June 15, 2009

Iran. And yet something has changed

Notwithstanding the doubts and concerns the United States and other Western governments expressed, and in spite of the fact that several leading reformists have been arrested on Saturday night, after violent clashes following the disputed election result, les jeux sont faits in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This was not, of course, the result the West was hoping for: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won election with 62.6 percent of the vote, against 33.7 percent for challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi. But that’s what happened, better still that’s what the government says happened, which in that country is just the same as to say that we will probably never know what really happened..

Just as it was not enough, according to unconfirmed reports, Moussavi may have been detained by intelligence agents as he travelled to the Supreme Leader’s residence to meet with him. “It appears that a coup has taken place in Iran overnight to force the results on other parties. These elections cannot be considered fair by any measure under such circumstances,” said Hadi Ghaemi, spokesperson for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

In the meantime, Zahra Rahnavard, Mousavi’s wife, accused Ahmadinejad of “dictatorship.” She said: “The Iranian people voted to change Ahmadinejad, but this vote became a vote to solidify Ahmadinejad.”

What a pity! I know, it’s not a great comment, but my disappointment is overwhelming, and honestly I have no words. However, to see the cup half full instead of half empty, the aftermath of the election seems to have shown one important difference from the past: it is harder than ever for the authorities to clamp down on dissent, and this for the simple reason that something has changed in Iran. That’s why, at this point, I wouldn’t say rien ne va plus.


  1. The present Iranian regime can no longer continue to pretend to be a democratically elected regime under the present circumstances. The 'celebration of Ahmadinejad's victory' announced by the supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei is all the more a pathetic masquerade when the streets are full of angry young students and brutal, baton wielding police armoured in riot gear.

    Reports of satellite jamming preventing the use of internet and cell phones, and the arrest of members of opposition parties also clearly reveals the true situation which obviously has nothing to do with democracy.

    Ahmadinejad has never been credible to those capable of reasoning, but the immediate reaction of so many who question the results of the Iranian elections, make it even more difficult for him to continue to pretend to fully represent Iran as its legitimate president, certainly according to intelligent Iranians who's vote could never have been purchased.

    This is truly a first in the history of the Islamic republic. One might view the situation quite simply: Ahmadinejad has two choices. To continue to pretend to represent a democracy, or to impose a dictatorship, the latter of which at least would be more honest. Either way the regime would appear to be fraudulent and would have to face the consequences.
    (The rules of democracy however, considering the rigourous, Iranian Islamic republican system and the use of sharia law, are basically impossible to fully respect in any case, due to their being incompatibility with the essential principles of democracy).

    The consequences are already in motion. Young, well informed Iranians will never forgive Armadinejad and the present regime, for deceiving them. Even if without having to abuse the rules of democracy, Armadinejad would have obtained his victory, this wouldn't have made a great deal of difference. They have had enough and they represent the future of Iran, whereas the simple folk, those who are content to believe the one who gives them free handouts, to the detriment of the Iranian economy, don't.

    'Mousavi letter to Iran's supreme leader' (BBC)


  2. Eratum: Please read '...due to their incompatibility with the ...'