Hooman Majd, author of the book, “The Ayatollah Begs to Differ,” has written a book about his family’s year in Tehran, “The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay.” In this book, Majd has some interesting observations about Iranians, and how they put up with the restrictions imposed by the Islamic Republic. Majority of Iranians have adjusted to life under the Islamic Republic, and I agree with him that as much as the Iranians have suffered from mismanagement and ill-advised policies of their government, people inside Iran do not want to necessarily overthrow the Islamic Republic. As their participation in the June 2013 Presidential elections demonstrates, they are still looking for alternatives within Iran to make their Islamic Republic more republican and democratic, and less Islamic.
Even though the road to this realization during the reformist period of President Khatami was a major disappointment, the disenchantments have not convinced the Iranians that there is a better more prosperous future waiting for them if they overthrow the current regime. In Majd’s book, Khatami is quoted as saying that Iranians “don’t have the culture for human rights & democracy.” Whether this is a true statement or not, young Iranians today are idealistic, and do want to see a democratic Iran. For this post-revolutionary generations of Iranians, the revolution of 1979 was a major mistake that could have been avoided and should not have happened. Their lives have been impacted by a series of connected developments that begins with the Revolution of 1979: The hostage crisis (1979-1981), the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), the Salman Rushdie Fatwa ( 1980-1998), the nuclear dispute and sanctions. Yet, despite all the hardship, it is stunning to see how young Iranians still hope for a better future.