Home > Iran > Incoming Professor Mohsen Khadivar Speaks with Wall Street Journal

Incoming Professor Mohsen Khadivar Speaks with Wall Street Journal

Mohsen Khadivar is a reformist clergyman who was arrested for agitating the regime of the Shah as an engineering student and jailed for 18 months by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 1999. Now he and other clerics are fashioning the theological opposition to the Iranian theocracy. Wall Street Journal reports,

Why is this significant? Take a look at the color Mr. Mousavi’s supporters have chosen for their movement: Green is the color of Islam, meaning the demonstrators are taking on the regime on its own terms. Part of that challenge is to Iran’s republican pretensions, mocked by voter turnout that the regime itself admits exceeded 100% in some 50 districts.

… any revolution carried out in the name of God is also susceptible to being challenged in the name of God — and God has many names. As with the Communist revolutions of the 20th century, which were ultimately answerable to the verdict of History in which they placed so much stock, the ideological foundation of the Islamic Revolution rests with the prevailing views of a Shiite clerisy. Thanks to people like Mr. Kadivar, those views now tilt increasingly against the regime: So far, he notes, two of Iran’s four major seminaries have refused to endorse Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s “victory.”

Whether they’ll succeed will depend partly on their willingness to continue their protests — possibly through crippling work stoppages — but mostly on the willingness of the regime to enforce its will. Mr. Kadivar is convinced a large segment of the regime’s all-important Revolutionary Guards side with the demonstrators. But they have their own perquisites to look after, and liberal revolutionaries are often crippled by their own innate distaste of violence.

This interview came on the cusp of the Supreme Leader’s brusque warnings to the opposition at Tehran’s University Friday and Obama’s fourth formal press conference, in which he called the government crackdown of the opposition and the widely-publicized death of Neda Agha-Soltan “heartbreaking.”

— Tina Carter, Trinity ’10
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