عبدالکريم سروش


Date:  May 14, 2009


Iranian scholar opts for Karroubi

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 Karroubi.

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 his acts.

"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."

Referring 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 years."

He criticized the former president Khatami for lining up behind Mousavi and said he did not understand this decision.

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."




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