Democratic Crisis in Iran?

July 17, 2009

An Iranian protestor's hand, painted the country's colors, signs for peace.

An Iranian protestor's hand, painted with the country's colors, signs for peace.

Iran recently held elections. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ran for re-election against three other candidates and was declared the victor. However, many Iranians hold the election wasn’t fair—some believe Ahmadinejad wasn’t really elected in a true count.

Many Iranians have taken to the street in protest. During this time, 24 reporters have been arrested and at least 10 people have been killed. Some worry this grassroots revolt might spread and destabilize Iran, which could endanger the stability of the entire region. Others hope that resistance to President Ahmadinejad continues.

Would you like to respond to this posting? If so, select a topic below and share your reply:

1. President Obama has been criticized by some for not taking a more forceful stance on this issue. Other people say America cannot be seen in the global community as meddling in Iran’s domestic affairs. Do you think the United States should become involved in this issue? Why or why not?

2. Some sociologists would suggest social and political intervention—not only for Iran, but for any country in a similar situation—from a coalition of neighboring nations or the United Nations. Other sociologists would strongly object to outside interference in any society’s political affairs. Based upon their basic sociological perspectives, who do you think would support an outside authority supplying political or social guidance to Iran in this situation: Auguste Comte (the “father of sociology”) or Herbert Spencer (the original “social-Darwinist”)? Why? Remember, I am asking you to apply their basic sociological tenants—to think like them.

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  1. I can understand why President Obama has not taken a more definite stance on this issue. Not only is the US currently involved in many other global issues, but many Iranians are not for establishing a democracy in Iran. In establishing a democracy and intervening in Iran’s affairs, we would be changing the entire structure of the Iranian society. By establishing a democracy I do not feel as though the US would be “meddling” in Iran’s affairs, but I do feel as citizens of the US that we have an obligation to the Iranian people. Through the latest technology and social networking sites, Americans can draw attention to this issue and give the Iranian people their own voice which has been taken away from them. As Americans we live in a media-influenced society. By drawing attention to this issue, standing up for the Iranian people, and attempting bring up this issue to other powerful countries, we can make a difference in Iran and show the rest of the world as well as the people of Iran that we do care.

  2. I can see why President Obama isn’t taking a more forceful stance on the issue because this is a very sensitive issue and we also have other issues we are currently dealing with. I think that if the citizens of Iran want democracy, then we should help them. If civilians are being harmed when they shouldn’t be, then I think we should do something.

  3. I do think the United States should somewhat intervene in the democratic crisis in Iran because the local government obviously needs help to stabilize the situation. Not only that, but the citizens are reaching out for help and it is our job as civil people to help those in need. In regards to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad becoming reelected as President, obviously the community disagrees. It’s unfair how the majority of Iran is protesting and they are being killed for speaking up. This leads to the obvious theory that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Presidency was rigged because there is such an uproar regarding it. Times are changing and the Iranian people are noticing this but the government is not. The people and the government must come to an understanding of what each party desires in order for there to be a balance.

    • With the unfair thoughts of the Iranian citizens of Mahmound Ahmadinejad’s president victory, I think they do have the right to voice their opinions and show that they as citizens want a fair government and ruler. If President Obama were to win presidency by unfair or cheating votes, us citizens will be very upset and not want Obama to be in charge. President Obama wants to make positive and possible changes for everyone. He wants to make sure his people get what they deserve. Therefore, I do think President Obama should take a stand in this issue. This protest is as serious as any other issues happening in the US. With so many people unhappy with Ahmadinejad as their president, someone should step up and show them that others out there do care for this issue and will do something about it.

