A commentary by Professor Juan Cole, University of Michigan.
The Iranian cultural and artistic community was excited about Rouhani’s election in 2013 and had hoped for a relaxation of restrictions imposed during Ahmadinejad’s presidency. But Rouhani’s record so far is a mixed one. The minister of culture has proposed removing filters on Facebook, but the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is opposed to any cultural relaxation.
In a sign of more openness in Iranian academic environment, a prominent American sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein has gone to Iran to give lectures for Iranian universities and students. In an Interview in Iran, Wallerstein said he is not “ not sure what attracts people to my work. Maybe it’s that I’m an American, I say things that Americans don’t usually say and I have an analysis which seems to resonate in a lot of countries,” the 84-year-old Wallerstein said in an interview Monday.