Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Seven points about Iran's situation

1- I have nothing against Mousavi. If he really got the most votes, I hope he takes the office of President. I preferred Mousavi to Ahmadinejad before the election because his election would have made it harder for anti-Iranian factions of the US to demonize the country. The ultimate issue is that the people of Iran have the right to vote for Ahmadinejad if they choose, regardless of my preference.

2- Supporters of losing candidates are very easy to convince of foul-play and conspiracies, all over the world. I'm completely unimpressed by a large demonstration of supporters of a candidate who is acknowledged to have gotten millions of votes. If McCain supporters believed "the world is watching" and sympathetic to rumors that Obama won by fraud, they could have gotten hundreds of thousands or millions of people to rally. That does not even hint at demonstrating that McCain actually got more votes or has more supporters. Same thing for Mousavi.

3- It is very irresponsible to make charges of fraud before there is any evidence beyond rumors, and it is even more irresponsible to lead protests at least apparently aimed at rendering the country ungovernable before there is solid evidence of fraud or wrongdoing.

4- So irresponsible that I worry about the motivation of a person that does this. I was worried, never convinced but worried, that Mousavi may be acting irresponsibly in a way that is coordinated with outsiders. I am less worried now since it is becoming clearer that Khamenei and Mousavi are coordinating.

5- There never has been presented an explanation of why Khamenei would have allowed Mousavi to run but stolen the election at the last minute. I say again and again, Mousavi winning the presidency, by itself, would not have threatened Khamenei's hold on power. Khamenei knows that a Mousavi presidency would have made Iran's foreign policy goals easier, not harder to reach.

6- Because there are major structural societal forces in Iran aligned with Mousavi, street protests strike me as redundant. When there is real evidence of election fraud, the election will be overturned by establishment factions that have nearly as much power as Khamenei but in that case would have the law and morality on their side. There is no question in my mind that in those circumstances, Rafsanjani's faction would win out, with or without student demonstrations. Unless there is a factor that we don't know about, such as the state having evidence of foreign intervention in the election process, in which case Khamanei probably would win, as he should.

7- An atmosphere of doubt and suspicion pervading over Iran benefits opponents of Iran. Even if there is fraud, this is a circumstance in which people who are not hostile to Iran can wait calmly for reliable information. It is difficult because emotions run high during and immediately after election campaigns, but everyone who cares about Iran should strive to do so.


still-looking said...

It's 3 days now after the "fraud claim". Has anyone seen any solid evidence of rigging yet??? I have not anyway.
What is worrisome is the Rafsanjanist elements are still pushing the fraud case on their websites, both inside and outside Iran. Why don't one of them publish any evidence on their sites? Perhaps none exists?

Ziad said...

After reading as much as I can about the election I still have no idea who truly won. But, regarding you're previous post about whether Musavi-Rafsanjani are to be the new Mubarak-Abdullah, I was worried about it yesterday. But after reconsidering, I'm convince that's near impossible. It is not that they are incorruptible, but rather, even in the best cast scenario for them, they will never have the kind of power that a Mubarak has over Egypt. They will have to cut a deal with the IRGC, the Regular military, intelligence services and the rest of the clerical establishment. They will almost certainly not give up on nuclear progress, since they are have basically done all that they need to and no one has laid a finger on them.

5 years ago, an Iranian could have made a credible argument for compromising with the west. Now the strategic situation greatly favors Iran and every official in Iran knows it. The Iranian public knows it.

Second, let us examine another scenario. Let us assume after some back and forth, Musavi is declared the rightful winner and assumes the presidency. The Iranian government will then have ***UNASSAILABLE*** LEGITIMACY. When it then continues precisely the same foreign policy it always has, what will the west say? It will be painted in a corner from which there will be no easy exit.

As for the public, they are chanting Allahu 'Akbar from the roof tops. That is hardly a repudiation of the revolution, it is an reaffirmation of its intended principles; independence, justice and fairness.

Which is why I'm less convinced (but not completely)than before that this is a color revolution coordinated abroad. Indeed Obama's statements, along with other Western leaders seem a bit guarded. They are unsure who's should be on...if any. That may change. The CIA may very well try to worm its way in, if it hasn't already.

Again, this is all just a guess. Anything can happen. but It may very well be that Iran could emerge from this much stronger than ever.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, I agree that it looks less and less like a "color revolution" but I certainly think that the Mousavi/Khatami/Rafsanjani axis or some of their supporters have been reading the playbook.

M K Bhadrakumar, a former Indian diplomat, over at Asia Times suggests that this is a fight for the Supreme Leader job between Khamenei and Rafsanjani with Rafsanjani promising the Saudis that Ahmedinejad would be gone.