Yazdi: Iran More Democratic

Opposition Leader Says Political Diversity Now Widespread

Ibrahim Yazdi, the leader of Iran's only officially recognized opposition party, told a crowd of 50 on Monday that contrary to Western beliefs, Iran is becoming more democratic.

Yazdi, a leader of the Freedom Movement of Iran, said that despite the religious party in control now, political diversity is widespread in Iran.

Speaking at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Yazdi explained that since the Islamic revolution in 1978, Iran has become a "multipolar society" characterized by power struggles which are both healthy and necessary.

This constant friction makes Iranian society more open and is a necessary step for furthering democracy, said Yazdi.

"Democracy does not come out of the good hearts of the leaders," he said. "It is a product of the society, the outcome of social and political circumstances."

He assured the crowd that political battles in Iran are not too fierce.

"Institutions fight with each other, but not to the point where they are killing each other," Yazdi said.

Yazdi said that people in the West should not fear Islam, and added that the revolution has had a positive effect on all Moslem communities.