Iranian Election Part 4

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Maysie Maysie's picture
Iranian Election Part 4
Cueball Cueball's picture

Josh wrote:
How can that be when the U.S. helped overthrow a democratically-elected government?  The problem was that the U.S. did not adhere to principles of secular democracy, not that it tried to impose it.

Exactly. How could that be! So, lets not pretend that the USA "is speaking out in support of those seeking to moderate and change", they are really projecting their interests. And is this assertion of their presumed moral authority, doing anything to moderate and change anything for the better? I highly doubt it. If anything it is strengthening the forces of reaction, because the forces of reaction can always paint the opposition as agents of the empire, and in fact have already done this. The more preassure the US asserts, the stronger the reactionaries become.

As I put it in thread number 2, of this series if I were Iranian, I would probably choose Amedinejad over a government installed by people who are so ignorant of Iran, as to believe that there is a "religious police" made up entirely of men who are "thuggish" Nazi storm troopers who spend their days humiliating women, because they are too ugly to get a date, and then go home and fuck each other, as Stockholm opined.

Let's remember that there are a lot of Muslims in Iran, and change is not going to come about just on the say so of non-Muslims, and a plurality of moderate Muslim support is needed if anything positive is going to happen, and if I were a "liberal" Muslim, any candidate or organization that was at all tained by an association with that kind of prejudice and ignorance, would certainly not get me out on the street for anything, not even free hot dogs.

sanizadeh

Cueball wrote:

As, I put it in thread number 2, of this series if I were Iranian, I would probably choose Amedinejad over a government installed by people who are so ignorant of Iran, as to believe that there is a "religious police" made up entirely of men who are "thuggish" Nazi storm troopers who spend their days humiliating women, because they are too ugly to get a date, and then go home and fuck each other, as Stockholm opined.

Any candidate or organization that was at all tained by an association with that kind of prejudice and ignorance, would certainly not get me out on the street for anything, not even free hot dogs.

Now hold on a second. Are you suggesting that our movement in Iran or any part of its leadership is tainted by any such association? or that it is not an entirely "made in Iran" grassroot movement? or that a majority of those demonstrating in the streets are not practicing Muslims? If this is so, it is an ignorant comment.

If you are suggesting that the regime tries to paint it as such, few in Iran give a fucking damn what the state TV says. During the 1979 revolution also the Shah regime portraited protestors invariably as agents of Soviets, British, Iraq etc. People on the street know better.

If you are worried that the outside world sees the demonstrators as such, again, Iranians inside Iran are not concerned with the image in the western news outlets.What Stokholm, or Rabble, or Fox News, or Obama himself think about the situation in Iran has little impact on what Iranians think.

This is about cntaining and eventually bringing down a dictatorship from within. The outside world has had very little impact on it and the people involved in it on the ground do not particularly care how their opposition to the government is perceived on the world stage. and no, we do not choose Ahmadinejad over any of the other candidates regardless of how the world views our choice.

 

Ghislaine

Cueball, I think you should read sanizadeh's posts are little more closely and spend a bit more time thinking before writing. You obviously have pre-conceived notions that you are trying to make the situation in Iran adhere to.

The one million people marching in the streets and risking their lives cannot all be "the rich". They are not all "non-Muslim".

Writing about this situation and speaking out against the so-called elected president does not mean one supports imperialistic US involvement. It also does not mean that one is blind to injustice in Canada - can we not discuss any other subjects but Canada on babble? By your logic you should not be writing anything about the treatment of Palestinians by Israel when our government is still treating FN the way that it does.

And to say that Canada is no better than the Iranian regime?! Ask Zarah Kazemi's son what he thinks about that. If we are no better, why are so many Iranian-Canadians protesting with green armbands here in Canada? Why are we not expelling and improsing foreign journalists without charge? I am sorry to say, but the perfect utopia that must occur before we can critically discuss the situation in other countries is not going to occur in our lifetimes. I am critical about many things in Canada, but I also am very thankful every day that in the birthplace lottery I wound up here.

Cueball Cueball's picture

sanizadeh wrote:

Now hold on a second. Are you suggesting that our movement in Iran or any part of its leadership is tainted by any such association? or that it is not an entirely "made in Iran" grassroot movement? or that a majority of those demonstrating in the streets are not practicing Muslims? If this is so, it is an ignorant comment.

