Monday, November 9, 2009

Ballsy Move!

A lone student at a gathering of the Iran's academic elite criticized Khamenei to his face. Mahmoud Vahidnia, a 25 year old mathematics student at Sharif University and a gold medalist of the national Mathematics Olympiad, spoke for some 20 minutes, critiquing state television and radio, the inability to voice criticism against the supreme leader and the power structure of the guardian council and assembly of experts.

I don't know why in this country it's not allowed to make any kind of criticism of you," he told Iran's most powerful cleric, who has the final say in all state matters. "In the past three to five years that I have been reading newspapers, I have seen no criticism of you, not even by the assembly of experts [a clerical body with the theoretical power to sack the leader]. I feel that if this doesn't happen this situation will lead to discord and grudge.

Wouldn't our system have a better chance of preserving itself if we were using more satisfactory methods and limited the use of violence only to essential circumstances?

Khamenei responded calmly to these questions stating
Don't think that I'll be unhappy to hear such statements. No, I would be unhappy if such statements are not made

Suprisingly, Vahdinia has not been arrested for his actions leading some to speculate the validity of this event. There is a great deal of tension across the Iranian blogosphere with some bloggers calling him the bravest student in Iran and others alledging that he was planted(read the comments) by the government.

I've posted a video of the event below. Please note that it is in Farsi as I was not able to find an English version.