Posted on 22-12-2009
Filed Under (Current Affairs) by Rashtrakut

As expected the death of Ayatollah Montazeri has brought the crowds back on Iranian streets and the regime predictably tried to tarnish his memory.  Abbas Milani at TNR has a great profile of the man would have been Supreme Leader but for the fact he had a conscience.  The trauma caused to the United States by the embassy takeover and the international loss of face has often blinded Americans to the fact that the Islamic revolution toppled a tyrant (albeit one who ultimately flinched at the thought of firing at the crowds in a manner that did not faze Hafez Assad in Syria or the Chinese regime in the next decade) and that the new regime had broad public backing at inception.

However, the founders of the Islamic Republic of Iran ultimately fell prey to the same moral vacuum that stained past revolutions and led to the Reign of Terror, the Great Purges, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.  Like the French, Russian and Chinese Revolutions before it, the Iranian regime replaced a repressive regime that was far more brutal and had fewer qualms in killing its own citizens.  Montazeri deserves credit for having the moral authority to stand up for to Ayatollah Khomeini and protest the wanton massacre of the regime’s opponents.  For this he suffered house arrest and political exile but earned the respect of his countrymen. It is hardly surprising that the morally and ideologically bankrupt regime is desperately trying to tarnish his name and disrupt his funeral services.  However, by turning him into a martyr they are generating a backlash against the Supreme Leader.

Just how much force the regime is willing to use and whether the mobs will peter out will be evident in the coming days.

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