30 years after the Islamic revolution: "In Iran, I feel free to express my opinions"
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On February 11, Iran marked the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution that brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power. We put four questions before our Iranian Observers both inside and outside the country (). Here, one of them defends the revolution and says he is happy in his country. Read more...
At a documentary film festival in Tehran, October 2008. Photo posted by Azad on his excellent photo-blog, "Life goes on in Tehran", along with the comment: "Iran is not the ‘evil' country you hear about in a John McCain stomp speech".
On February 11, Iran marked the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution that brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power. We put four questions before our Iranian Observers both inside and outside the country (read the others). Here, one of them defends the revolution and says he is happy in his country.
Seyed Vahid Aqili, 40, is a media researcher from Tehran.
What were you doing 30 years ago?
I was in primary school. I remember that the Shiraz University campus (where I later studied) was closed for six months because of trouble caused by the revolution. I watched what happened on TV at home."
Do you feel free in Iran?
Yes. I feel free to express my opinions. Of course I can't talk about everything and I always take the economic and security interests of my country into consideration. But we do feel free to criticise the social and cultural initiatives taken by our government. We're not scared to do that."
What financial situation are you in?
I'm generally happy with my financial circumstances. I earn around 470 euros a month. We live well, me and my family. Those who are really suffering are the lowest classes. But those with a salary or who work for the state do ok."
What do you think of the United States?
The US needs to change its view of Iran. In 1950 they supported the Shah's coup against the national government of Mohamed Mossadegh (who five years later, died in prison). Then in 1979 the US supported the Islamic revolution's opponents. Personally, I stand by the ideas behind the revolution, because it supports equality while the Shah's regime only benefitted the upper classes. The Iranian people want professional and social progress, but they're not dreaming of leaving the country, like everyone thinks. I wouldn't mind spending a bit of time abroad to gain some experience and knowledge, but I love my country."
What do you expect from the presidential election next June?
I hope there are more candidates so that we can really choose a president. Although personally I support Ahmadinejad because he's done a lot for the lower-middle classes."