Iranian writer and scholar
Adbdolkarim Soroush has thrown his support behind the reformist
candidate Mehdi Karroubi.
Soroush, a former philosophy
professor at Tehran University who last year was a visiting fellow
and scholar in residence with the Berkley Center for Religion,
Peace, and World Affairs, says that his views have not changed since
four years ago, and - out of the present candidates, he supports
The 64-year old scholar is not a stranger to
political discourse or even participation in administrative affairs,
and was head of the Headquarters for Cultural Revolution in the
1980's, during the premiership of another leading presidential
candidate - Mir-Hossein Mousavi.
Nevertheless, he said that
he sees "nothing new" in Mousavi's words and "nothing attractive" in
"I imagine that he has not changed his previous
thoughts and, although he sometimes makes new points in his
speeches, but his 'roots' are still the same as before," said
Soroush. "There are worrying traits in his words."
to Mousavi's reluctance to get involved in politics since leaving
office in 1989, the philosopher said, "In practice, he (Mousavi)
stood by, watched all the inequities and said nothing for twenty
He criticized the former president Khatami for
lining up behind Mousavi and said he did not understand this
Soroush, who is on record for supporting a liberal
democratic system as described in his collected works pointed out a
just and independent judiciary as the "heart" of a just society.
Although he recognized that in Iran the president - who heads
the executive branch - does not have direct control over the
judiciary, in his view, Karroubi was the right man to create a "more
free atmosphere, so that the thinkers and intellectuals can do
something about the creation of a civil society, a media that is a
little more free, more liberty for the people and the removal of the
shadow of fear from people's lives."
Rejecting the calls by
some to boycott the elections, he said that participation in the
polls was the only show in town, "what else can be done?" "There is
no 'ideal' democracy anywhere." If participations in elections have
"even partially satisfactory results, then, God-willing, gradually
it will become more so."