Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"Iranians Have Democratic Values": A Survey

Regarding the survey done by a number of Israelis researchers entitled "Iranians Have Democratic Values" published in WSJ (or link 1 below), I still believe that the rise of the liberal values in Iran is obvious and a given fact (also support by a couple of previously conducted surveys). However, the result seems reassuring and experts seem to welcome the conformation.
There was an informative program about it on VOA Persian on May 22, 2012, the link to which is (link 5) included at the end. It featured an interview with the sponsor and head of the team who explained the methodology used for the research and the incentives behind it. The program also included interviews with as Mansoor Moaddel and Ebrahim Soltani, both experts on the topic, and both to varying degree agreeing with the results.
The conservative Iranian newspapers Qods and Kayhan also reacted to the news and the article published in WSJ by printing an identical review (link 2 and 3 below). Of course, as it is customary, they challenge the well intention behind the effort. Nevertheless, their reaction is indeed very mild comparing to other topics they cover.

All these links (in Persian) are below.
For a report/article entitled "Could Iran Turn In to a Liberal Democracy?" on a survey conducted before, see its abstract and the link (link 5) to the entire document below.
This research proposes new lenses from which to view the Islamic Republic of Iran, different than the common picture portrayed in the Western World. Based on the theory of basic human values, developed by Professor Shalom Schwartz, this research formulates a new index "Societal Potential for Liberal Democracy" which measures the potential of a society to foster a liberal democracy based on a society's value structure. In order to study the values which characterize the Iranian people and to measure Iran's societal potential for liberal democracy relative to other countries, two separate surveys were conducted in Iran, consisting of over 900 respondents, and including two representative samples of Iranian society. Using the newly formulated index, this research placed Iran 22nd out of 47 countries in a world-wide continuum of Societal Potential for Liberal Democracy, above Egypt, Morocco and Jordan, thus proving the provocative thesis that the greatest potential for democracy in the Middle East lies not in Arab Sunni countries, but rather in the Islamic Republic of Iran. In addition, a significant gap was found between the societal potential for democracy in Iran and the actual level of democracy, indicating a high potential for future regime change. Hopefully this research will help ignite public discourse regarding new courses of actions for dealing with the threat posed by Iran, based on an alliance with the liberal forces discussed in this research, with the objective of promoting liberal democracy in the Islamic Republic.
5. Link to the entire article:

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