No I am not saying that. I am saying that US preassure is likely only to strengthen the force or reaction, and the more evident it becomes the stronger reaction will be. But surely Iranians are not unified on these points. You don't think that conservative elements in the society might not side with the government because they fear that increased instability might play into the hands of foreign powers, Russia, and the USA primarily, even if they don't believe that the demonstrators themselves are directly agents of anybody?

Cueball Cueball's picture

Ghislaine wrote:

Cueball, I think you should read sanizadeh's posts are little more closely and spend a bit more time thinking before writing. You obviously have pre-conceived notions that you are trying to make the situation in Iran adhere to.

I think that sanizadeh is perfectly capable of representing his views without you explaining it for him.

But good works there, packing in as many strawmen as you could into 4 seperate paragraphs. Not really into deconstructing them right now. But speaking of armbands, how many Iranian-Canadian, not wearing Green armbands have you seen? Furthermore, I hardly think what is largely an exile community is going to be a fair representation of what Iranians who remain in Iran think.

sanizadeh

Cueball wrote:

sanizadeh wrote:

Now hold on a second. Are you suggesting that our movement in Iran or any part of its leadership is tainted by any such association? or that it is not an entirely "made in Iran" grassroot movement? or that a majority of those demonstrating in the streets are not practicing Muslims? If this is so, it is an ignorant comment.

No I am not saying that. I am saying that US preassure is likely only to strengthen the force or reaction, and the more evident it becomes the stronger reaction will be.

Possibly, but there is no such pressure from the US at the moment; and the "external threat" card has been played in Iran so many times that it has lost its credibility. It is now like the boy who cried wolf.Last night the state TV showed a "confession" from a supposed member of an outside terrorist group who claimed he organized the protests under order from the British Intelligence Service! The people now just laugh at such stupid attempts by the regime. Even the regime officials won't believe it: The parliament is initiating inquiries into violent attacks by pro-government militia on Student dorms, and several MPs have requested that state TV gives time slots to the opposition and Mousavi to express their views.

 

josh

"So, lets not pretend that the USA "is speaking out in support of those seeking to moderate and change", they are really projecting their interests. And is this assertion of their presumed moral authority, doing anything to moderate and change anything for the better? I highly doubt it. If anything it is strengthening the forces of reaction, because the forces of reaction can always paint the opposition as agents of the empire, and in fact have already done this. The more preassure the US asserts, the stronger the reactionaries become."

 

The first sentence is not necessarily mutually exclusive. And Obama has received criticism for not speaking out more forcefully precisely because he has been hesitant to allow the theocrats to taint the opposition with the U.S. brush. The issue here, in my view, is not the U.S. versus Iran, but opposition to a theocratic state that violates just about every precept progressives have stood for since the Enlightenment. It is from that perspective that I choose to view the conflict.

 

sanizadeh

Please allow me to make one thing clear for the record: I personally do not believe the Iranian regime will be brought down by grassroot demonstrations only. I always thought like Soviet union, Iran will have to change from the above (although I admit I could never imagine grassroot protests in such scale). However this is not an Iran-US standoff. The movement is genuine. It has already broken many taboos and crossed many red lines in Iran. The blood of those who were killed will not be in vain even if the current protests are violently suppressed. Where it goes from here, will depend a lot on Mousavi's resolve and internal politics of Iran. Outside world will have a minimal impact.

 

josh

"Iran's Revolutionary Guards have threatened to crack down on any new street protests against the results of the country's presidential election.

In a statement, the guards vowed to react in a "revolutionary" way to suppress unauthorised demonstrations.

The Revolutionary Guards, Iran's elite security force, have close ties to the country's supreme leader.

. . . .

In a statement posted on their website, the Guards said their troops would break up street protests and force protesters from the streets.

"Be prepared for a resolution and revolutionary confrontation with the Guards, Basij [pro-government militia] and other security forces and disciplinary forces," the Associated Press news agency quoted the Guards as saying."

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8112812.stm

Cueball Cueball's picture

sanizadeh wrote:

Cueball wrote:

sanizadeh wrote:

Now hold on a second. Are you suggesting that our movement in Iran or any part of its leadership is tainted by any such association? or that it is not an entirely "made in Iran" grassroot movement? or that a majority of those demonstrating in the streets are not practicing Muslims? If this is so, it is an ignorant comment.

