Women press ahead with change in Iran

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Women press ahead with change in Iran

Deutsche Welle

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Women press ahead with change in Iran
Women press ahead with change in Iran. picture alliance/abaca
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Sadegh Zibakalam is not expecting much from the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. “On the anniversary, politicians will hold speeches again. They will talk about exporting the Islamic Revolution, about the destruction of Israel and the war against the USA. But what almost never appears in their speeches are the true aims of the revolution 40 years ago,” the political scientist from Tehran told DW. “The revolution promised us democracy, the rule of law and freedom of the press. It promised us the right to freedom of opinion, without being arrested and tortured.”

As a young student, Zibakalam had supported the revolution. During the regime of the Shah, he had spent two years in prison, but he is also aware of the repression taking place in Iran today. A winner of DW’s Freedom of Speech Award in 2018, he was, at first instance, sentenced to prison for 18 months. The reason: In an interview with DW, he had shown understanding for the protesters in Iran. From December 2017 to January 2018, the country witnessed the biggest anti-government protests in a decade.

The Islamic republic — then and now

Among other things, Zibakalam said that many citizens in the country had expressed “wishes and demands that had been pent up for a long time” and had vented their “disappointment about the entire system.” In fact, there was even occasional praise for the former Shah Reza Pehlavi, who was overthrown by the revolution in 1979. At most, 30 percent of Iran’s citizens still believe in the Islamic republic, the political scientist said.

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