Rouhani is not the reformists dream but he brings hope for substantial change. The events of the past six months testify to the complexity of the Iranian political milieu and the people's desire for change through the ballot box
What Iran needs is not another critique of what's wrong, but a conversation among the people by the people about what would make it right. No Supreme Leaders, no Rule Makers, no Decision Makers, just people.
Iran is located in the middle of a region which is on the edge of conflagration. A destabilization of the regime would not only undermine the stability of its power; it would also put the Iranian nation at stake and potentially collapse the regional balances of power.
In today's America, that's a conversation-stopper. The reality is more prosaic -- sobering realities shape Iranian politics. Nonetheless, Iran may have more democratic potential than any other society in the Muslim world.
I am not easily shocked. But two stories that recently came across my desk were so disgraceful, and in some ways dangerous, that I feel compelled to write about them. Both featured players in the Middle East crassly abusing the living and the dead.
In what is believed by many to be an attempt to deter a repeat of the widespread and vociferous Ashura demonstrations, two young men have been executed for being a Mohareb, which is punishable by death.
If the Obama administration waits until it takes punitive action against Iran to censure human rights abuses there, it will look like we view human rights as a pressure tactic, rather than as the foundation of free society.
It won't surprise Ahmadinejad that the largest gathering of Iranians in exile in thirty years will be waiting for him here in New York City with green bandanas -- but the sight of rabbis next to them might.