Iranian Election

We in the West were fed an image of Iran as a country full of Islamic zealots and a compliant and mind-washed citizenry. A country where there was not a cry for democracy but a whimper — people were too afraid to criticize the mullahs and the right wing politicians in bed with them.  I offer a recent article, The Magic Mountain, by Roger Cohen of his conversations with Iranian youth in the New York Times as testimony. Mr. Cohen, despite being one of the most incisive journalists and a great sympathizer of the democratic movement in Iran, could hear democratic voices only in whispers.

The reaction of the Iranian citizenry to the fraud perpetrated on them blows away that myth. The young and the old alike seem to be craving for democracy, lifting of the Islamic seize, freedom of speech and connection with the rest of the world.

Some interesting facts about the current elections:

All the ballots were cast by hand, i.e. were not computerized. In all a record 40 million people (80% of the electorate) voted. Elections closed Friday evening and given the gargantuan task at hand — of counting 40 million ballots manually — it was projected that the earliest indicators available will be by Saturday evening.

However, as early as Saturday morning Ahmadinejad was announced a winner. That was the first unbelievable part of the unfolding story.

Equally unbelievable, if not worse, was the margin. Supposedly, Ahmadinejad won 62.6% and Mousavi 34%. This made Ahmadinejad’s margin greater, much greater, than the first time he won beating Rafsanjani! The reasons that is so hard to believe are obviously the fury that is there for all to witness on Tehran’s streets and all the commentary pointed to the fact that the turnout was so high due to a lot of 1st time voters coming out to vote for Mousavi.  I encourage you to visit the BBC page “Iran poll results: Your Comments.” You will read comments from a lot of Iranians who are providing the inside story.

In addition to the electoral sham, the Internet connection and cell phone service has been switched off.  Text messaging was shut down during the campaign itself since Mousavi was using text messages to arrange campaign rallies and getting his message out. And lest you think these outlandish excesses of power take place only during election times, I heard an Iranian on a show on National Public Radio mentioning that no purchases over the Internet are allowed from outside of Iran — even an Amazon.com book cannot be purchased from Iran. Of course, facebook, twitter etc. are filtered.

Despite these gross violations of people’s right, I am sure Ahmadenijad will have the gall to stand on US soil when next addressing the UN general assembly and criticize American democracy and extol his implementation of Iranian government.

One of the comments at the BBC page is rather despondent. It is written by one Milad from Mashhad, Iran, “Today I learned that the worst thing in life is to think that you have a chance while you don’t.”

While I fully understand Milad’s sentiment, I see things differently. I see that the generation born after the Iranian Revolution has not bought the lies and deceptions that the mullah regime has successfully imposed upon the pre-revolution citizens. As the current generation of mullahs and corrupt right wing politicians like Ahmadinejad gets old, I see a strong chance for true democracy in the Iran of the future.

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10 Responses

  1. While I, too, am hopeful about Iran, I am also curious about what part the U.S. government, U.S. media, and other U.S.
    efforts are involved. For at least 3 days leading up to the Iranian election the group United Against Nuclear Iran ran tv ads on MSNBC, CNN, (& probably FOX). Google this group, go to their website, skip the intro. and explore… Dennis Ross, Richard Holbrooke, and others are featured. The overt communication, including commercial-advertisements, is something new in the media universe as far as I’m concerned. And scary. The ads stopped
    with the election.

    The timing of Obama’s speech to the Muslim world and the timing of Netanyahu’s speech on Palestine, the lack of coverage on the U.S. programs in Saudi Arabia and (proposed) UAE on nuclear “energy”….all a bit curious.

    I am disappointed and suspicious of western media’s drive to demonize Ahmadinejad. Except for the old holocaust-denying line, featured phrases seem tame compared with
    the raging commentary. Why? Shouldn’t we be moving along with him?

    • Emily,

      We should surely engage with whoever is Iran’s President. On that I am with President Obama.

      The US media is biased mostly by what sells. Iran has been made in to this evil regime and hence new on it sells itself. When the US Govt is developing nuclear plants, be it with India or Saudi Arabia, it is added effort to convince the people (a sizable chunk of the population) that believes if the US Govt is doing it, there must be some good reason. Hence to sell that news it requires persistent and consistent effort (and money) that the news organizations don’t have off late.

      But that aside, and not to put too fine a point on this — Ahmadinejad is a nut case. He called the demonstrators in his country, “weed.” And that there is no place in Iran for such people and they will be eliminated.

      Ahmadinejad is a control freak and a dictator who wants to tell everyone what is good and what is wrong. And not allow others to as much as think leave alone protest, especially in Iran.

