by opposing the “reformists”, I show that I do not care about the Iranian people. I am not sure how his defence of a section of a regime that murders at will shows any real concern for human life.

There are many other absurdities in his piece, which I have neither the time nor interest to respond to. I would only suggest that Kaveh step up and defend his precious regime without hiding his support behind attacks against me. He can call himself “atheist” and “liberal” all he wants. There are many examples of such “atheists” and “liberals” who have sided with the Islamists at the expense of those who refuse and resist and he is just one more of them. It’s nothing to be proud of.



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