  4. I believe what President obama has done is right. It is right decision not intervene in iran’s problems. They need to resolve it by themselves to prove themselves as a strong country. Also, at some point, some others countries will intervene and help out iran in a way possible. That is what globalization is all about. (helping countries which are in bad shape by countries who are somewhat independent with resources). Over the recent years, US is involved in many country’s actions and it has not been good feedback.I think US needs to step back and solve their own issues before getting into other nations’s problems. More over, Iranian government has different perspective on how Iran should run? They have different morals and ethics. it is not easy to mold our ideas into their perspective. everyday, people are noticing the changes in governments in countries. Gradually, there will be positive changes by Iranian government.

  5. In my opinion Obama is doing just fine in his decision making. I feel that in a situation like this “your damned if you do and damned if you don’t”. Our country already has a great presence in Iran and many other countries due to globalization. Interfering in issues that Iran was having would tip the scales in my opinion. Obama did the right thing by stepping back and participating as an observer. Iran needs to go through these types of situations and find ways to fix the country on their own. If the U.S. or other countries automatically interfere when things like this happen, Iran will never be able to grow as its own Country. Overall the U.S. needs to step back on a number of issues in my opinion and let others take the lead so we can work on fixing the many problems we have in our own country or we may end up in the same situation as Egypt.

  6. I am behind President Obama for not taking a firmer stand on the current issues in Iran. Due to globalization the U.S., along with most other countries, have had influences throughout the world. Not every one of these influences is necessarily a bad thing, but this is one issue that the U.S. should not get directly involved with. The Iranian government needs to figure out a way to resolve this issue to prove that Iran is a stable, strong country. If the U.S. comes and intervenes right away, there will be no chance for growth or change in Iran. Obama is doing the right thing in looking from the outside in and keeping an eye on the situation without being completely involved. Hopefully, sooner than later, the Iranian government will start to make changes, the death count of protesters will stop, and there will be peace in Iran.

  7. I believe that there are always two sides to this debate. Either way, President Obama will be crtiticized. If he decided not to get into it (which he did), he would be criticized for not doing enough to help the people that are suffering in Iran. If he chooses to take action, then he will be criticized for meddling in Iranian affairs which are none of the U.S.’s business. I believe that the U.S. should only interfere when the Iranian government tries to suppress the voices of the protesters through violence. Otherwise, I believe the people should protest agaisnt a government they feel is corrupt and unjust. The U.S. should just wait to see what happens.

  8. I believe that Obama is doing the right thing by not taking a more forceful stance in Iran. In the U.S we have gone through our shares of citizens claiming to be poorly treated and we always come out of these problems eventually. I do not believe that the U.S should enforce democracy upon other countries because we do not live there and the way their system is being run may work for them. Iran has been known for having unfair elections, but they are also still more of a theoracracy rather than a democracy. The citizens of Iran are speaking now with violence and sometimes violence is what it takes for your voice to actually be heard.I do believe that it would be in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s best interest to step down from office if the citizens are very dissatisfied with him because this could easily turn in to what is happening in the Middleeast like Libya, Egypt, and Syria. The worlds politics change all the time and this kind of political revolution could be the next step to changing politics in the Middle East for years to come.

  9. I do not blame President Obama for not taking a more forceful stance because there is so many things that is happening around the world that President Obama can’t handle all at the same time. Even in the U.S., we are dealing with many issues such as the economy. I believe that the U.S. has already helped Iranians as much as they can due to globalization. I also believe that the Iranian government should listen to their citizens and take charge instead of waiting for President Obama to do something. The U.S. shouldn’t really intervene with the Iranian affairs because it might cause a bigger problem to the Iranians. However, it would not hurt for the citizens of the U.S. to help a little. I do not understand why people in Iran who are speaking out are getting killed. I feel like they mean nothing to the government. It is unfair that Iranians has to deal with this problem. I hope that Iranians will have a better future soon.