No I am not saying that. I am saying that US preassure is likely only to strengthen the force or reaction, and the more evident it becomes the stronger reaction will be.

Possibly, but there is no such pressure from the US at the moment; and the "external threat" card has been played in Iran so many times that it has lost its credibility. It is now like the boy who cried wolf.Last night the state TV showed a "confession" from a supposed member of an outside terrorist group who claimed he organized the protests under order from the British Intelligence Service! The people now just laugh at such stupid attempts by the regime. Even the regime officials won't believe it: The parliament is initiating inquiries into violent attacks by pro-government militia on Student dorms, and several MPs have requested that state TV gives time slots to the opposition and Mousavi to express their views.

Right, but I am not saying the people necessarily believe that the protestors are hooked up with MI5. I am asking if many people are not worried that the instability will make Iran vulnerable to outside influence and preassure, and that this possibility strengethens the support for Amedinejad.

I did notice they are going to investigate the attack on the dorm.

sanizadeh

Cueball wrote:

Right, but I am not saying the people necessarily believe that the protestors are hooked up with MI5. I am asking if many people are not worried that the instability will make Iran vulnerable to outside influence and preassure, and that this possibility strengethens the support for Amedinejad.

Well, I can just say I did not hear such concern from people (including supporters of the regime) when I was in Iran. Even the regime supporters blame the protests on internal politics of the regime, and on Ahmadinejad's domestic opponents like Rafsanjani.

Cueball Cueball's picture

I see.

sanizadeh wrote:

Please allow me to make one thing clear for the record: I personally do not believe the Iranian regime will be brought down by grassroot demonstrations only. I always thought like Soviet union, Iran will have to change from the above (although I admit I could never imagine grassroot protests in such scale). However this is not an Iran-US standoff. The movement is genuine. It has already broken many taboos and crossed many red lines in Iran. The blood of those who were killed will not be in vain even if the current protests are violently suppressed. Where it goes from here, will depend a lot on Mousavi's resolve and internal politics of Iran. Outside world will have a minimal impact.

I don't doubt that the movement is genuine. My question is about the universality of support. "You do not believe the Iranians regieme will be brought down by grassroot demonstrations only", and that change will come from the top. Surely this indicates that the movement against the regieme is not supported universarlly, so my question is aimed at finding out exactly why a substantial number of people still do not stand against the regieme.

sanizadeh

Cueball wrote:

I don't doubt that the movement is genuine. My question is about the universality of support. "You do not believe the Iranians regieme will be brought down by grassroot demonstrations only", and that change will come from the top. Surely this indicates that the movement against the regieme is not supported universarlly, so my question is aimed at finding out exactly why a substantial number of people still do not stand against the regieme.

Not necessarily. I believe ideological-revolutionary regimes typically are not brought down by grassroot revolutions; first because their ideological base, however small, fights to death for its ideology, and second, because people with experience of a bloody revolution are reluctant to start another one. So it is often a combination of protests and unrests with support of one faction of the regime against another that leads to changes.

About the universality of the opposition, there is no figure one way or another. But there was no indication of widespread opposition to Shah's regime until its last couple of months either. For the most part of the 1978 (until its last quarter) demonstrations were sporadic and a feww weeks apart. Why more people do not pour into the streets? Most likely because they are afraid of batons and bullets and the anti-riot squad.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Interesting. Thanks for being so patient with me.

How big was the largest protest you saw?

sanizadeh

The one on the first Monday after election (June 15) in Azadi Street was breathtaking. It was so huge that, even though it was officially illegal, police or anti-riot squad did not dare attacking. Could have been a million or so.

 

martin dufresne

The issue here, in my view, is not the U.S. versus Iran, but opposition to a theocratic state that violates just about every precept progressives have stood for since the Enlightenment. It is from that perspective that I choose to view the conflict.

"God in On Our Side" was not penned in Iran. I find it significant that secular intellectuals such as ourselves so easily support the continuing religious trial cum war waged against Iran and the Taliban. How do you explain that Western countries have, since the "Enlightenment" , visited so much self-interested violence on the rest of the world despite all these progressive precepts that we use as alibis?

