Iran, Elections, and Security

I think that there can be no truer sign that the Iranian government has something to hide than the fact that it is beginning to unleash the Basij militias and the Republican Guard.  Ayatollah Khamenei has called to the protests to stop.   Essentially, the government is doing everything it can to attempt to put the election bottle back in the cork.  Violence, oppression, invoking God, speeches blaming outside influence.

“The daytime protests across the Islamic republic have been largely peaceful. But Iranians shudder at the violence unleashed in their cities at night, with the shadowy vigilantes known as Basijis beating, looting and sometimes gunning down protesters they tracked during the day.” — NY Times “Shadowy Iranian Vigilantes Vow Bolder Action” 6/19

If the election truly was fair, why would the leadership not open the ballots and let members from both sides, or the international community, examine them.  What is at stake with this election?  Security.  The Near East cannot support at this time a third ailing state.  Iraq and Afghanistan are both very tentative, and Georgia has been weakened by the violence over the last year.  If the Iranian government does not coalesce around some form of legitimacy, it too might collapse.  Hardliners in Israel are granted greater authority by having militant regimes in near-by countries.  Iran then gains greater influence by opposing “oppressive” Israel.

However, there is hope.  Lebanon recently voted, electing a pro-Western government and outting Hezbollah.  Afghanistan is having another election soon, with over 40 candidates vying for the  top post.  And in Pakistan, locals have started taking up arms against the Taliban, fighting against militant Islam.  There is some debate in Israel around the Palestinian areas.  What will actually end up happening there, however, is anyones guess.

If Mr. Ahmadinejad truly won the election, stop jailing, beating, harrassing, and killing the opposition and show them the truth of your win, not with words but with a full, fair, and monitored recount.  If it truly is a landslide 11 million vote victory this should not be a problem!

However, I do wonder if this is all delay to allow time to “fix” the ballots before they are recounted.


2 responses to “Iran, Elections, and Security

  1. The Ayatollah runs the show anyway.

    • While this is true, public perceptions also matter. The Ayatollah generally has remained in the background while the Presidents have served as leanings of how government interaction will occur. Sometimes this is more liberal, others more conservative. The key driver is international perception.

      However, as is evidenced in the US and global reaction to Iraq and Saddam, perceptions are critical. Saddam was trying to balance telling his neighbors that he had WMD, while trying to tell the rest of the world that he didn’t. The situation there might be far different if this effort had gone differently for him.

      Similarly, the reactions to Iran have varied greatly with the perception. If a hard-liner like Ahmajinidad has public rulership then statements such as getting rid of Israel, talks about nuclear weapon development, all gain more credence than if someone like Moussavi were to make similar statements, since his general tendencies towards openness and reform can illuminate if nuclear development is truly occurring for energy purposes or for more militaristic ends.

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