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September 24, 1981 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-09-24

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Page 4

Thursday, September 24, 1981

The Michigan Daily


it a taten fMa r
Edited and rnanaged by students at The University of Michigan

An end to Iran mullah rule?

Vol. XCII, No 13

420 Moynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

Conflict of what?

A TTENTION ALL employees of the
University: If you are involved in
a conflict of interest-stop it. We really
can't define "conflict of interest" other
than a vague generalization; we can't
tell you why we decided to issue this
warning, other than the University
Auditor requested it, but if you're
thinking of having a 'conflict of in-
terest, don't. It's against Michigan law
and the University doesn't go along
with it either, you know.
That, essentially, is the message
University President Harold Shaprio
sent to all University employees
earlier this month. Unfortunately, the
president has been unable to explain
the necessity for this cryptic
memo-leaving many questions unan-
First of all, why was this letter
issued? Have there been several
violations recently? If so, why does no
one know about them? If not, why send

a letter to all the employees?
Secondly, what exactly is a conflict
of interest? In his letter Shapiro
defines it as "the use of official position
and influence to further personal gain
or that of families or associates . .
The president said he can't come up
with something more specific because
each case must be examined in-
dividually. So now, University em-
ployees must refrain from doing
something-even though they don't
know what that something is.
Both Shapiro and University General
Counsel Roderick Daane have main-
tained that this is no big issue. But it
has caused something of an unroar:
more than 30 employees have repor-
tedly .called the president's office to
find out what's going on. Several
questions have been raised, it's up to
the author of the letter-University
President Harold Shapiro-to provide
some answers.

Theparallels between the
governments of the Islamic
Republic or Iran and the empire
of ex-Shah Muhammad Reza
Pahlavi are beginning to pile up
Following the two latest extraor-
dinary bombings in which Iran's
president, prime minister and
prosecutor general were all
killed, the solid front of Iran's
clergy has begun to show the
same kind of fissures that spelled
the end for the shah.
THE RUMOR mill among
Iranian emigres has been grin-
ding out reports of a massive Sep-
tember action designed to finish
off the regime. If the mullahs
panic, the offensive may well
prove successful.
The first sign is an obvious
break between the Ayatollah
Khomeini and the ruling clergy.
Following the fatal bombing,
Khomeini counseled caution and
moderation, stating clearly that
the government "must not lose
control and not act more harshly
than what is prescribed by God
and Islamic law."
For the first time in the history
of the Islamic Republic, his
pronouncements seem to be
going publicly unheeded as a
vengeful crackdown against all
elements of the political op-
position has accelerated.
KHOMEINI undoubtedly
remembers the turning point in
his own campaign against the
shah. The Pahlavi government
retained its control over, the
nation until another September
three years ago, when gover-
nment troops led by panicky
colonels opened fire on a group of
unarmed citizens in a public
square in Teheran.
At that time, the shah, too,
urged caution. He was accused of
being spineless by his
military advisors, and according,
to some accounts, by his own twin
sister, Princess Ashraf. She
reportedly engaged him in a loud
and bitter argument over the
need'for quick and violent action
to quell the rising tide of revolt.
Some of the shah's generals are
said to have coolly discussed the
best way to kill the million people
or more they felt would have to be
sacrificed before the population
could be stunned into submission.
THE SHAH lapsed into a cour-
se of half-way measures which
both enraged and emboldened'
those in rebellion against him.
The young men dying in the
streets only gave courage to
others still fighting.
As the deadly toll-shocking in
its own right-grew tenfold in the
retelling, the resistance became.
even more daring. Indeed, its
members, seemed blessed: saved
somehow from the massacre they
had come to expect on hearing

By William Beeman

Don't cut Amtrak further

A SLEEK, orange passenger train
pulled out of a Paris train station
Tuesday morning. In a little more than
two-and-one-half hours, the train was
in Lyon; it had covered the 300 miles
between the two French cities at
speeds of up to 156 miles per hour.
For France, the inaugural trip of the
world's fastest, train marked yet
another improvement in what is
already - an exceptional national
railway system. But the trip had im-
plications for the United States as well.
It shows something of just how neglec-
ted American train service is.
The new express service in France
will enable French travelers to reach
Lyon in less time on the train than it
would take on an airplane, when travel
time to and from airports is included.
In many cities of the United States,
travelers are fortunate if passenger
rail service is even offered.
For years, France-indeed most
European countries-has been willling
to commit substantial resources to the
development of intercity rail transpor-
tation facilities. The development has
made a great deal of sense; trains can,
after all, carry more passengers fur-
ther using less fuel than any other
mode of transportation. The result of
the European commitment to rail ser--

vice is a highly efficient and well-used
rail network that serves the needs of
the population admirably.
However, the United States, which at
one time had excellent rail service in
most parts of the nation, has lagged
behind. At the expense of its rail
system, the United States has en-
couraged the growth of motorcoach
and airline travel.
It is ironic that, just as the French
are inaugurating the fastest passenger
rail service in the world, the Reagan
administration is pondering further
cuts in Amtrak's subsidy.
Amtrak, which operates virtually all
of the passenger trains in the United
States, would have been forced to shut
down as much as 90 percent of its
routes if the original Reagan budget
plan had been passed intact.
Amtrak supporters in Congress were
able to save most of the rail system
then, but there is a real question of how
much of the system will survive the
next onslaught of budget cuts.
More reductions in Amtrak service
can only put the United States further
behind the Europeans in railway
development. Considering the tremen-
dous potential for high speed, energy
efficient train travel, cutting Amtrak
further can only be shortsighted.

