National Iranian Review

Professor Reynolds has a link to a BBC story on more incipient revolution in Iran. It’s an interesting story, but what caught my eye were these two sentences:

The reformists believe the next step will be the prosecution of numerous reformist deputies on economic corruption charges as part of a right-wing scheme they believe is aimed at bringing the parliament down.


While the right-wingers accuse the liberals themselves of trying to precipitate just such a development as part of a plot to overthrow the Islamic system and to save their own political lives.

Just what is it that “right wing” means in the context of an article about Iran? Does it mean that they want school vouchers? That they favor fewer restrictions on the right to bear arms? Do they want lower taxes? Are they opposed to growth in the mullah-run government? What?

And does it mean that the reformers are “left wingers”? Probably not–this is not a phrase often used in the press, other than in “right-wing” media, like Reason or the National Review. In the editorially-condoned jargon, “crazy extremists” are “right-wing,” while their opposite extremist counterparts are “mainstream.” Often, they’re even the editorial staff…

Some have pointed out that such concepts as “left” and “right” don’t translate well to the Middle East. I don’t think that they’re very meaningful even for domestic political discussions, and are generally a sign of political simple-mindedness. I think that statement holds even more true for this article. But of course, such terminology makes it more natural and easier to call “conservatives” in America the “American Taliban…”