Beyond Election 1388/2009


Some years ago I setup a political discussion forum called RAIN4Preace (Regime Agnostic International Nexus 4 Peace).  Its purpose was to create a line of communication between intellectuals who believe in peace without affiliation to any particular regime / government.  It never took off the ground, but a good friend of mine expressed his concern about the usage of “agnostic” to equal atheist.  He certainly had a point, but the word is not confined within such usage.  Now, to give another pretext to those who badly need innuendo, I state a fact!  I am a political party agnostic.  Even though I have already preempted pseudo intellectuals, I am sure they would immediately look up the dictionary and make a scene that I do not believe in GOD!  Whether I do or not is nobody’s business, but mine. 

Nonetheless, what I mean by “political party agnostic” is the fact that I could never fit in any particular political school of thought.  About a quarter of a century ago, when I became a citizen of the U.S. I was asked about my political party.  I could not think of any, but I remembered a sarcastic piece by Andy Rooney who concluded if you could not make up your mind whether you are a democrat or a republican, then you are a democrat!  So I registered as a democrat!  Even before that, I had problem with my friends who kept asking me to identify my political affiliation (khateto moshakhas kon) during the 1979 revolutionary times. 

By such a mentality, had Mousavi been elected, I would have treated him as a president.  Exactly the same way I treated Khatami or Ahmadinejad in recent administrations.  I criticized/applauded what I thought to be their weaknesses/strengths.  In my humble opinion neither a revolution/regime change nor idolizing/demonizing political figures would serve Iran’s best interests; especially in terms of foreign policy.  We need to grow up to meet the reality on the ground and clean up our own mess.  We must also be always abreast of political pressure coming from within and without.


Having said that, I guess reformists (Eslaah Talabaan) having failed to graciously concede a defeat or to legally proceed with a complaint, are going to lose the next presidential election as well.  In short, an undisputed great majority of potential voters (about 85%) took part in this election.  No matter how IRI opposition spins it, Iranians have overwhelmingly sealed a vote in favor of IRI, but expressed their grievances for basic human rights.  Dr. Mojtahed-Zadeh was amongst a very few political observers who noticed it in the byproduct of the so called Green Revolution:


In all, let us not kid ourselves about what has happened; this struggle was not about democracy or human rights, and/also it was not about the people who thought they had found an opportunity to shout out their grievances of years of mismanagement. The majority of these people (apart from the foot soldiers of the two sides) went out to scream their dissatisfaction, not in favor of any one in particular. Even their slogan for protest (Allaho-Akbar) was confined within the guidelines of the IRI and as such propagated by Mousavi himself.  The leader of the IRI from day one had made it absolutely clear that the election was about the glory and strength of the Islamic revolution. He pointed out quite clearly that all votes cast would be for the NEZAM (regime) and pointed out several times that, with clearly stated satisfaction of Mr. Mousavi that he like Mr. Ahmadinejad belonged to the NEZAM and all their votes were for the NEZAM”


What happened next was the fact that Mousavi’s grievance (whether legitimate or not) was abused by virtually all oppositions, particularly by foreign interests.  This latter was the real gift to IRI to boost its legitimacy amongst the silent majority.  Sometimes, I am baffled why foreign interests have not learned their lessons that every time they meddle with our internal affairs, it simply backfires to burn their interests.  In the current world politics, this is not new at all.  It happened to Khatami too.  His trying to secretly deal with the U.S. to reconcile all mutual grievances, produced nothing but a fiasco when Bush so stupidly included Iran in his infamous Axis of Evil in return.  But when Ahmadinejad took office, opposition kept spinning, but he (being street smart) continued Khatami’s internal human rights improvements. 


In his early days in office, he issued an order to allow women audience in male sport events.  While it was an unprecedented bold action even Khatami did not dare to take, it was failed and Ahmadinejad realized his first arch enemy because religious traditionalist leaders opposed it.  In spite of that, he continued in relaxing enforcement of many restrictions within his authorities.  While I do not claim a scientific survey, I have communicated with young Iranian boys and girls who could compare Khatami with Ahmadinejad, and hated the latter.  Nonetheless, they confirmed the fact that streetwise, they are not as much harassed for social comingling as they used to under Khatami.  I expect this trend to be accelerated, especially due to the fact that modern reading of Islamic principles will have an upper hand in the ruling class of IRI from now on.  This has already been proved by Khamenei’s handling of Soroush’s opinion that could easily be called blasphemy.  Khamenei called for a religious dialogue instead of issuing a decree for blasphemy as Khomeini did against Salman Rushdie.  But don’t build up too much hope because they have already started talking about “Hejab” day in memory of late Marwa El-Sherbini a young Egyptian mother who was brutally stabbed to death in Germany last week.


This perspective can be translated into many different opinions, but I guess IRI is likely to keep pounding on the table (a subliminal message to people in the background) that reformists (Eslaah Talabaan) serve mid to upper class Iranians directly, and foreign interests indirectly.  Also not all students are pro reformists, a good portion of them, if not the majority, belong to hard working ordinary Iranians.  I receive a lot of emails from university students who are fed up with demonstrations because of interruption of school works, if nothing else.  They are sick and tired of futile protests.  They have come to know they can achieve a lot more by either entering in the system and move-up the ladder or by getting a degree (that is less expensive in Iran) and migrate to the west.


In conclusion, I expect reformists in general, and Mousavi in particular, to be pushed into a shrinking minority.  They knew it coming (felt it happening) when Khatami withdraw his candidacy in favor of Mousavi.  Conservatives, on the other hand, keep loosening up the grip on restrictions, and expand their basis as a consequence.  Reformists fell into the same trap oppositions fell.  They moved out of Iran some 30 years ago, and never got of it right.  Political lying, distortion, and innuendo works ONLY in short run as a tactic.  Building a strategy on such behavior is doomed to fail in the long run.  The more they resort to innuendo, the more they isolate themselves.  The resume of opposition includes a 30 year long evidence to such failure.  So the opposition will be stronger, but only to play the same broken record of demonizing IRI without ever achieving any political agenda.  I hope this would not materialize because Iran could have grown up to a two party system to alternate power sharing for the good of the people.



Mohamad Purqurian

July 12, 2009