exaggerated accounts of mass
death elsewhere.
Now the Religious Sciences
Circle of the holy city of Qum, a
group of hard-line clergy, has
issued a declaration that might
have been authored by the worst
of the shah's generals, calling
on the government to increase its
intelligence efforts and disarm
everyone except "reliable
religious individuals."
THEY ALSO praised the effor-
ts of chief prosecutor General
Rabbani Amlashi, who seems
ready at this point to order the
mass execution of some 4,000 im-
prisoned "dissidents."
'The mullahs clearly are'scared
to death, and are beginning to
break under the pressure. Dozens
of them have been assassinated
by urban guerrillas- in recent
weeks; most of the survivors'
travel about Teheran surrounded
by bodyguards. The mere sight of
the mullah's turban and cloak
has begun to serve as a license to
The second sign of fissure is a
profound tactical shift. Minister
for Executive Affairs Behzad
Nabavi has directly blamed the
bombing of the prme ministry Qn
the "Monafegin." This term can
be translated as "hypocrites,"
but it is, in fact, a political code
name for the Mujahideen e-
Khalq, the leftist organization
headed by Massoud Rajavi, now
serving as prime minister in exile
under the shadow presidency of
Abolhassan Bani-Sadr.
NABAVI'S accusation is the
first official admission that the
nation is faced with deep internal

divisions, rather than beset ex-
clusively by outside forces and
their Iranian puppets. Perhaps
unwittingly, Nabavi thus has
acknowledged and legitimized
the internal opposition, and the
Islamic Republican Party almost
certainly will pay dearly for his
Such slips did not occur before
the deaths of former IRP head
Ayatollah Beheshti, who had a
far better sense of political tac-
tics than any of the surviving
religious power elite.
The very fact that strategic
lapses such as Nabavi's now are
occurring makes it clear just how
sorely dependent the mullahs
were on Beheshti.
HENCE, THE time once again
appears ripe for a climactic
blowup. The Mujahideen are
ready-they know how it was
done the last time, and their
methods are likely to be
repeated. The pattern was first to
goad the government into a
paranoid frenzy, then to arrange
for defiant public demonstrations
at which innocent people were
The public outrage at such acts
fed into other demonstrations,
escalating the death toll and sub-
sequent public anger until the
government no longer could
sustain itself.
The test, of the Islamic
Republic may well be whether it
can avoid plunging fully into a
similar maelstrom of death. Thus
far, the general public has stayed
clear of the shooting. The fight
for that public's loyalty will be

the crucial factor in determining
who will win.
IN THE meantime, Iran's in-
ternal problems are beginning to
affect its external affairs. Iraq
once again has become
aggressive and now claims that
its army killed 5,000 Iranians in a
recent offensive.
Since no one can accurately
test this assertion, it may simply
be taken 't face value even in
Iran, lowering the stock of the
Iranian government in the eyes of
its own citizenry.
Earlier this month, moreover,
Japan announced its intention of.
canceling its oil contracts with
'Iran, due to high prices and un-
certainty about Iran's internal
stability. Tokyo currently pur-
chases more than one-third of all
Iran's crude exports, providing
foreign reserves badly needed for
the purchase of imported food.
The Japanese may well sense a
major political change in the
wind. They don't want to be ac-
cused of supporting the present
regime by any new government
which might replace it. In any
case, the withdrawal of confiden-
ce by one of the staunchest of
Iran's trading partners is a very
ominous sign indeed.
TO BE SURE, the IRP's op-
position itself is horribly divided,
vague in its philosophy and un-
clear what it would do if it did
gain power. In this game,
however, the question is not one
of absolutes but of relativities.
The victory will fall to whichever
side has the greatest unity and
sense of purpose relative to the
The opposition will gain
mightily even if it remains in its
present ambiguous state while
the IRP sinks into frenzy.
Iranians look for inner strength
and will follow it. By contrast,
irresolute bluster and power-
mongering, particularly when
coupled with heavy-handed
bullying, only invites their con-
Inner strength, finally, is
precisely what separated the
Ayatollah from so many -of the
ruling clergy in the eyes of the
public. If he becomes estranged
from the IRP, the people may see
no good reason to continue their
support of the mullahs.
Thus, before they begin loading
up for an all-out war on their op-
ponents, the IRP leaders should
reflect long and hard. Bullets
have a strange ability to ricochet
and destroy those who pull the
Beeman is an anthropologist
at Brown University and lived
in Iran for more than seven
years. He wrote this article for
Pacific News Service.


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Pro-life bill may undermine judiciary

V r v

Ii /'

To the Daily:
Congress is presently debating
on the "Human Life Statute" (S-
158), which would in effect make
abortion illegal in the United
States. The crux of the bill is its
definition of conception as the
beginning of human life.
By so doing, Congress would
alter the limits of the Fourteenth
Amendment so that fetuses would
be within its scope.
If implemented, the bill would

stitution states: "The judicial
power of the United States shall
be vested in one supreme court,
and such inferior courts as the
Congress may from time to time
ordain and establish."
Although ruling that the amen-
dment was not intended to in-
clude fetuses, the Court did
recognize that the state had a
vested interest in protecting the
unborn. However, the Court also
found that the right to privacy of

majority in each House. The
framers of the Constitution in-
tended this lengthy process to
avoid transient changes in the
protections of the Constitution.
Once the courts have inter-
preted the constitutional protec-
tions, a precedent is formed upon
which one can depend. If
Congress succeeds in subverting
this system, the positive effects
of the stability of the court would
be negated. Should a more liberal

before Congress, which purport to
weaken the federal court system
and make its decisions unenfor-
ceable. One such bill would forbid
federal courts from hearing
cases involving prayer in public
schools. Another, S-528, would
similarly forbid federal courts
from hearing busing cases.
Regardless of one's position on
these issues, we feel that this in-
fringement upon the authority of
the court system contradicts the


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