During the summer of 2009, much ink was spilled over the “secular” revolution allegedly taking place in Iran. Indeed, President Obama has been excoriated ever since by conservatives for his failure to unabashedly support the so-called “Green revolution,” which I argued at the time (here, here, here, and here)—and still maintain—was not a mass movement of true Western freedom aspirants against Sharia totalitarians (i.e., in their Shiite incarnation), but merely a power struggle between rival Sharia supremacist factions.
Iran’s retrograde “revolution” in 1978-1979 simply returned Iranian society to its longstanding status as a Shiite theocracy, (i.e., from 1502 to 1925; interrupted by a period of Afghan invasion and internecine struggle, from 1722-1795), following a relatively brief flirtation with Westernization and secularization under Pahlavi rule from 1925 to 1979. Moreover, as my colleague Alyssa Lappen and I discovered in early July of 2009, upon interviewing the leader of a true Western-oriented, secular (and non-Communist!) Iranian political party, Roozbeh Farahanipour, this courageous man and his followers unfortunately represent only a small minority of Iran’s overwhelmingly traditionalist Shiite Muslim masses
Now after three decades of strict re-application of the Sharia in Iran (which has included stoning to death for adultery, execution for homosexuality, abrogation of freedom of conscience and religious minority rights, etc.), and notwithstanding delusive arguments that these phenomena had engendered mass public rejection of Islamic Law, Pew polling data released June 11, 2013 (from face-to-face interviews with 1,522 adults, ages 18 years of age and older), reveal an entirely different reality. When asked, “Do you favor or oppose the implementation of Sharia law, or Islamic law in our country?”, 83% favored its application. A largely concordant finding demonstrated that only 28% of Iranians were at all concerned (i.e., 9% “very,” and 19% “somewhat” concerned) about “extremist religious groups” in the nation.
These data provide the sobering context in which the recent Presidential election of Hasan Rowhani—an unabashed Ayatollah Khomeini-supporting Shiite cleric, and long term political apparatchik of the theocratic regime—must be viewed.