MIDDLE EAST

Is Khomeinism dying?

What’s currently happening in Iran is much more than a wave of popular protests or disputes among the Khomeini regime’s different wings or a game between hawks and doves. What’s happening in Iran is about holding the regime, founded by revolutionary cleric Ayatollah Khomeini, “accountable.”

The republic’s fate is on stake. It’s not just about the fate of one minister or the president or the Supreme Leader as they can easily be replaced. Everything is possible through elections!

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, the “purple fox” as journalist Msauod Zahd who is an expert in Iranian affairs describes him, tried to rectify the situation. In a historical speech to mark the Khomeini “revolution,” he called for a popular referendum to know the opinion of the Iranian people in the regime and what they want.

ALSO READ: Iranian intellectuals demand referendum to change regime

Why did he make this revolutionary call? How come this call was made by a man who has always served the Khomeini regime? He said that if the Khomeini regime does not reform itself, it will not go on, neither with its hawks nor with its doves.

However, is it too late to reform it now that the Iranian people generally feel “hopeless” of any opportunity to reform the republic especially that they’ve already tried that game of reformists’ and extremists’ governance?

The republic’s fate is on stake. It’s not just about the fate of one minister or the president or the Supreme Leader as they can easily be replaced

Mashari Althaydi

Popular referendum

After Rouhani made his call, 15 Iranian political and civil activists signed a statement calling for a UN-sponsored popular referendum towards a peaceful transition from the guardian of the jurist state towards a “secular parliamentarian and democratic” regime.

Lawyer Shirin Ebadi told Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper that those who signed the statement represent different ideas, orientations and categories and aim to meet the popular demands raised during the recent protests. One of the most popular demands was holding a referendum to decide the fate of the guardian of the jurist regime.

ALSO READ: Iran: A look at the ‘dark past’ of those in the running for Rouhani’s cabinet

Ebadi said: “The Islamic Republic has shown in the past 39 years that it cannot be reformed. This was proven by the experiences of different governments whether led by conservatives or reformists.” She added that the statement was signed by diverse Iranian elite figures and this reflects the Iranians’ general desire to end the regime’s age and the theories which govern it.

During the famous conference launching the NEOM project, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the “new” Saudi Arabia is not willing to waste more years in illusions like those of the Brotherhood and Khomeinism. This is the difference between leaders who head for the future before it’s too late and those who get stuck in the past and destroy life. Has the countdown for Khomeinism begun?

This article was first published in Arabic.

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Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 14 February 2018 KSA 12:31 - GMT 09:31
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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