When Ahmadinejad was elected, my good friends decided to analyze the presidential election in a seminar.  I was also invited for a speech.  I knew little, if any, about Ahmadinejad, his background or his worldview.   While extraordinary propaganda against him  --i.e. a hostage taker, etc.--  started even before he took office, I could hardly find anything of substance to talk about.  So I spoke about the election itself instead.  While not too many people attended that seminar --and it was ended without any particular hard feelings-- before I knew it, I was also targeted for innuendo!  Those who were blunt enough challenged me for not having discovered the massive fraud in the election!  It prompted me to write a short article Hot Air at the time.  That was well before Jimmy Carter indorsed the validity of yet another election where Hamas won the election.

 Later Hossein Derakhshan –who is apparently missing or arrested in Iran now—wrote “Democracy’s Double Standard” for New York Times blaming George W. Bush for the rise of Ahmadinejad to power.  I agreed, adding my own observation: After the Fact Fussing in January 2006:

 “It is clear he (Bush) dislikes both the Iranian and Palestinian elections outcome.  But it is only through comparison where you are disgusted with the double standard: “Contrast the "don't vote" message that President Bush sent to Iranians to the one delivered to Iraqis through a major media campaign and other costly means: "Your destiny is in your own hands. Disappoint the anti-democracy radicals and go out and vote."  The funny thing is the fact that Bush administration does not like the Iraqis election outcome either… I certainly believe Bush administration was well aware of what was going on in both Iranian presidential and recent Palestinian elections.  Not only Bush is simply too arrogant to face the reality, but also he enjoys being surrounded by warmongers and profiteers who do not miss even the most remote opportunity for creating and/or continued instability in the region.  They are the only ones who enjoy windfall profit for human lives and misery.  In short, they are looking for violence while giving lip service to peace and stability.” 

 Yet, I was wrong in thinking Ahmadinejad – as a hardliner – was going to lead us to an inevitable war:

 “It may serve the JUSTICE because Iran has every right to a peaceful nuclear energy like any other country in the world.  However, this is the most expensive justice a country may ever gain because it may well lead to World War III in real terms.  If there were a claim of possible EXISTENCE of WMD in Iraq; this time it is a possible INTENTION for a country that has fully cooperated with IAEA in recent years including compliance with additional protocols that have not been even ratified by the board yet.”

 Now, about 3 years later, American presidential election is over, but interested parties eye the upcoming Iranian presidential Election.  Sometimes it is hard to believe how the same hand of cards are played with the same tactic, let alone strategy!  The very same people who ridiculed Khatami for his failed so called democratic reforms, are hoping for his return!  

 “Khatami, who served two terms as president from 1997 to 2005, has emerged as the opposition's best hope. An intense, behind-the-scenes campaign is under way to persuade him to run, according to Iranian political figures and analysts.”

 However, it is encouraging to note candor:

 "We were critical of Khatami before," the analyst said, reflecting widespread disillusionment with the former president's failure to carry out reforms opposed by the country's conservative Shiite Muslim religious establishment. "Now we pray he returns."

 What is missing in all this analysis is the component of Iranian electoral voters?  It is true that young, mostly educated, Iranians who eye western modernity are the core opponents of Ahmadinejad, so are the better off sections of the Iranian population, i.e. merchants, even conservative clerics, etc. but it is not enough.  Ahmadinejad has clearly conveyed the message that these are the very reasons for injustice in Iran.  Unlike Khatami, he humbly attributes any progress to the people and the will of God, Prophet, and his disciples.  While this street smart strategy fuels the so called SMS mockery of him, it will help making it difficult for any viable opponent to defeat him.  Face it, a candidate not approved by the Guardian Council will not have even a chance to compete anyone.  So, it makes little difference for Khamenei to back one against the other.  In my humble opinion, Khamenei factor is simply a reflection of the poll; the real poll; not distorted and manufactured data for a pretext to claim fraud after the fact. 


Mohamad Purqurian

December 22, 2008