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Posts Tagged ‘ahmadinejad’

Election: Iran (Part III) UPDATED

Posted by AB on June 14, 2009

I should have seen this coming.  When I first posted about the Iranian Presidential election, I was hopeful.  I was hopeful that Mir Hossein Mousavi would win.  I was hopeful that current President and America-hater, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would lose.  But most of all, I was hopeful that the Iranian people could have an honest, vigorous debate, and have an honest election, no matter the victor.  I was hopeful that the show of democracy, which was evident by the peaceful rallies and protests before the election, was real.  Well, now I can tell you that those hopes are gone.  Those peaceful protests have turned to deadly riots, as many believe that the election results were fraudulent.

Citizens protesting election results is not new, and a police presence is expected to keep the peace.  There is nothing wrong with that, right?  Well, what is happening in Iran is truly heartbreaking.  There have been reports, although few that are confirmed, that Iranian police are beating and, perhaps, killing protesters.  The reason that most reports are unconfirmed is that the Iranian government has, apparently, cracked down on journalists, minimized electricity, and cut off communication sources, including social networking sites like twitter, facebook, and myspace.  With that said, it is very difficult to know what’s really going on, but it is not good.  This is not democracy; the Iranian Presidential election was a farce.

Before his official Twitter account went down, Mousavi responded with this statement, announcing that he was under house arrest.  The situation in Iran is a scary one, and some are calling it a coup.  I feel for the Iranian people, for most are like you and me–with a desire to live in happiness and freedom.  Like me, many Iranians believed that democracy was now attainable, but also like me, they were wrong. 

More will be written and said about the consequences of this election, but one thing is crystal clear:  the Iranian leadership is weak and fragile.  Some may say, “Well, that’s a good thing,” but we all know that weakness is sometimes cause for belligerence, which is in no short supply within the Iranian leadership.  The entire world should be cautious, but calm.  This could be the beginning of a huge change in Iran, but change is difficult.  There will always be those who are resistant to progressive change, but the righteous will always win out.  Let’s hope that it is sooner, rather than later.

UPDATE:  The clashes continue in Tehran, with reports of two to three million protestors in the streets.  TPM has some compelling video.  Be sure to scroll down to see more videos, and view the rest of the site for up-to-date information on the Iranian elections.


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Election: Iran (Part II)

Posted by AB on June 12, 2009

Iranian elections have now taken place, and record crowds have voted.  In fact, voting stations were so crowded across Iran that voting was extended to midnight.  By all of the accounts that I’ve read, the Presidential election between incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and main challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi, is very close.

I have no idea when the election results might be released, but it is likely that those results will be known in the next 24-48 hours.  I am hoping for a Mousavi victory, but no matter who wins, the record turnout is evidence that a strong debate is taking place for the future of Iran.

Via TalkingPointsMemo (TPM) http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/,  there are two pieces that caught my eye (much more great coverage on TPM): 

One from the BBC that has a nifty guide on Iran’s power structure. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8051750.stm

Another from Time that has an interview of Mir Hossein Mousavi.  http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1904343,00.html

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Election: Iran

Posted by AB on June 11, 2009

This past Sunday, Lebanon held parliamentary elections, and a pro-western coalition claimed victory.  It was a clear defeat for Iranian-supported, Hezbollah, a militant group, just days following President Obama’s speech from Cairo.  The citizens of Lebanon have spoken, and moderation won out over extremism.  There is no question that the Lebanese parliamentary elections were good news for not only democracy in general, but it was also good news for America and its allies.  With that said, the world’s most important election since the US elections in November 2008 will take place this Friday, June 12, in Iran.

Despite the perception of Iran as an extreme, anti-America, Muslim country, we should  recognize that the majority of the population is very much pro-western and moderate.  Iran is a country of 71.2 million people that are relatively young, with a median age of 26.4 years.  The majority of citizens in Iran do not mirror the ideology of the hard-line religious leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, and the confrontational, anti-American governmental leadership of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  With that said, there is a very real possibility that Ahmadinejad might lose to reformist candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        A victory by Mousavi would be a victory from the United States, in a way, because it might allow for more fruitful diplomacy at a time that the influence of hard-line Iranian policy seems to be waning in support.  Now, let’s also recognize that the real power in Iran is held by the Ayatollahs, so a defeat for Ahmadinejad doesn’t mean that Iran will ruled by those necessarily friendly to the US, but it would be an unmistakable rebuke to the hateful, confrontational rhetoric used by its President.

I am not going to get my hopes up, but if Mir Hossein Mousavi should happen to defeat Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, it would be a promising occurance for US-Iran relations.  I have no idea if, or how much President Obama’s Cairo speech will have influenced the elections in Lebanon and Iran, but it certainly did not hurt, and I find no coincidence in the timing of the speech to the Muslim world.  Hopefully, moderates in all of the middle east have the confidence and courage to make themselves heard, and loudly, but it doesn’t matter where they find that confidence and courage.  I cannot predict what will happen when Iranians vote on Friday, but I can tell you that it’s worth keeping an eye on the results.  This is the most important election since November.

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