No longer the final word

The key association of Islamic scholars in Qom calls the election result bogus.

The main group of Islamic scholars in Qom, Iran’s center of Islamic learning, says the election was bogus, putting them squarely at odds with the Supreme Leader. Up until now, his prestige and skill have made his word a conversation-ender. No more.

This is good in itself, and also good as a sign that the uprising may be quiescent but isn’t dead. These folks are putting themselves on the line; hard to believe they’re doing that in a no-hope cause.

Meantime, we can all give thanks that, because a bunch of men two hundred and thirty-three years ago exercised the sort of civil courage that is being exercised in Qom and Tehran today, very few Americans today need to exercise that virtue in anything like the same degree. Back when I was routinely calling the President of the United States a war criminal, it never occurred to me that I might be risking the loss of my job, let alone a knock on the door in the middle of the night.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: