Wither Reform In Iran?

The Bush administration has consistently focused on portraying Iran as the focal point of terrorism in the Middle East and has ignored opportunities to foster reform in that nation. Former president Mohammad Khatami, who assisted the United States invasion of Afghanistan and was rewarded with hate and anger by Bush, is being urged to run for the presidency of his nation in 2009. Khatami has responded by raising questions as to what is the best strategy for reformers to accomplish their aims– in the political arena or elsewhere? “The reason that I have so far not reached a decision on contesting the election is that I believe that first, certain major questions should be answered. It should be determined whether one can institutionalize reforms n society and the country without being in power.”

Khatami raised issues as to whether the cause of reform is best served by working through the infrastructure of society such as in the clergy, among intellectuals or in social groups. These undoubtedly are important questions, but Iran could benefit by having Khatami or someone like him in the presidency. Ahmadinejad’s wild comments only damage the fight for reform in Iran.