Cueball Cueball's picture

sanizadeh wrote:

The one on the first Monday after election (June 15) in Azadi Street was breathtaking. It was so huge that, even though it was officially illegal, police or anti-riot squad did not dare attacking. Could have been a million or so.

 

Thanks a lot for your answers. Cheers. Perhaps you should write an article for babble about your experiences.

Ghislaine

Cueball wrote:

sanizadeh wrote:

The one on the first Monday after election (June 15) in Azadi Street was breathtaking. It was so huge that, even though it was officially illegal, police or anti-riot squad did not dare attacking. Could have been a million or so.

 

Thanks a lot for your answers. Cheers. Perhaps you should write an article for babble about your experiences.

 

That's a great idea.

josh

""God in On Our Side" was not penned in Iran. I find it significant that secular intellectuals such as ourselves so easily support the continuing religious trial cum war waged against Iran and the Taliban. How do you explain that Western countries have, since the "Enlightenment" , visited so much self-interested violence on the rest of the world despite all these progressive precepts that we use as alibis?"

 

That they have not lived up to their principles. Should that failure prevent those who seek to do so from speaking out, and opposing, theocratic regimes?

Cueball Cueball's picture

Sure. As long as it is done in a reasonable manner with a careful eye culturally imbued superiority complexes, such as that "secular democracies" are light years ahead of everyone else, when it appears quite evident that many are not.

martin dufresne wrote:

The issue here, in my view, is not the U.S. versus Iran, but opposition to a theocratic state that violates just about every precept progressives have stood for since the Enlightenment. It is from that perspective that I choose to view the conflict.

"God in On Our Side" was not penned in Iran. I find it significant that secular intellectuals such as ourselves so easily support the continuing religious trial cum war waged against Iran and the Taliban. How do you explain that Western countries have, since the "Enlightenment" , visited so much self-interested violence on the rest of the world despite all these progressive precepts that we use as alibis?

Didn't Clauzewitz say that "the 'enlightenment' was the Devine Right of Kings by other means"?

josh

And who is to be the arbiter of this "reasonable manner"? You?

Cueball Cueball's picture

I personally don't think that the idea that offices of State Department of the United States of America is some kind of appropriate vehicle for the communication of progressive and moderating influences in the world is reasonable. In fact, outside of the US, this idea would probably be deemed worthy of commitment to the funny farm, pending a psychiatric review.

josh

I don't know what that has to do with my question, but it's good to know you're taking a CJC-like mantle in terms of discussions about Iran.

 

remind remind's picture

wow, cue, advocating for a theocracy as being better than democracy, eh!

Cueball Cueball's picture

josh wrote:

I don't know what that has to do with my question, but it's good to know you're taking a CJC-like mantle in terms of discussions about Iran.

 

A review even of this thread shows that is also not "reasonable" comment. When did someone from the CJC ever talk about the present rulers of Israel as "the forces of reaction", or even close?

josh

"Come to think of it, the latter might be better since at least they pretend they are acting on the basis of some kind of moral code, as opposed to the pursuit of money for the sake of pure greed."

 

Whatever happened to the "rolleyes" smilie that used to be on here?

Cueball Cueball's picture

remind wrote:

wow, cue, advocating for a theocracy as being better than democracy, eh!

What democracy? The US "democracy"? LOL.

Somehow rigged elections between two candidates who are more simillar than they are different chosen by the elite, is SO much better when the elite are capitalists, than when they are theocratic oligarchs. Come to think of it, the latter might be better since at least they pretend they are acting on the basis of some kind of moral code, as opposed to the pursuit of money for the sake of pure greed.

josh

You are definitely "full of it" today.

NDPP

A Question of Solidarity - Lenin's Tomb

http://leninology.blogspot.com/2009/06/question-of-solidarity.html

"With the protesters or with the state? The truth is almost everything we are hearing on this topic from either side is hearsay and speculation.."

Cueball Cueball's picture

More "reason". You are just full of it today.

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

josh wrote:

You are definitely "full of it" today.

Nothing slips by you.

Care to answer the question? Which is better: Rigged elections between two candidates who are more simillar than they are different chosen by the elite, when:

1) The elite are corprate managers and a bunch of rich families

2) The elite are Muslim theocrats

And why?

remind remind's picture

Funny cue, i do not see those equally pretending to be something they are not,  in order to have power, as being any better than the other.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Well, maybe not. It was a rhetorical point anyway. The question is an open one, by the way and you are free to answer it, if you like.

