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Source: Iranintl

Sep 23, 2023

Iranian Academics Debate Society's Turmoil: Fever Or Infection?

Author: Iran International Newsroom

An Iranian academic has criticized officials for denying the country's volatility, amid economic and other crises and a restless population ready to protest.

The Khabar Online website in Tehran has reported a debate between the two academics: Bijan Abdolkarimi, a lecturer on philosophy, and Alireza Shojaivand, a professor of sociology at the Students' House. It appears that many other academics in Iran share Abdolkarimi's critical perspective on the situation.

Abdolkarimi said that he has sent a written version of his criticism to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Shojaivand, on the other hand, charged that some of the regime's critics fabricate comments about the situation's volatility.

He argued that the societal agitations function like a fever, serving as indicators of underlying issues and warning signals for everyone. Abdolkarimi used the same analogy to emphasize that denying these problems could potentially lead to the spread of infection within society.

Abdolkarimi mentioned that he had sent a written version of his criticism to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Shojaivand, on the other hand charged that many critics portray the agitations as signs of social collapse. However, he noted that while they point out the problem, they often fall short of offering solutions. He even accused some critics of exacerbating societal agitations.

Bijan Abdolkarimi, a lecturer in philosophy in Tehran

Abdolkarimi largely agreed with Shojaivand's views but disagreed with the accusation against some critics. He also cautioned his fellow academic about polarizing academia by dividing it into two opposing groups: opposition and regime supporters.

He stressed that “both of these groups are valuable assets for the country,” also suggesting that laymen may understand societal issues better than experts.

Abdolkarimi stressed that "when people feel a state of strangulation in the society, experts and politicians need to look for the root cause of that feeling."

The academic mentioned that he provided his views two months ago when a government body called on a hundred experts to discuss the situation concerning an approaching crisis on the anniversary of Mahsa Amini's death.

However, he expressed uncertainty about what happened to his contributions.

Abdolkarimi criticized both the critics, whom he referred to as "the opposition," and the other side of the argument, which he called "the revolutionaries," for lacking a theoretical foundation in their narratives.

He also noted shortcomings in the foundational idea of the Guardianship of the Jurisconsult -or the institutions of the Supreme Leader - which underpins the Islamic Republic's political structure.

Abdolkarimi further criticized the Iranian government for politicizing almost everything, furthering an ideological policy, opposition to modernity and other problems including populism, the gap between the people and the government, authoritarianism, and a militarism that hand over the universities and even football clubs to the revolutionary guards (IRGC).

Abdolkarimi further criticized the Iranian government for politicizing nearly every aspect of society, promoting an ideological policy, opposing modernity, and facing issues such as populism, a growing gap between the people and the government, authoritarianism, and involving the Revolutionary Guard in institutions like universities and even football clubs.

He acknowledged that the Islamic Republic faces a succession crisis but warned against oversimplifying the prediction of regime collapse. Shojaivand mentioned he had answers to these issues but preferred to discuss them in another session.

For the time being, he pointed out that there are people in Iran unhappy with the government's performance, but this doesn't necessarily turn them into opposition members. Additionally, he cautioned against misinterpreting the regime's willingness to engage in global processes as authoritarianism.

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