Danny Postel and Samira Mohyeddin on Hossein Derakhshan

Did you read this? I put it in News a few days ago. It’s Danny Postel’s openDemocracy comment on Hossein Derakhshan’s article, also in openDemocracy, about Ramin Jahanbegloo’s release from prison. It’s interesting. I thought Derakhshan’s article was quite worrying and depressing and discouraging, and Postel says that and a good deal more.

Derakhshan asserts that Jahanbegloo’s “confession” was authentic – Indeed even “the possibility of it being imposed on him by his interrogators” is, according to his logic, “rule[d] out”. The most obvious and immediate question involved is: how in the world could Derakhshan lay claim to such knowledge, let alone rule out the very possibility that Jahanbegloo’s “confession” was coerced or imposed?

Well, yes. One does wonder.

Essential to Derakhshan’s assertion is his view that Jahanbegloo is in fact guilty. Of what? Of “indirectly helping the Bush administration in its plans for regime change in Iran through fomenting internal unrest and instability.” And how, precisely, did Jahanbegloo do that? By conducting “comparative analysis of socio-political change in contemporary east-central Europe and the Islamic Republic of Iran” with “financial support” from American think-tanks.

That was the really depressing and discouraging bit. I have some reformist contacts inside Iran as well as outside, and I started to fret that perhaps I ought not to have such contacts, lest I contaminate them or implicate them or generally mix up their work with Bush’s plans. That’s a horrible thought: it would mean no one could try to reform or improve anything for fear of helping the colonialists. So I’m glad to see people rejecting Derakhshan’s argument with energy. Samira Mohyeddin for instance in an article at Iranian.com.

First, let me begin by saying that I will not comment on Ramin Jahanbegloo because as far as I am concerned Jahanbegloo’s comments or retractions upon being released from prison are of no consequence and should be taken with a grain of salt, particularly while the government holds the deed to both his house and his mothers. It is unbelievably naive and audacious of Derakhshan to say that Jahanbegloo saw the error of his ways thanks to his interrogators. “Thanks to the work of the reformists who governed the country until 2005, Iran has passed the stage of state terror.” – Derakhshan…[T]his is an apalling statement at best, and a slap in the face to all those Iranians who have given their lives for the cause of freedom both in and outside of Iran…Would Hossein dare make such a statement to the son of Zahra Kazemi, who was indiscriminately raped, tortured, and murdered while in Evin prison? Would he have the audacity to make such statements to the family of Akbar Mohammadi who died in Evin just last month? Or to the family of 16 year old Atefeh Rajabi who was hung in the Iranian town of Neka for “engaging in acts incompatible with chastity”? Or to the family members of the thousands of prisoners of conscience who have perished in the jails of the Iran of the Islamic Republic over the past twenty-seven years?

La lutte continue.

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