  10. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad running for reelection has caused a lot of problems in Iran. There are a lot of protesters and chaos coming up. Innocent civilians are being hurt because of the issue and instability of Iran. However President Obama i believe is so far making the right decision in not being to involved in the issues occurring in Iran at the moment.The United States has a lot of issues within our country as well as those that the US is involved in with countries neighboring us. Globalization has really become a big part of getting information and being influenced by the other countries. Iran needs to handle their own issues just as the US needs to handle their own issues. If countries intervene with each others problems i believe it would cause other problems between countries. I believe it can cause more chaos as well with the protesters in Iran.
    Iran needs to find a way to fix their problems and listen to the people because obviously they feel they are not being heard. They as a country have to settle their issues on their own.

  11. I can understand why President Obama didn’t take a more forceful stance on this issue because there are also globalization issues in the U.S that President Obama have to worry about and if Obama interfere with the issue that Iran are having right now then how will the Iran; the country itself be strong? Globalization is everywhere and of course many people are having trouble with it, but what’s there to solve is the governor and everyone in that country to come together and think of something to help solve the problem. Also in Iran, how there’s an unfair election, it means that the policy there is already not going at the right way; therefore, the governor and officers have to take care of it and how Iran shut down all possible ways such as facebook and youtube so that their information there in Iran won’t be able to go out to other country, that is just how terrible Iran is right now. They need to come up with something so that the people will have their freedom of speech. Moreover, a protest that have at least ten people killed, Iran need a serious change. That’s why President Obama shouldn’t take a stand because it would be like putting himself into another problem that doesn’t involve him.

  12. With the rallies and unhappiness of the Iranians it is clear they are unhappy about Mahmound Ahmadinejad’s victory. Although there have been devistating outcomes to the rallies, in my opinion, Obama is right for not taking a firmer stance. I am sure he is critiqued either way and he chose to do what is best for our country because it is a sensitive issue. What is working for our country may not work for another and it should be up to its own country to make decisions for itself during difficult times. I believe the US should not be involved in every county’s issues but it would be appropritate to provide aid if needed but not try and solve the country’s problems. Obama is right and the US should focus on its own issues we are having instead of worrying about everyone else’s.

  13. President obama is working at a good pace about this issue. I think that its the nations issue and yes the united states should definitely help because it’s getting to a point where people are getting killed and in the video it shows a girl dying because she got shot. The u.s should step in and help out but as far as trying to turn Iran into somehting like the U.s is not fair. every place is different and should be ran the way the people are happy with it.

    As far as the elections the Iranians are not happy with the victor. That definitely is a problem because how did he become in power if the people are not happy with him? he should just back down because the Iran is protesting him being in power. he is the reason why the country is unhappy they want change and he isn’t going to the one to change.

  14. I believe that it is the right choice by Obama by not interfering more with Iran’s issues/ problems. Either way hes going to be criticized by Iran (for not helping when they know he has the power to help) or by some of the U.S. (for getting involved in other countries problems, when he should be fixing ours and not getting into something that could get the U.S. into more problems or possibly in danger.) I think that Obama is doing the right thing by monitoring the situation and staying back.

  15. I think the United State should interfere with Iran’s domestic affairs. I only take this stance because of what Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his government is doing to the people and the media. Iran’s policy of holding elections is a form of democracy. Being able to protest and demonstrate against the government is also part of a democracy. Ahmadinejad is stopping these protests with an iron fist. According to the YouTube video above, 10 protesters have been killed while hundreds have been wounded; two dozen journalists have been arrested for covering the protests; and there have been reports of a suicide bomber killing two people (the government says the bomber killed no on). The president of Iran is trying his very best to quiet the media attention his country is receiving. The only way the people of Iran are able to get their message out is through the use of the Internet and social media. However, even those sites are being shut down. Why is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad doing this? Does he not want the world to see that he is killing innocent people? And can we, as a free nation, sit with idle hands and not intervene? The answer is no, Ahmadinejad ruined it for himself when he started to quiet the people of Iran with violence.

