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04 March 2016

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Amir

There is talk of changing it, upon Khamenei's suggestion, ...hearsay.

Amir

I am not an expert and I have not lived their for 3 decades and my view of Iran was formed as a elementary and middle school pupil in a country at war.

My general impression is that, each time I return, the country has made strides in it's general development from industrial and scientific point of view. I judge the latter within my own field and extrapolate to other fields by laymen exchange of information with others in those other fields.
The changes in social contracts are also well known.

Although I partially agree with Babak about his "pro-Westernness" analysis, the marriage of the "Islamic values" and modernity by IRI. It has allowed for education of women, exchange of populations as students between different regions and intermixing of those, contact with NEIGHBORING countries (as opposed to far abroad), need for self-sufficiency by default and realization of personal responsibility instead of magical (and expectant) thinking.

This will lead to gradual adjustment of the social and economical and by default political situation. "The cultures die slowly": I would have liked to refer you to the book by my professor but I think it would be extremely difficult to get hold of a Dutch copy, let alone a translated one. https://books.google.com/books/about/Culturen_sterven_langzaam.html?id=5wUyAAAACAAJ
http://www.paperbackswap.com/Culturen-Sterven-Langzaam-Rik-Pinxten/book/9052402515/

Amir

He is not a G.A. but barely made it from Hojjatol-Eslam to Ayatollah. These titles are not political titles but point to scholarship in religion, something like B.A., Masters, PhD, ... as prerequisites to obtain political power (something recent in Iran).
As a "Doctorandus", his credentials were augmented, somewhat in the same way that The Younger Gaddafi graduated from LSE.

This was forced through to allow for him to take over the Supreme Leader position.

Amir

Although I can not comment on how you become a Grand Ayatollah, I know that you, kind of, emerge as a Marja-e-Taghlid. This happens by consensus and spontaneity of the believers that decide to follow your example (Taghlid) because of your past enlightened way of life.

Farooq

Much appreciated Amir!

Amir

You are welcome. The book by Prof Rik Pinxton - who is a Navajo expert and has lived among them as an ethnologist and speaks their language - is not about Iran in particular but about the tendency of cultures to persists despite the changes around them. This is more or less in line with Col. Lang's assertion that not everything should be explained from economical point of view but that local cultural aspects influence local decision making.
I just mentioned it to point to the fact that despite societal changes, the culture probably will not be influenced too much.

Babak Makkinejad

The Navajo are interesting also from the point of view of cultural adaptation.

They are sheep herders now and their creation myths states that the sheep and the people (the Navajo) had been created at the same time.

But they got the sheep from the Spaniards!

The Beaver

Unless President Hollande bestows a secret Légion D'honneur on President Rouhani like he just did to the Saudi Prince Nayef :(

Babak Makkinejad

I think Putin gave a gilded sword to that Saudi Prince - per the old Arabic proverb, "The gift must fit the recipient."

Thomas

Amir,

That is how I understand it as an outsider and as you state below there is a religious scholarship aspect that first has to be completed. The point I clumsily failed to make is that Ali Khamenei began the process by completing the scholarship phase late 2010 and in Feb 2011 his followers started to address him as such.

His office webmaster sees him that way too.

http://www.leader.ir/en

At that time I was visiting a scholar's website on Iran which provide the info. I quit when the man had no courage to defend his Iranian visitors from verbal attacks and a Zio-witch showed up to enforce Politically Correct hatred.

Once we beat the Borg Beast down here in the US, I foresee a decent civil relationship between the countries. The live and let live attitude appears there unlike the others across the Gulf.

Farooq

Thanks for your post Amir. Yes, i understood from your post that the book is on the general topic and not specifically about Iran.

The reason i asked you the questions that i asked in my original post is because, based on my limited interaction with Iranian diaspora, mainly young students, i had come to believe that a much larger , say ~40 percent of the population of mostly young and urban people is liberal. That some of the more ridiculous things like not allowing women into stadium would vanish overnight if it wasn't for the current conservative regime.

On the topic of slow cultural change, here is an article from Pakistan that you might find interesting. It is on the topic of shariat court and how it blunts the regressive conservative pressures while providing space and time for society to change attitudes

http://www.thenews.com.pk/print/89285-The-curious-case-of-the-Shariat-Court

A followup article after the first article caused some uproar among liberals

http://www.thenews.com.pk/print/93377-The-art-of-the-possible

YT

Sir,

I recommend "The Coming Anarchy" by Robert Kaplan, the first amongst other essays first published (also) in '94.

A little off-thread (here) but involves issues that nation-states are often blind to.

The Beaver

Mariner

IIRC Bahais are prosecuted, not because of their beliefs but, because at one point in time they worked against the Ayatollahs.

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