Saudi Arabia, and some other Sunni-ruled countries, suffers rom type IV dark ages theocracy syndrome when it comes to freedom of expression and speech, they just cannot take the step into the 18th century. Shiite Iran is no different. Type IV dark ages theocracy suffocates imagination at best and darkens intentions at worst; the people are not exonerated from spreading this illness. Everything is enshrined in Islam, people cannot contemplate or asses life without looking through the religious lens, which is paralyzing because religion is merely one lens of many, one that is the target of philosophical and scientific criticism. The paradigm of looking at life as a vehicle to heaven, or hell, is not really the energizer Muslims need on earth right now. I am no political pundit or unicorn whisperer, that said, I think the Russian model might work for Arabs- freedom of expression and speech without any real democracy. Granted, it is not easy to implement, but Arabs need an exit from the 17th century one way or another. Tehran might be currently considering this strategy- an Iran free of religious shackles; a model of modern Islamism; an existential threat to Sunnis.
There exists a universe where Muslims in power are tolerant and diplomatically peaceful and the scriptures are interpreted accordingly, I am sure of this. However, in this universe, Muslims in power are neither tolerant nor peaceful. It seems that all attempts by moderates have failed miserably, in fact, lots of signs point towards moderates acting as bodyguards for extremists, especially considering that they teach the same scriptures ISIS* uses to enact Saw fan fiction using real victims and real death machines.
* Please capitalize the acronym ISIS to distinguish it from the Egyptian goddess Isis