  16. I beleive President Obama should do what is right, and that is to let the people have what they want. If they want a democracy he should help them attain that dream. However democracy is not the solution to everything. The United States has always been involved in other countries, not always meddling, sometimes actually helping. The world does not always see it that way. They see the U.S. getting involved when it is beneficial. Thats how i see it as well. Why is Obama not getting involved like people would like him too? -because it wont benefit the U.S. getting in another conflict in this area of the world. This is when the U.S. feels it shouldnt “meddle” with other countries such as Iran at this time, but once they see a way that is beneficial to them, they will act quick.

  17. I think that the United States should not be actively involved in the Iranian protests. Because the democratic process is typically incredibly contentious, being involved in these types issues are too consuming. Meddling with domestic affairs is only a last resort. Only situations involving massive military (or mercenary) crackdowns on specific groups of people (ethnic, religious, ideology) are affairs that should be considered to intervene on. The 10 people that were killed in these protests are unjust and should be frowned upon by the international community; however, this is not enough to cause a situation that will further strain the relationship between Iran and the United States.

    Voter fraud might have been apparent in the 2009 Iranian elections. If the vast majority of the population does not agree with the results, then change can occur suddenly or gracefully. The presidential post in Iran is not the same as the presidential seat in the United States (the Supreme leader of Iran has more power then the president [of Iran]). If the democratic process fails in Iran, then there should be a concern, but not in a violent process.

  18. The United States should not get involved with their elections because in our own country we have a problem with democratic elections. The United States would be contradicting itself if we try to interfere with other countries such as Iran. We already have bad blood with Iran so trying interfere with their elections is not a good look. The United States should keep the eye on the situations so no one will say we did not care about the rest of the world. President Obama can only do his best to either have support or no support at all. In the end it is up to U.S. citizens to voice their opinions.

  19. Presiden Obama is doing the right thing of not getting involved with Iran. Getting the United States involve with Iran will just create more dramatic situation and plus globalization. Economi in Iran and here are basicly in the same issuse now. I believe that getting this issuse fix is by having Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to step down from the presidental. This will make the protester not get any more killed out on the streets. Like in the short clip, if they would listen to the citizen of iran of what they want and needs, then these issues wouldn’t be a problem in the country. Even though in United State, we have gone through this before. Iran and the presidental election or federal government need to corporate and help the need of the citizen in iran.

  20. I think that Obama is doing the right thing by not interfering with the democratic crisis in Iran. The U.S is already seen as a global community meddling with issues in other countries. Obama should just observe how the Iranian government takes control of the issue, however, if the the issue becomes a bigger problem then the U.S. should step in. Obama either way will be criticized by the decision he chooses to make.

  21. The US should definitely interfere and help mediate the unfortunate events. As a global community, the US is of course, obligated to get involved and help troubled nations, especially those with a leader massacring the people. Social and political change is absolutely necessary for Iran, to free the people from such political, social and personal misery. In many cases, American values will conflict with Iranian (theological) values but democracy is the debate and fight at hand. The 10 deaths that have occurred is a major setback as well as the 100 injured; who really wants to lose their own people? US stepping in to the situation will benefit the people who are in dire need of change in their home communities.
    An inadequate leader should definitely be afraid of his/her people rising against the government for the leader’s job dissatisfied the people, but to threaten, kill and deteriorate the country will bring the nation to its knees. The people will never stop fighting until an expectation has been met and with the US helping to deface the government’s power, the people will have a stronger foundation to make incredible influence over the government and affect change.

  22. Even though it is a tough decision to make, i believe that president Obama made the rite choice in not meddling in other countries domestic affairs specifically Iran’s. The united state is not at a point in time at the moment where they are available to help, our country is currently involved in other issues such as war. therefore the united state should resolve there own problems before we start interfere in other country’s problems. If the U.S was to get involved with Iran’s issue we would take on a huge role in changing there society into a democrat country, but who is to say that this is the right thing to do? The people from Iran have there own set of opinions and believes, therefore they should handle this the way they like.

