Good News From Iran
old stalwart of the establishment that
1111 ilitant Islam is on the
had a part in overthrowing the shah,
ascendant almost every- that helped establish the regime's intol-
where around the globe
erance and that occupied the position of
— except in the coun-
Friday prayer leader (roughly equivalent
try that experienced it longest and
to a bishop) in the historic city of
knows it best.
Isfahan, just had enough.
In Iran, it is on the defensive and
He resigned because, as he poetically
perhaps in retreat. This situation has
put it, he saw "the flowers of virtue being
vast potential consequences. It derives
crushed and values and spirituality on
from the fact that (putting
the decline" by those who
aside the exceptional case of
"sharpen the teeth of the croco-
Saudi Arabia) militant Islam
dile of power." More specifical-
first attained power in 1979 in
ly, he found the Islamic
Iran, when Ayatollah
Republic spawned "crooked-
Khomeini overthrew the shah.
ness, negligence, weakness,
Twenty-three years later,
poverty and indigence."
Khomeini's aggressive, totali-
tarian project has left Iranians
The People's Voice
deeply disillusioned and long-.
ing for a return to normal life.
Taheri's resignation was timed to
The population wants free-
coincide with large anti-regime
dom from a regime that bullies
demonstrations, which led to
them personally, tyrannizes them
the arrest of more than 140 protesters.
politically, depresses them economical-
He then won the endorsement of nearly
ly and isolates them culturally. As in
half of the deputies in Iran's parliament.
Afghanistan under the Taliban, suffer-
These and other indications of sup-
ing the ravages of militant Islam
port prompted a highly unusual state-
means (Rob Sobhani of Georgetown
ment from President George W. Bush
University in Washington, D.C.,
advising that Iran's "government
notes) that Iranians now "know evil
should listen" to its people. This decla-
when they see it up close."
ration, in turn, nearly panicked the
On an almost daily basis, Iranians
government, which then compelled
manifest their wish to be free by skir-
Taheri to issue another statement,
mishing in newspapers, student dormi-
somewhat softening his critique.
tories, football stadiums and elsewhere.
All this has several implications:
Most remarkably, disillusion has reached
• Iran's future: As a rule of thumb,
the ruling elite itself, as manifested earli- when the apple of a regime's eye turns
er this month in a scathing letter of res-
against it, the government is vulnerable.
ignation published by Ayatollah
Taheri's rejection of the Islamic
Jalaleddin Taheri. This nearly 90-year-
Republic is roughly analogous to the sit-
uation in Poland two decades ago, when
Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle
the workers of that supposed "worker's
East Forum. His e-mail address is
paradise" rejected the Communist state
that claimed to benefit them.
Imported from a Shofar
manufacturer in Tel Aviv.
Each one is unique.
Single Twist - $100
Double Twist - $140
Triple Twist - $170
This collage depicts a
shofar in nine..different
styles. Each shofar re
STEIN from page 35
sometimes prophetic explanations for
Israel's right to exist — and people who
are more than willing to express their
unabated hatred of the Muslim religion.
Jewish leaders from groups like the
ADL say the alliance is a strategic
one, that since Republicans are in
power and conservative Christians
comprise the base of the Republican
Party, it makes strategic sense.
But like many hastily conceived
romances, the Jewish alliance with
Christian conservatives is bound to
spawn some unanticipated — and
Make every day a Jewish holiday.
unwanted — offspring. It could
potentially alienate large sectors of
the Jewish community, driving them
away from the fold — particularly
socially liberal baby boomers, who
are likely to be turned off by the
right's anti-abortion, anti-gay and
Advocating that religious doctrine
rather than democratic debate should
guide policymaking, the Christian
right lobby — and the Jews who love
them — are also likely to push
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's
government and their American
allies further to the right.