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“The old south of Tehran talks”

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I will start by quoting The Economist : “Those who try to understand Iran are ill-informed. The results of the elections showed once again that Tehran is one of the most unpredictable countries from the political point of view. Frustration is big; the political parties originally under Jatami are so frustrated that they have been abandoned. The reformist Mostafa Moin was abandoned in the first round and they were even more determined to abandon Rafsanjyani. Surprisingly, Ahmadineyad is not gripped by fear.
Obviously, Rafsandyani would have been elected if it had only been just a question of liberalization of the way of living, but it was also the question of unemployment rate that is 40% sometimes, the housing difficulties in the whole territory. Those things were not addressed by Jatami administration. It seems to me that there is another interesting thing: Ahmadineyad is not a theologian; he was 20 years old at the beginning of the Revolution, of which he has been a main actor. His family is from the countryside, but he grew up in the South of Tehran where he started in a technical school and completed his studies in Narmak, which during the 70’s was a center of political thoughts and ideas. The young generation was born there, whose socio-revolutionary commitment is in religion. Maybe the real actors of the revolution have the word today, but not those who have been supported and have failed.
This elections showed a socio-political orientation and discussions about the top-down distribution: one of the objectives of the Revolution was to make out of Islam the replacement of Marxism-Leninism. Better said, it is the old south of Tehran of the time of Shah that talks. However, this South of Tehran is not what it used to be. The 26 years of the Islamic Republic and modernization process affected precisely the lower-middle and lower classes. There is still the question of whether what was expressed in the elections was the nostalgia for this time or a desperate gesture. The material, social and economic conditions of life, are they more important than the way they should get dressed, contrary to what we usually think here?

Source
Der Standard (Austria)

Hier spricht das alte Südteheran”, by Bert Fragner, Der Standard, June 27, 2005. Text adapted from an interview.

Bert Fragner

Bert Fragner Bert Fragner is the director of the Institute of Iranistics of the Academy of Sciences of Vienna. He teaches Iranistics at Bamberg University.

 
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