  23. What’s happening in Iran is very similar to the Jasmine Revolution and January 25th movement. The citizens of these countries all want the same thing; they want to end political corruption in their country and they want the freedom of speech. Iranians want a fair and honest democratic election not a rigged election. Iranian citizens want their government to know how they feel about the way the country is being run without being punished for it.

    I think Obama’s stance on this issue is good. He’s pressuring the government to allow Iranians to say how they feel instead of trying to crack down on protestors, while at the same time not getting too involved. It’s especially good that the United States isn’t so involved because of the United States past mistakes. Many Iranians have suffered due to the United States’ 1953 Iranian coup d’état. During that time the United States replaced a democratically elected leader with a horrible dictator. The CIA said they did this because they were worried about Communism in Iran but really it had to do with globalization; specifically it was about who was going to control Iran’s oil industry. After that disaster I’m sure that Iranians would prefer the United States didn’t meddle in Iranian political affairs.

  24. Response to question 1:
    The crisis in Iran should be of great importance to the United States because if Iran becomes unstable, as mentioned in the article, the effects of this conflict could impact the entire Middle East. This is relevant because the United States is currently involved with several countries in the region, and relying on places like Iraq and Afghanistan for oil and other resources. On a moral standpoint, America should get involved to a certain extent because we cannot let violent regimes harm citizens for protesting or excercising their human rights. As a member of the U.N., Iran must follow its laws and policies such as the protection and enforcement of civil liberties (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 2003). Overall, I believe that the U.S. should take action , but not to the extent that they have done in the past. I also think that the United Nations should work together as a whole, instead of allowing the U.S. to act alone.

  25. I think president Obama doing the right thing while not taking more forceful stance on the issue on the Democratic crisis in Middle East. I think this issue is the problem of the people in the country, it like personal issue, the outsider like US should not get involve directly to it, we need to respect them. Although the people in Iran want to make the revolution to get more change for the globilization, they want to be more free dome, American can support them to fight for the freedom, but shouldn’t get involve.

  26. The government should take some action in helping people over seas and help protect the people that cannot protect themselves but we should not be over there trying to place upon our belief system on them. Because America is a powerful force in the world and can easily help people. But critizing Obama is really unneccesry because Obama isn’t the only person who has to approve for asistance to other countries.
    But i feel as if the people of these countries need to ask for help if they need it and call out because only few times have I seen people in other countries ask for help. If they need help they should ask we shouldn’t just go over there without someone firs asking for help. And when we do go over there we should go with the objective we set in place when we decided to go over there and not get involved in any other activities just go in and then get out.

  27. I understand why President Obama hasn’t been being more forceful stance on this issue. It is probably because he does not want us to get too involved and that we have many global issues to take care of and of the globalization issues going on. Even though there is a lot of chaos in Iran and do not want to get want to get involve and say the wrong thing and upset many people, no matter what he says. There are way too many social events going on in the world, and Obama can not help every single one of them, when asked. Obama has to say no sometimes, and tell others know that he can not help everyone. He and a lot in his hands here in America, and we are grateful that he helps as many other countries as he can, but he has to be able to say no to some countries.

  28. The US can not be seen as a global community because we say that we have Democracy and Freedom, but we do not. We only have it to a certain extant. For instance The Patriot Act takes away a lot of freedom and privacy from the American people so we can not be seen as a global community. Yes we have improved but and have more freedom than most other countries, but we are also limited. I understand why President Obama does not want to mess with Iran because we are not seen as a global community and a lot of the Iranians do not want democracy. I say we should try to let them settle there differences and if they need our help then we should help them.

  29. In response to the first question, I believe that by President Obama not intervening in the Iran situation, he is making the right decision. With tensions increasing between the UN and Iran to sanction all nuclear reactors, the last thing that we need to do is stir up more controversy by involving ourselves with their political issues. Being persian, I can understand why some people including Iranians in Iran would want the U.S. to intervene, seeing it as the only hope for change. However, Iranian leaders need to create a more stable government where religion does not combine with politics. Without that, citizens all over Iran will continue to protest in anyway they can, regardless if there minimal civil rights.