      As mentioned earlier, if he ends up being the leader, we have no choice but to deal with him out of pragmatism.

  2. “I see a strong chance for true democracy in the Iran of the future”

    may I ask where are you?
    perhaps New York… and maybe sitting in front of a 24 inch Dell wide Ultra Sharp display, surfing YouTube videos by Verizon FiOZ connection, comparing with those images, videos and posts you reviewed during one Asian country’s (likeThailand) street clashes and say with yourself: Yup, something great is happening over there”

    I write this from Iran, a doggone country at the heart of middle east. with all due respect and despite my backward English skill, I want you to think again… what you see in your monitor is not the thing that I can call Chance here. last night 15 students killed..(hard-liner forces who don’t wear uniform to not be recognized, throw down 2-3 of them from the roof) and 120 are lost … just while I’m writhing this my friends twittering that they beat people and use tear gas in streets of their home town..

    BUT…you think what will happen even if we win this street war? Nothing.. this regime will not be removed or even changed. US and Israel need this regime, don look at their official declarations in TV channels.. they want Iran, a militarist-dictatorship country.

    our unlucky destiny doesn’t lead us to Democracy. there is no water in hell.. beg for it or not.

    • Hi Eric,

      Firstly, Eric Calabros doesn’t sound much of an Iranian name. I am trusting it is a psuedonym. 😉

      Secondly, you will be surprised to know that I have lived more than half of my life in a so-called third world country that has grown through seismic changes of its own.

      Thirdly, and most importantly – I never said it will be easy. Nor did I say it is imminent. I mentioned that it will take at least a decade at best. I didn’t even say it is guaranteed. I also understand that bloodshed will surely be involved — seven (officially) have already died. I also understand that beyond the elected representatives lies the real power — the guardian council and the supreme leader. The guardian council itself can reject a nomination for the election or reject bills passed by the parliament if deemed unconstitutional or un-islamic (what ever that means). But history is replete with changes that did not seem possible and then happened. Though that is an obvious statement it needs to be made.

      And you must admit that even over the course of the last 24 hrs you have been surprised — the guardian council has declared that the results were only “provisional,” Khamanei has called for an inquiry and Larijani has blamed the deaths on the Interior Ministry.

      I am sure these are nerve wracking days and surely not something anyone wants to go through — stay safe and wish you the best.

      p.s: BTW, your blog seems very interesting….wish I could read Farsi. I will look for a way to translate it.

    • Oh My…. We want an Iran that’s a Military Dictatorship? Maybe the criminal nation of Israel fits that bill, but I hardly think the U.S. under Obama would want that. I feel bad for the people of Iran, but they are under the control of the mullahs. Thats the problem. The mullahs said leading up to the election that the People shouldn’t expect to elect a west-leaning individual…. what do you think that meant? A theocracy isn’t a democracy. The mullahs have to go before you’ll have free and fair elections in Iran. Don’t blame it on the U.S., this time. That’s All Folks!

      • hehe… because of US we have to live under mullahs control. who were supporting the Shah? and when he became marshal of the region, left alone? who let the Islamic government to be No.1 militarist power in middle east? who didn’t attack to avoid oil price rise? Shell and Halliburton that their CEOs have more power than US president, belong to which country? Who benefits from selling weapon to crazy chicken-hearted Arabs who may fear from an extremist Islamic government in their neighbor?

        in this Chess mach, USA arrange all its men against us while every move from our side causes the Checkmate.. and proudly say: oh baby, its up to you !

  3. Living in a country is not equal to Having ability to analyze that country’s current condition correctly or predict its future. you have live half of your life in an Iran-like country.. OK, I have 70 millions people who have spent whole their life time here but most of them do not agree with you.

    be sure that I have good reasons for my deep disappointment. such events have been happen for several times in our history.. we have a big problem : Unfortunately, We don learn !

  4. Wednesday, June 17, 2009

    The ‘Regime Change’ regime targets Iran

    Long before Iran was to have its scheduled current election to elect or re-elect a new President, US had started its mission to sabotage the current Ahmadinejad regime, through massive instigation of opposition groups to prepare for an ‘Orange revolution’ type of ‘Green revolution’ in Iran. US Congress openly appropriated funds for this subversive mission. Obama came in with a new approach for speaking softly and engaging Iran in a dialog. The dialog was to try a new approach to substitute Israel’s obsessive demand to bomb away Iran’s nuclear facilities. Apparently after its disastrous war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, US and its NATO allies are not in a mood to ‘permit’ Israel to start another of its promoted war adventure. Obama had therefore acquiesced if not actively offered to sabotage the election and bring in a regime change in Iran, using the same strategies that US had so successfully used in regime change ‘revolutions’ in East European countries that had got their freedom from Soviet Union, though still under Russian affiliations. One after another, the coups were organised openly and world got the front row view of the staged revolution on 24 hour television coverage where crowds surged on government institutions while US and its allies, using their powerful media relentlessly bombarding the world with its cacophony of expression of outrage on brutalities heaped on the protestors, who were nothing put hired thugs of the US and its western allies.

