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Missing the mark on events in Iran

July 18, 2009

Re "Prisoner of rebellion," Opinion, July 12, and "Misreading Iran's unrest," Opinion, July 12

The Op-Ed article by Alastair Crooke presents a stark contrast to the harrowing account of torture in a Tehran prison, as told by Zahar Ghahramani.

Careful reading of Crooke's text reveals implicit support for a repressive, theocratic political regime that he identifies with the "Iranian revolution."

An abstraction like that can't gloss away the measures used by those in power in Iran to suppress dissent, using coercive and violent methods. Yet Ghahramani's poignant account is witness to the lie of the proposition that "the end justifies the means."

In light of the disturbing video images and reports from Iran recently, along with Ghahramani's account, Crooke's explanations of recent events in Iran seem colored by sympathy for Iran's harsh "revolutionary" government.

The thing about national revolutions is that so often they usher in a special "guardian" few who ruthlessly impose rules intended to maintain their privileged rulership over the many, promoting the very conditions that provoked the original revolution.

Chuck Hackwith

San Clemente

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I was astounded that The Times published an article such as "Misreading Iran's unrest" after all the news and articles you've published that collectively showed that the recent uprising by millions of people in Iran was over far more than election fraud.

The people of Iran are much more intelligent than Crooke seems to portray: Iranians as a bunch of mindless followers who are ready to lose their lives so another mullah can get to power.

Hamid Hooshvar

Laguna Hills

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Crooke's article has a fitting title because he totally misses the mark about what is going on in Iran.

He presents no evidence for his claim that the current uprising is an elitist clerical revolt against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's populist rule.

Instead, the facts point to a deep split within the clerical establishment based not on economic cleavages but rather on fundamentally different views of Islam.

The reformist clerics such as former President Mohammad Khatami view freedom and democracy as fundamental components of Islam.

They are revolting against the current regime because they feel it is their religious duty to secure basic human rights for the people of Iran.

Ahmadinejad and the clerics who support him instead believe that Islam gives them the right to rule absolutely without regard to the will of the people.

One need only look at the brutal tactics used against peaceful demonstrators by this regime to see that this revolt is a struggle between freedom and tyranny -- and not a class struggle.

Sam Shirazi

Woodland Hills

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