Arab World: “Iran is a Democratic Dictatorship”

Reactions continue to pour across the Arab world over developments in Iran, in the aftermath of the country's presidential elections which saw Mahmoud Ahmedinejad winning a second term, with 66 per cent of the overall votes.

In this round up of reactions, Arab bloggers compare between the political scenes in their countries with that in Iran as well as offer their insights to developments on the ground.

On Twitter, Essam Al Zamel [Ar], from Saudi Arabia, quips:

A screenshot of Al Zamel's tweet

A screenshot of Al Zamel

The European Union is calling for an investigation on the results of the Iranian elections. What a farce! Arab countries hold elections where the winners win by 99 per cent and we haven't heard any objections from them!?

Jordanian Ali Dahmash also notes how democracy in the Arab world pales compared to that in Iran:

Iran is a Democratic Dictatorship State as I name it. The country enjoys a good amount of liberalism and freedom that doesn’t exist in the Arab World. The men and women of Iran get to choose their leadership, but the Supreme Leader is still in control of everything. Women can vote, work anywhere, drive, travel, ski in the mountains but cannot nominate themselves in the elections. Iran is the largest democracy in the Middle East and the second after Lebanon, but minorities like Baha’is, Homosexuals and Armenians are still subject to oppression, persecution and the threat of being jailed or killed.

On the latest turmoil regarding the election results, the blogger explains:

While Mousavi accused the government of fraud and deception in the elections; since 14 million votes were not counted, his supporters took their despair and anger to the streets of Tehran. Most of the demonstrators are youth who are seeking reform and change. This middle class age group has always been the flame that flares any revolution or uprising. But I don’t see this as a revolt against the Islamic state, something that many people are looking forward to, but a slow reform process for change and modernization that should take its course. This is an inevitable internal path that should not be imposed by external powers or international threats. Time will eventually change Iran.

And Dahmash also comments on the power of Twitter, which has allowed the voices of Iranian protesters to echo around the world, despite the Iranian government's clampdown on free speech:

The government still controls the media and access to Internet sites such as (You Tube) & (Facebook) that are currently inaccessible. It has blocked International media from covering the riots. So protestors have switched to Twitter and other social networking sites to report what is going on in the streets of Tehran. Traditional media are also turning to Iran’s Internet users to get reports and videos of the situation there. The Obama administration has urged Twitter to delay its maintenance outage as this is the only way for Iranins to communicate with the rest of the world! Many protestors are risking their lives by using their Phone Cameras to shoot videos and pictures of the rallies that started peacefully a week ago and turned out violently with 7 slain so far.

Our last stop is at Palestinian Pundit, where Zarathustra lashes out at Arab youth saying:

What is taking place in Iran today (regardless of which side you support or if the opposition is truly reformist or not) only reaffirms how the Arab people (youth in particular) are the most impotent and spineless people in the middle east.
When was the last time that they defied government orders and went to the street by the tens of thousands to show their displeasure with anything their government has done ? Arab regimes have mastered the art of oppression so well for generations that they have created a generation of Arab youth that is fully happy to sit down, play cards , smoke Hookah and dream about going to Dubai or the west to work and make a lot of money. A generation of youth that cares more about meaningless danish cartoons humiliating the prophet than their daily humiliation and oppression. You have youth movements active all around the world from Latin America
to Iran to Turkey where the young people are trying to take an active role in determining their future, but not in the Arab world.
Arab youth's indifference and apathy is a direct result of the massive failure of their parent's generation. It is sad that everyone in the 3rd world it seems is attempting to change their reality , except Arabs , where the same tyrants and their sons have been ruling them for decades and that does not seem to concern them at all.


  • Great points raised. I wonder whether many of us Arabs are looking at Iran with envy. Why aren’t we doing the same thing?

    The big question is, should this turmoil get out of hand, will we see more restlessness in the Arab world on the domestic front?

    How ironic that the “democratic birthpangs of the Middle East” that the Bush administration fought for would start in the most unlikely place … Iran.

  • Anne Logue

    I find these comments compelling in their description of other Arab countries. Iran has taken the world by storm in its bravery and tenaciousness. Five days is a long time to take it too the streets in such numbers. It is good that they inspire us to do the same in our countries.

  • ali

    In Iran we are facing another version of Taleban. They did KudeTa and changed the election result. They killed student and protesters in dormitories and streets. They banned all media and arrest all activists.
    Now, the leader tried to threat people and protesters.
    We want our vote back to us. We are looking forward for better situation in Iran and peace in Iran and out side Iran.
    This government does not represent Iranian people.
    We want more freedom. freedom of speech, media, social freedom and no discrimination about sex, race, religion.
    We just need the support of people in all around the world.

  • DAG

    Then you can stop blaming Israel for all ypur problems.

  • joan mckniff

    Thank you so much for this discussion, I have been looking for it w/o luck in USA media as I think it is one of the most important questions right now. What impact will this have on the Arab world? And my particular question, what is the response/reaction in the Arab women to the brave women protesting in the streets of Iran?

  • Iran is not a democractic dictatorship. A fundamental tenet of a democracy is the ability to choose your leader. Since the Supreme Leader has the ultimate say over everything, until Iranians can partake in universal suffrage to elect their Supreme Leader or an equivalent, Iran remains a dictatorship with limited individual freedom. This individual freedom appears to be severely compromised as there is evidence some Iranians have been persecuted and even killed for expressing themselves.

    The international community should not hesitate to pressure the Iranian Government to respect Iranians’ basic human rights, including their right to expression without interference. Middle Eastern nations will benefit from this because of Iran’s strong influence in the region.

  • ben jon

    A few question:

    How did Bush come into power?

    Which dictator countries invaded Iraq and Afganistan with out approval of United Nation?

    Which countries support the dictatorship in Egypt and other Arab countries?

    Which country continously ignore UN resolution and get away

    Which countries support Apartheid Isreali state and allow the Isreali government to continously steal Palestenian lands and killed Palestenians in the name of defense?

    Is the UN demcratic with Vetoing rights to certain countries?

    Which countries dont recognised Hamas Government that were elected by people?

    Which country has Nuclear weapons in Middle East and which countries are not part Nucler Proliferation aggreements?

    Before we look for faults in other we should look at our selves.

    It makes u think.

    • joan mckniff

      what country did not pour out in the street when election stolen from candidate gore? that apathy lead, inter alia to death pf more than 4000 americans in iraq and far more iraqis

  • Ben Jon

    America’s foreign policy under Bush’s administration was undoubtedly dubious. The war in Iraq, as Obama said, is a ‘war of choice’. UN Perm 5 vetoing power has been under scrutiny by some. Hamas is recognized as a terrorist organisation.

    At least the US treats its people well, although sometimes at the expense of others.

  • baz

    Do we have to bring israel/palestine/US into everything??

    This is about Iran!

  • Obsr

    Since when Iran was part of the “Arab World”?

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