Ze

Ghislaine wrote:

Cueball wrote:

sanizadeh wrote:

The one on the first Monday after election (June 15) in Azadi Street was breathtaking. It was so huge that, even though it was officially illegal, police or anti-riot squad did not dare attacking. Could have been a million or so.

Thanks a lot for your answers. Cheers. Perhaps you should write an article for babble about your experiences.

 

That's a great idea.

 

Yes, that would be great, we need more light and less heat.

josh

Cueball wrote:

Care to answer the question? Which is better: Rigged elections between two candidates who are more simillar than they are different chosen by the elite, when:

1) The elite are corprate managers and a bunch of rich families

2) The elite are Muslim theocrats

And why?

I don't care to answer the question because you're comparing apples and oranges when you're compare a theocracy with a non-theocracy.

Cueball Cueball's picture

So you say. Care to back that up with an arguement, or is asserting something without arguement ok just as long as you learned how to say prima facie in law school.

NDPP

Regrouping against Repression in Iran

http://revolutionaryflowerpot.blogspot.com/2009/06/regrouping-against-re...

"Anybody not standing with the people, in this very unambiguous people-v-state situation, are standing with a most vicious dictatorship the Iranians have had to endure.."

josh

Some things are self-evident, and need not be elucidated further in the face of disputatiousness.

NDPP

Revolutionary Guard General Arrested

http://vigilantejournalist.com/blog/archives/612

"Sarder (General) Ali Fazli of the Revolutionary Guard responsible for the Seyad-al-Shohada, Tehran Province was arrested by order of Ali Khamenei for not taking action against unarmed Iranian civilians.."

Cueball Cueball's picture

josh wrote:

Some things are self-evident, and need not be elucidated further in the face of disputatiousness.

Self-evident things are the easiest to express. I know you can do it.

Cueball Cueball's picture

NoDifferencePartyPooper wrote:

Regrouping against Repression in Iran

http://revolutionaryflowerpot.blogspot.com/2009/06/regrouping-against-re...

"Anybody not standing with the people, in this very unambiguous people-v-state situation, are standing with a most vicious dictatorship the Iranians have had to endure.."

That's funny. I just had two conversations with two different Iranians. One who was an opponent of the Mullahs, who thinks that Islam is not the true culture of Iran, someone who was beaten many times by the Iranian police, who was most definitely against what your pundit calls "the people", and then this conversation with Sanzideh, who is most definitely with "the people."

So, I am sorry, I am having a little trouble seeing the situation as being as unambiguous, as your revolutionaryflowerpotblogger.

Cueball Cueball's picture

NoDifferencePartyPooper wrote:

Revolutionary Guard General Arrested

http://vigilantejournalist.com/blog/archives/612

"Sarder (General) Ali Fazli of the Revolutionary Guard responsible for the Seyad-al-Shohada, Tehran Province was arrested by order of Ali Khamenei for not taking action against unarmed Iranian civilians.."

Shades of Tianenmen Square.

remind remind's picture

Cueball wrote:
Well, maybe not. It was a rhetorical point anyway. The question is an open one, by the way and you are free to answer it, if you like.

Rhetoricalness aside,  it was not a open question, it was a closed one, for it to be open you would have had to have included a 3 point of; neither 1 or 2.

Cueball Cueball's picture

3) Neither

And why?

contrarianna

Stepping back the election for a moment.

I'd urge anyone whose knowledge of Iran is limited to news reports, discussions of it's politics, and hearsay, to have a look at Rick Steve's 56 minute special on Iran which, although it has some political background (including the US coup), focuses on the people.

You may find Steves a bit cloying and simplistic but the look at life, varied dress,(quite western in the wealthier areas) and on the street interviews with  various people, including female university students who seem to be speaking without fear, may help to correct the image of bleak totalitarian rule that permeats Western portrayals. It is also a corrective to the perception that Iran is just a political entity not a country of millions of people.