  30. I think it is smarter to not get too involved in these issues. It is always a good thing to help injured people or provide aid for the sick, but to get into the politics of the matter, in my opinion, will only complicate things. I think it’s best to let countries solve their problems while just providing aid to the innocent people that need it. The United States has enough of it’s own problems to deal with at this moment and we don’t need to go even further into debt. In a perfect world, we should be able to help everyone and resolve every country’s problems. But, unfortunately, this is not possible and as it is now, we can’t spend more money on other countries when our own economy is in such bad shape.

  31. There shouldn’t be a problem for Obama not meddling. Iran is not the only country that has it bad. There are many countries that are having it worse. Right now, we too are dealing with some issues of our own. Although Iran does have a big issue going on, it might be too much right now for the United States to assist. I think that Iran is able to find a solution on their own to fix this problem. However, if it gets worse to the point more and more citizens are getting killed, hopefully, Obama will take this matter issue more serious and assist them.

  32. In being the America that we are, it is assumed that we have a responsibility to help and defend those who are pursuing the very essences of our country: democracy. Yet it is these same assumptions that have brought America to be involved in some sort of intervention, whether military or it be not, for nearly every generation since WWI. With globalization our world, the American and Western Culture, has be idealized and stirred two major emotions: resentment but take no action or envy and take matters into their own hands. The idea that we have a say, or have some direct or indirect influence as to what actions will be taken as a life we have all just looked over to be a norm and it is this life style that they are dying for now. It’s is a life that Americans dyed for in the Revolutionary War, in the Civil war, in the Civil Rights Movement. And it is a struggle that all must undergo in an uphill battle. Support use to me moral support as in money or utilities but as years progress, help has become an arms race that always ends in tears. Men like Mohamed Bouazizi have made the moment to set up to the heads, but it must be through their success and their success alone that they reach their goal, so that finally their world can prosper through their eyes and not through the eyes of imposed ideas.

  33. I personally do not believe that the US or any other country should be involved in this situation other than Iran. This could be the start of a revolution in their country. How would we feel if when we were about to sigh the declaration of independence, a country much larger and more powerful than ourselves came in and said no you cant do this, just calm down and everything will be ok again. i think when a country is experiencing a crisis like this they should resolve it themselves, unless they begin killing all the protesters. Once they resolve this i think they will be stronger than they were before. As far as Obama goes i think he is just expressing his concern for Iran, and they even said that they do not want any other countries to intervene. I agree that it is none of our business and we should stay out of it, unless the violence reaches epic proportions.

  34. Obama has been doing a great job with our country so far. But some people can also think the opposite as i do. Such that our country is already or has been in many other countries do to globalization. So in my opinion Iran should try and fix thier own country instead of waiting for any other country to help them out, because they would never be able to resolve problems on their own. Plus if the U.S would interfere then we would be forgeting of our own problems the we have here.

  35. President Ahmadinejad getting re elected caused many problems in Iran. The people did not like it and they finally had enough courage to speak up and protest. I think President Obama made a good decision in not getting too involved with their issues because it would seem too intrusive if the U.S. went in and tried to get more involved.

    The United States is already involved with Iran and several other countries due to globalization so I think it is best if we let Iran take care of their own issues in whatever way they think is best.

  36. I am sure there are a variety of reasons President Obama hasn’t taken a more definite stance on Iran. America is suffering in a variety of ways in addition to the recession, and many are angered by the funds that are being spent in foreign nations when we are suffering at home (Katrina). Beyond that, the people in Iran are angry about laws being imposed upon them and abuses they are enduring. We cannot just jump in an impose a new form of government (democracy) and say it will be a fair one this time. The people need to make that jump themselves for it to be a healthy step. I don’t see anything wrong with protecting/rescuing the reporters, or ending the murders and assults; but these are all things Obama no doubt must consider and confer with others before making any clear stance.

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