Sunday, June 14, 2009

Comment: Elections in Iran

What do I think about the elections in Iran two days ago?

Like many people around the world I'm sorry that Ahmadinejad won. Given that real power is held by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, even had Mousavi won we wouldn't likely have seen basic shifts in Iranian policy, at least not immediately.

But Mousavi held out hope for a kinder, gentler approach to how Iran sees and deals with the west. So his victory would have been a step forward.

When we were in Iran we had a few conversations with people about the upcoming election. Those who expressed unhappiness with Ahmadinejad and his policies were doubtful that he could be defeated. They assumed the vote would be rigged if necessary to keep him in power.

My guess is that had the votes been counted fairly Ahmadinejad would still have won, but by a smaller margin. We'll never know what actually happened. I don't think the current protests by Mousavi supporters will go on for long. They'll either be suppressed and/or they'll resort to private expressions of dissatisfaction. I don't think there is enough of a critical mass at this time for a serious uprising. But the passion shown by those who'd like to see change in the direction of reform is a positive sign.

Irrespective of who's in charge in Iran, the U.S. should continue on the path of engaging them in a positive dialog.


Post a Comment

<< Home