See video here:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2884232348733568709 

martin dufresne

JOSH: "you're comparing apples and oranges when you're compare a theocracy with a non-theocracy"

Then, discussing the merits of the Iranian election from our POV is a moot point. According to your logic, it's a theocracy, period, in a space of its own, and not to be judged by our (allegedly) non-theocratic standards. How can you avoid taking into account that the West challenges election results and tries to rig coups whenever tresults disagree with its plans for a country of "strategic interest"? Interesting that bombastic odes to "the people" are reserved for the countries where the Pentagon and CIA do all they can to bring down elected governments...

contrarianna

This story states the obvious. That is, Israel fears the loss of Ahmadinejad as head demon of a demonized country.  You have to wonder who was behind the "anti-government" terrorist attacks durrng  the election campaign--attacks that one would expect to boost Ahmadinejad's support.

Quote:

By Joshua Mitnick | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
from the June 21, 2009 edition
Why Iran's Ahmadinejad is preferred in Israel
The incumbent president will be easier to isolate than reformist leader Mr. Mousavi, say some leading Israeli policymakers....

Last week Mossad Chief Meir Dagan, Israel's top spy, said he expected the unrest in Iran to drop off in a matter of days rather than escalate into a full-fledged revolt. He also estimated that the Iranians would not obtain a nuclear weapon before 2014.

"If the reformist candidate Mousavi had won, Israel would have had a more serious problem, because it would need to explain to the world the danger of the Iranian threat," he told a panel of Israeli lawmakers last week....

http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0621/p06s04-wome.html

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

 

[url=http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14052]What Actually Happened in the Iranian Presidential Election? - A Hard Look at the Numbers [/url]

by Esam Al-Amin

[excerpts]

Quote:
Which major country has elected more presidents than any in the world since 1980? Further, which nation is the only one that held ten presidential elections within thirty years of its revolution?

The answer to both questions, of course, is Iran....

The Iranian elections have unified the left and the right in the West and unleashed harsh criticisms and attacks from the "outraged" politicians to the "indignant" mainstream media. Even the blogosphere has joined this battle with near uniformity, on the side of Iran's opposition, which is quite rare in cyberspace.

Much of the allegations of election fraud have been just that: unsubstantiated accusations. No one has yet been able to provide a solid shred of evidence of wide scale fraud that would have garnered eleven million votes for one candidate over his opponent.

So let's analyze much of the evidence that is available to date....

According to official results, there were 46.2 million registered voters in Iran. The turnout was massive, as predicted by the CPO. Almost 39.2 million Iranians participated in the elections for a turn out rate of 85 percent, in which about 38.8 million ballots were deemed valid (about 400,000 ballots were left blank). Officially, President Ahmadinejad received 24.5 million votes to Mousavi's 13.2 million votes, or 62.6 per cent to 33.8 per cent of the total votes, respectively. In fact, this result mirrored the 2005 elections when Ahmadinejad received 61.7 per cent to former President Hashemi Rafsanjani's 35.9 per cent in the runoff elections....

Shortly after the official results were announced Mousavi's supporters and Western political pundits cried foul and accused the government of election fraud. The accusations centered around four themes.

• First, although voting had been extended several hours due to the heavy turnout, it was alleged that the elections were called too quickly from the time the polls were closed, with more than 39 million ballots to count.

• Second, these critics insinuated that election monitors were biased or that, in some instances, the opposition did not have its own monitors present during the count.

• Third, they pointed out that it was absurd to think that Mousavi, who descended from the Azerbaijan region in northwest Iran, was defeated handily in his own hometown.

• Fourth, the Mousavi camp charged that in some polling stations, ballots ran out and people were turned away without voting....

There were a total of 45,713 ballot boxes that were set up in cities, towns and villages across Iran. With 39.2 million ballots cast, there were less than 860 ballots per box. Unlike other countries where voters can cast their ballots on several candidates and issues in a single election, Iranian voters had only one choice to consider: their presidential candidate. Why would it take more than an hour or two to count 860 ballots per poll?  After the count, the results were then reported electronically to the Ministry of the Interior in Tehran.

Since 1980, Iran has suffered an eight-year deadly war with Iraq, a punishing boycott and embargo, and a campaign of assassination of dozens of its lawmakers, an elected president and a prime minister from the group Mujahideen Khalq Organization. (MKO is a deadly domestic violent organization, with headquarters in France, which seeks to topple the government by force.) Despite all these challenges, the Islamic Republic of Iran has never missed an election during its three decades. It has conducted over thirty elections nationwide. Indeed, a tradition of election orderliness has been established, much like election precincts in the U.S. or boroughs in the U.K. The elections in Iran are organized, monitored and counted by teachers and professionals including civil servants and retirees (again much like the U.S.)