    The same strategy was adopted by the US in Iran. In the forefront of the subversive campaign is BBC, with its Persian radio and television services. BBC world service TV and radio programs relayed round the clock commentary and voices of disgruntled Iranians, from within as well as from outside Iran. The organised nature of BBC’s new coverage was fully exposed when BBC’s star senior journalist John Simpson majestically descended on the streets in Tehran to anoint the crowds and encourage mass revolt on the streets. Its street by street coverage through use of latest electronic gadgetry was a new trench war. Each and every snap and video clip was most dutifully displayed by BBC to the world audience and its commentaries in Persian were on a war footing. BBC’s website carries a hyper coverage of the events unfolding on the streets of Iran. The US stamp of organisation was so blatant, so typical and so arrogant, that no one in the world is convinced that the current street jamming is a home grown instantaneous protest movement. Though BBC again and again refered to the Khomeini’s revolution as to how the street demonstrations overthrew the regime, the stark difference between the spontaneity of the ‘Khomeini revolution’ and the entirely foreign backed and funded orchestrated subversion movement was not lost to the world at large.

    It is not that Ahmadinejad’s government was not aware of the huge and widespread preparation by the so-called liberal forces, not only to participate in the free elections, but more than that to be prepared for a huge protest demonstration, to paralyze the entire nation after they have lost the elections, which was hundred percent certainty. Each and every town and city of Iran was activated. Still, President Ahmadinejad had chosen to be very cautious in his response to the expected street protests of the opposition demonstrations. In fact, it was a test of depth of Khomeini revolution to observe how after 3 decades, it can fight off another western challenge to its continuity with mass support from its people, not only from urban centres but from all over rural Iran, which is by far the much greater part of Iranian nation.

    Like the Shah, Ahmadinejad could have unleashed terror on the street. But that would have been counterproductive and a blot on the face of Islamic revolution.

    President Obama, who only days earlier in his Cairo speech to Muslim world, had mentioned with a tinge of regret, now very suspicious, about America’s interference in Iran through Mossadagh revolution and its overthrow. Even now, according to BBC, Obama was refusing to ‘meddle’ in Iran. In fact, Obama was trying to douse the inflamed country that would have been a major thrust point for his new beginning with the Muslim world. Obama held that there was not much difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies and the world should not believe all the advertised expectation propaganda.

    However, Mousavi has turned out to be a dumb witted leader, who is trying to ride two tigers in one go. If he thought the forces that are unleashed in his name are in fact, under his absolute command, he is only fooling himself. It is therefore, appropriate that Obama has publicly disassociated himself and his country from the turmoil in Iran. It is the kind of decisive turnaround that former US President Dwight Eisenhower used to force UK- France and Israel from their joint action in Egypt, fearing a world confrontation with the Soviets. This time the threat to US is not from their cold war rivals the Soviets but from the Muslim world. He can never achieve his goal to win the hearts and minds of Muslims around the world, if he had supported the liberals that were unleashed by a section of his own administration, together with Israeli planners.

    In Iran now, time is of essence. As back in 2005, a similar protest move was made by the opposition of vote rigging and a recount was agreed by the Guardian Council. In similar vein the readily agreed recount by Guardian Council for a recount, seems to be a time honoured means to defuse the tension. However, this time, unless the western supporters are silenced, especially the subversive media like BBC, Obama will find it hard to fine-tune his new beginning with Iran. The ball is in Obama’s court.

    Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai
    ghulammuhammed3@gmail.com
    http://www.ghulammuhammed.wordpress.com

    • I am sorry but this is fantastical thoughts.

      US can in no way, shape or form have hundreds of thousands of people in a country like Iran come out and protest. For that matter US Govt cannot exhort its own population in such numbers on to the street!

      Think of it simply this way: will you as a muslim Indian go out on the street even if America was able to somehow reach to you and ask you to?

      Show of protest against its own repressive regime is NOT a show of support for the US. There is a lot of gray area in the middle and muslim countries like Iran ave to stop blaming all of their ills upon others.

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