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Posts Tagged ‘lebanon’

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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