‘Muslim values must be a part of democracy’
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The only way democracy can exist in the Middle East is under leadership that combines Muslim values and politics with the principles of democracy, Mansour Farhang, Former Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations said during a March 23 lecture at Sacramento State.
“Democracy is the only form of government that has gained complete legitimacy throughout the world,” Farhang said. “The only way we can imagine government by the people is through elections and representation.”
Any attempt to alter the beliefs of the Iranian people in the process of achieving democracy is “misguided at best and blasphemy at worst,” he said.
Farhang’s lecture was sponsored by the newly formed Center for Iranian and Middle Eastern Studies. His appearance coincided with the third anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq. He said the current situations serves as an example – it is necessary to work with a country without resorting to force, whether it be physical or political, he said.
“For the American position, the moderate country is the country that submits to the American ideal,” said Farhang.
According to Farhang, the need for democracy in the Middle East stems from the fact that previous leaders have been incapable of responding to public inequalities and frustrations of the country.
“Democracy has never been offered to the people on a silver platter,” he said.
Another obstacle to attaining democracy in Iran is that “they’ll all agree what they don’t want, but when it comes to the question of what is to replace it, what is expected to replace it, then disagreement begins,” Farhang explained. “When exiles and ideologues get together, they can create disaster.”
Yet rather than discrediting the process, Farhang acknowledged that the democracy movement in the Middle East is just as valuable as it is in any other part of the world. He said he believes that Iran can benefit from international support, but that support must not be coercive.
“The need for coalition building is a necessity if democracy is to have a chance,” said Farhang.
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