Friday, January 30, 2009

Obama on the right track re Iran

Obama has appointed Professor Vali Nasr as senior advisor to special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.

Read this interview to get a gist of Nasr's views.

He IS brilliant:
Iran secularists or middle-class Iranians or Westerners can look at Iran and see all the flaws—the veto power of the supreme leader, the Guardian Council not allowing people to run. But the majority of Iranians who are poor and religious don’t see these as problems. They don’t see a problem when the Guardian Council disqualifies secular opponents. In their eyes, it’s genuine democracy, because they have three or four choices. How those three or four choices came there doesn’t bother them, but they know that their vote makes a difference as to which of those three or four will actually win.

So, ironically, in Iran, the lower down in society you go, the more there is democracy practiced. They have been voting longer than the upper-class Iranians. It’s the reverse of the rest of the Middle East, where you might say the elite, educated abroad, have seen democracy, but the poor are completely oblivious to it. In Iran, the further down you go, the more they have been engaged, and the more they believe that this is genuine and they take it seriously.

Here are some of his books:
The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future ($10.17)
Islamic Leviathan: Islam and the Making of...


Gene said...

Great links, Naj! Thanks! I studied briefly Shiism at university and was totally enthralled by what I read. I felt then, perhaps wrongly, that it was less stringent than Sunni Islam. I definitely want to know more and would most certainly buy his book.

Naj said...


Shiism allows contemporary "interpretation of Koran". so in that sense, it may be less strict.

Like, at the beginning of revolution, Khomeini banned Chess, Music and Beluga (the Caviar fish). Before his death, he changed his mind!

Siism in Iran has been a great force of resistance throughout its post-Islam history. I am sure you know better than me :)

an average patriot said...

Always an education! Brilliant is putting it mildly! It is a real pleasure to be pleasantly surprised routinely by your President than mortified as with Bush.
The Dr. seems like the absolute perfect person for the job. That would be from the unbiased standpoint. I wonder how it will play with Ahmadinejad as he was American educated?

Khamenei (pardon my spelling) and Ahmadinejad seem to be on two sides of a spectrum. When it comes down to it who will the people follow? Would it split the country? I do not think so as the civilization is so venerable!

Naj said...

Howdy Jim,

Not sure I follow ... who is American educated? Ahmadinejad?! Ahmadinejad's not educated in America.

And, as for Ahmadinejad and Khamenei, in Iran there is no spectrum really, it's a pizza!

an average patriot said...

Hi Naj
I meant Dr. Nasr. According to what I was reading he is American ecucated!

Naj said...

I see.

Well you will be surprised that some people in the so-called Iranian diaspora call Nasr an IRI-supporter!

Ahmadinejad at this point is irrelevant. What is important is that people who talk to Obama are not idiots. And Nasr is important because he is Iranian and thus can decipher Ahmadinejad's bellicose outbursts :)

lol, I feel Obama has hired me :)

an average patriot said...

I see! Funny but I feel the same way about Obama! The man is genuine and we can se it. People tell me I should be his publicist.Obama is a star to me and he wants to fix all Bush's damage and save the world for his daughters. He got and has my vote!

RickB said...

A refreshing change from the insane people the Bush regime surrounded themselves with.
(Naj, poke, cross post at STSH waiting for the old one to be removed).

nunya said...

I think Vali Nasr is full of crap if he thinks that a military conflict between Iran and the US is a viable option. Americans are just sick to death of war.

Just saying.

Nasr seems to have a handle on the political rhetoric from the leadership of both Iran and the US.


How do you think the poor in Iran will react to him?

Naj said...


did you read the article i posted a link to?

What do the poor of Iran think of whom?
the poor of Iran think of who can help them overcome their poverty. As it is, they do not really give a damn who hires whom to what job :)

They would voice their opinion if Nasr were to run for Iranian presidency ;)

nunya said...

Sure I read it. I meant Nasr. You answered my question, thanx hon :)

Naj said...

my pleasure

Anonymous said...

Does one need a doctoral degree from a US university before you admit to the truth of his statements? There is nothing that I had not posted earlier here that Nasr also agrees with.

pen Name

Anonymous said...

You wrote: "Ahmadinejad at this point is irrelevant.".

Well he is not. He is still the President and Chairman of the National Security Council of Iran. He is beloved of many of the same poor humble people that you mention in your statements.

And pary, tell me, which of his statements were bellicose? He bravely stood up to the Americans and the Global Arrogance. He called the evils of Israel for what they were - Evil. And thus he articulated the views of hundreds of millions of Muslim.

Many of us in Iran are proud of him, and God Willing, will see him in his second Presidental term.

pen Name

Naj said...


you may have spoken the same words as Nasr; but you haven't got the guts to have a blog; or a name :)

Anyways, you like that idiot Ahmadinejad; good for you. I don't. See you at the voting booth :)

Anonymous said...

"idiot" from Ancient Greek "idiotys" - he who walk alone.

pen Name

Gene said...

Just came by to drop this link:

in case you would be interested & you haven't seen it already.

Kindest regards!