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    (Original post by john2054)
    That's fine. Like i said, i don't denigrate you just because you are not very good at spelling. We all have to start somewhere. The main thing is that you see Isis as the enemy, so we are on the same team!

    Thanks John.
    Don't you start too like the others! My spelling is actually stellar regarding standardised English.

    Ï rït fuhneticlee bicoz inglish needz tuh riform rëlee kwït despruhtlee and thuh shift can önlee uhcer if peepuhl ar pripêd tuh teyk thuh ferst step wich yoojuhlee involvs ridicyool and chaluhnjing uhstablishd suhsïuhtuhl normz.
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    (Original post by BeastOfSyracuse)
    But Iran carries out more executions each year than Saudi Arabia.
    True, but Iran also has a population 3-4x as large as Saudi. Also, >90% of the executions in Iran are carried out for drug-trafficking offences, which effect Iran hugely (it has a terrible drug epidemic) given its geographical location as a transit point for drugs entering Europe.


    Thus the law is justified on public policy reasons, similar to Singapore. However, I believe the death penalty is wrong in all circumstances, but this isn't, in my mind, a sufficient pretext to tell another nation how to govern. Iran also has some pretty progressive elements in its drug policy.


    Moreover, Iran have recently stated that they will be reforming their drug laws, recognising the unsustainable, and ineffective, number of executions carried out in this regard. Time will tell.

    Homosexual acts are still punishable by death in Iran
    True, and that is disgusting.

    and stoning is still on the Iranian statute books as the penalty for adultery.
    True, but not the whole story. In 2012 the penal code introduced hanging as an alternative punishment for adultery, and such sentences are extremely rare as far as I know - with any stoning sentence typically being commuted into a hanging sentence.


    Also note the high threshold of proof needed for a conviction of adultery. Although, there are certainly strong concerns about the legality of many confessions extracted and trials in general.


    More pressure needs to be put on Iran to clarify its position re: stoning, so that it can be struck off the penal code altogether, and there's no doubt that Iran's laws are deeply sexist, especially its laws relating to divorce and inheritance. But there has been progress made on this, for example only a few days ago its Parliament passed a law that gives female victims of car accidents equal insurance payouts to male victims. Hopefully we will see more of the same.

    Iran has assiduously cultivated Shi'a sectarianism, and has been the controlling force behind political parties in Iraq that ran some of the worst death squads (an example would be one of these death squads went to a brothel in Baghdad a couple of years back and killed everyone in there, about 20 women in total; that is the kind of religious fanaticism that the Iranian government promotes). Iran has been an extremely regressive influence on Iraqi politics and society.
    I generally agree with this. I don't think there is any evidence to suggest Iran directly orchestrates such acts, but it cannot be denied that Iran funds and arms such groups that have a destabilising effect for its own ends.

    Unfortunately the left, because of their tendency to see things in simplistic terms and to perceive the Iranian government as anti-imperialist, then engage in rationalisations and equivocation and convince themselves that somehow the Khomeinist ideology really isn't that bad. The Iranian government is a major regressive force and a promoter of sectarianism in the Middle East, and "but whatabout Saudi" doesn't change that fact
    Hmm. I completely agree that the Iranian regime is a fascist theocratic dictatorship that hijacked the 1979 democratic protests with its own brand of violent Islamism, which it maintained by repressing the population aided by Saddam's invasion of Iran during the 80s. But the Iranian population are growing disillusioned with not only the regime, but Islam (in 2012 a police chief in Tehran said that around 50% of the population openly flouted the Ramadan rules of not eating in public), are pretty pro-West, well-educated (>60% of university graduates in the country are female), and the least anti-Semitic in the region.


    Therefore, in terms of a natural ally in the region, it is my strong belief that in the LR Iran can be a far better ally to the West than Saudi or Turkey can ever be (just like in the Shah era).
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    (Original post by Shillary)
    True, but not the whole story. In 2012 the penal code introduced hanging as an alternative punishment for adultery
    Wow, hanging. Are they not merciful

    I generally agree with this. I don't think there is any evidence to suggest Iran directly orchestrates such acts, but it cannot be denied that Iran funds and arms such groups that have a destabilising effect for its own ends.
    Does the Ayatollah personally order State of Law and Dawa death squads to murder prostitutes, emos, atheists, etc? No. But he doesn't have to, nor would he get his hands dirty. He sets the tone and provides a sort of passive consent to the way these factions do business. The Ayatollah has such moral authority amongst Iraqi Shi'a that he could put an immediate end to such practices. They choose not to, and thus bear a great deal of moral responsibility for what happens.