There has not been a tradition of election fraud in Iran. Say what you will about the system of the Islamic Republic, but its elected legislators have impeached ministers and "borked" nominees of several Presidents, including Ahmadinejad. Rubberstamps, they are not. In fact, former President Mohammad Khatami, considered one of the leading reformists in Iran, was elected president by the people, when the interior ministry was run by archconservatives. He won with over 70 percent of the vote, not once, but twice.

When it comes to elections, the real problem in Iran is not fraud but candidates' access to the ballots (a problem not unique to the country, just ask Ralph Nader or any other third party candidate in the U.S.) It is highly unlikely that there was a huge conspiracy involving tens of thousands of teachers, professionals and civil servants that somehow remained totally hidden and unexposed.

Moreover, while Ahmadinejad belongs to an active political party that has already won several elections since 2003, Mousavi is an independent candidate who emerged on the political scene just three months ago, after a 20-year hiatus. It was clear during the campaign that Ahmadinejad had a nationwide campaign operation. He made over sixty campaign trips throughout Iran in less than twelve weeks, while his opponent campaigned only in the major cities, and lacked a sophisticated campaign apparatus....

However, the double standard applied by Western news agencies is striking. Richard Nixon trounced George McGovern in his native state of South Dakota in the 1972 elections. Had Al Gore won his home state of Tennessee in 2000, no one would have cared about a Florida recount, nor would there have been a Supreme Court case called Bush v. Gore. If Vice-Presidential candidate John Edwards had won the states he was born and raised in (South and North Carolina), President John Kerry would now be serving his second term. But somehow, in Western newsrooms Middle Eastern people choose their candidates not on merit, but on the basis of their "tribe."

The fact that minor candidates such as Karroubi would garner fewer votes than expected, even in their home regions as critics charge, is not out of the ordinary. Many voters reach the conclusion that they do not want to waste their votes when the contest is perceived to be between two major candidates. Karroubi indeed received far fewer votes this time around than he did in 2005, including in his hometown. Likewise, Ross Perot lost his home state of Texas to Bob Dole of Kansas in 1996, while in 2004, Ralph Nader received one eighth of the votes he had four years earlier.

Some observers note that when the official results were being announced, the margin between the candidates held steady throughout the count. In fact, this is no mystery. Experts say that generally when 3-5 per cent of the votes from a given region are actually counted, there is a 95 per cent confidence level that such result will hold firm. As for the charge that ballots ran out and some people were turned away, it is worth mentioning that voting hours were extended four times in order to allow as many people as possible the opportunity to vote. But even if all the people who did not vote, had actually voted for Mousavi (a virtual impossibility), that would be 6.93 million additional votes, much less than the 11 million vote difference between the top two candidates.

Ahmadinejad is certainly not a sympathetic figure. He is an ideologue, provocative, and sometimes behaving imprudently. But to characterize the struggle in Iran as a battle between democratic forces and a "dictator," is to exhibit total ignorance of Iran's internal dynamics, or to deliberately distort them. There is no doubt that there is a significant segment of Iranian society, concentrated around major metropolitan areas, and comprising many young people, that passionately yearns for social freedoms. They are understandably angry because their candidate came up short. But it would be a huge mistake to read this domestic disagreement as an "uprising" against the Islamic Republic, or as a call to embark on a foreign policy that would accommodate the West at the expense of Iran's nuclear program or its vital interests....

Rikardo

Any comment on Ignatief's extraordinary suggestion that our embassy intervene in the Iranian post-election troubles by offering assistance to (only) oppositionists hurt in battle.  Iran is a millenia old civilization, not some Caribbean island.  Harper wisely refused.  Did Iggy score points for the next round in November ?

NDPP

Iran's Web Spying  Aided by Western Technologies

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124562668777335653.html

"The Iranian regime has developed, with the assistance of European telecommunications companies, one of the world's most sophisticated mechanisms for controlling and censoring the Internet, allowing it to examine the content of individual  online communications on a massive scale.."

Nokia Siemens 'lawful intercept' monitoring in Iran

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2009/06/432971.html

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