Omid Memarian

Sunday, February 29, 2004

George Tenet and civil society in Iran

Mr. Rafsanjani Iranian influential politician quoted a sentence from Goerge Tenet to continue the reform in NGOs

“Reformist will continue their efforts to establish democracy and promoting civil society in NGOs in early future.” Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani quoted this sentence from CIA chief George Tenet. It quotation has an ironic meaning for Iranian civil society activists. We can have a look to the recent years and the approach of conservatives about civil society organizations and understand what this sentence mean.
After coming president khatami to the power he tried to promote and faceplate process and policies for NGOs and CSOs. After a few years many NGOs established. But at the same time conservatives believed that they are trying to laying the groundwork to change the Islamic behavior and at last the Islamic regime. They mentioned that the role of NGOs in Iran society at this historical point is like the NGOs role in Soviet Union before falling down the communistic regime. They believe civil society it trying to do the same in Iran. Beside as many of NGOs that established after reconstruction period deals with modern concerns like environmental issues, human rights, democracy, social issues and so on, the non democratic part of government and specially the clerics institutions has not any influence on them. They have influence of Islamic groups or many charities as well. But not women NGOs of NGOs are working on human rights or democracy. So they tried to limit the activities of such NGOs by many ways. First thay tried to give them license for establishment in some issues. SO people who had concerned about this kind of subject had to establish NGO on another issue and try to cover their activity. Second way was to establish a second hand series of NGOs that are under their influence and has made an artificial civil society. Can you imagine it? They establish some NGOs that are representative of people actually. But they always mention them as people and send them International conference. When ever real NGOs object to something they are ready to be against them as people. But they are not. I can continue this story but to make a ling story short, after parliamentary election they know the only atmosphere to breathe is civil society and so the result of this quotation will embrace new polices to confront will real civil society. Mr. Rafsanjani always talks about things that will happen later. Opposite to president Khatami, who talks about things that never happen later?


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