    But the Iranian population are growing disillusioned with not only the regime, but Islam (in 2012 a police chief in Tehran said that around 50% of the population openly flouted the Ramadan rules of not eating in public), are pretty pro-West, well-educated (>60% of university graduates in the country are female), and the least anti-Semitic in the region.

    Therefore, in terms of a natural ally in the region, it is my strong belief that in the LR Iran can be a far better ally to the West than Saudi or Turkey can ever be (just like in the Shah era).
    On that we are in agreement; young Iranians are very progressive and cosmopolitan, and hungry for change. I believe Iran could be a great friend and ally to the West (my ideal foreign policy set-up would be that we have an alliance with the three democratic "I"s. Israel, Iran and India. That is, if Iran can reform itself. I agree we should kick Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Pakistan to the curb, they have always been duplicitous "allies" and are not to be trusted. I'd go so far as to say that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, or at least the Saudi government and the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment, could be considered our enemy)

    I do believe Iran has great capacity to grow and develop into a beacon of civilisation in that part of the world. But the substantive element of my comments here were to debunk the tendency on the hard left to pretend that Iran already is what you and I would ideally like it to be. There is a tendency on the hard left to pretend the Iranian government isn't that bad, and to justify their actions with the rote argument "but whatabout Saudi".

    I would like to see Iran reform itself and I believe the youth of Iran would like to live in the sort of country we'd like Iran to be. There's no question in my mind, from talking to my Persian friends and having travelled a little in the region, that young Iranians are much more progressive than the young people in sunni-dominant countries. But we will have to wait and see, I'm not inclined to equivocate and rationalise the theocratic Khomeinist regime in Tehran in the meantime

    (good comment btw. Nuanced and interesting)
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    (Original post by BeastOfSyracuse)
    Wow, hanging. Are they not merciful
    Progress is progress…


    Whilst I am unequivocally pro-LGBT rights, and regard any legislation against homosexual sex as backwards and disgusting, this does beg the question of whether we have any right to interfere in the sovereign affairs of a foreign country because we disagree with their domestic policies.


    If a state’s population passes a lawwith a popular mandate to criminalise X, and there is due process in trials for convictions of X (not that either of these is true in the case of Iran, but as a hypothetical…) - is this a sufficient pretext to invade or sanction that state?
    He sets the tone and provides a sort ofpassive consent to the way these factions do business. The Ayatollah has suchmoral authority amongst Iraqi Shi'a that he could put an immediate end to suchpractices. They choose not to, and thus bear a great deal of moralresponsibility for what happens.
    This begs the deeper, philosophical, question of omissions liability, but I won’t digress on that…


    I think we agree that Iran is somewhatresponsible for such factions, but to different extents. To give an example, the Houthis. They are not allied to Iran in the way the media would have you believe; they defied Iran’s advice to not advance on Sana’a in 2014, and only recently a top Houthi official chastised Iran for attempting to interfere in its affairs. I think this is one example that illustrates how the media tends to overstate Iran’scontrol/influence over other groups in the region. It is also worth noting the important role of many Iran-backed Shia militias in Iraq, but not without the caveat that this could lead/has led to further sectarianism.

    http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns...ran-1224808066
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/...b0d9b743db627c
    http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News...en-crisis.html

    But the substantive element of my commentshere were to debunk the tendency on the hard left to pretend that Iran alreadyis what you and I would ideally like it to be. There is a tendency on the hardleft to pretend the Iranian government isn't that bad, and to justify theiractions with the rote argument "but whatabout Saudi".
    There is no doubt that the Iranian regime is a fascist theocratic dictatorship, that have carried out numerousacts of state-sponsored terrorism abroad, for example the 1992 Mykonos assassinations. And this is nothing in comparison to what they subject their own people to.


    However, I think there is a legitimate point of contention with the lack of consistency in the UK’s foreign policy vis-à-vis Saudi Arabia and Iran. On the one hand it sanctions Iran, and on the other it exports billions of pounds of weapons to Saudi Arabia (with possible complicity in war-crimes). This is not saying that the Iranian regime is good, or that we should sell weapons to them, just that this inconsistency exists and should be discussed/addressed.

    I would like to see Iran reform itself and I believe the youth of Iran would like to live in the sort of country we'dlike Iran to be. There's no question in my mind, from talking to my Persianfriends and having travelled a little in the region, that young Iranians aremuch more progressive than the young people in sunni-dominant countries. But wewill have to wait and see, I'm not inclined to equivocate and rationalise thetheocratic Khomeinist regime in Tehran in the meantime
    I agree.


    I think there is also the question of what is the most effective way for the West to undermine the regime, and help Iranians in their quest for democracy. I do not think sanctions are the answer, as they harm ordinary Iranians and merely serve to further the regime’s narrative of an evil “great Satan” that cannot be trusted. I think this is where the real discussion lies.
 
 
 
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