January 28, 2004
By Reza Bulorchi and Nir Boms
Defying conventional wisdom, fresh voices of freedom appear to be coming from the Middle East as of late. Assad of Syria delivers his plans for democratization directly to the New York Times. Khaddafi of Libya delivers his to Newsweek, as he claims to be an ally in the war against terrorism and invites the world to review his nuclear arsenal. Khatami of Iran, the “moderate” President, threatens to resign due to an election crisis resulting from the Guardian Council’s decision to disqualify more than 3,000 candidates from the ballot of his country’s upcoming February 20 elections. Among the disqualified candidates were 80 incumbent Parliament deputies – including two deputy speakers. The banning of candidates, of course, is never a positive step. But the political crisis brewing in Iran must clearly show that voices of freedom are indeed making headway there – right?