Is this Iran’s Tianamen?
Tehran’s restive urban class does not appear to be slowing down its outrage over what opposition supporters are terming a “Stolen Election.” Though without maintaining empirical evidence thus far, those opposed to the Ahmadinejad government here in the West are absolutely inclined to support such claims. Thousands of people, who mostly appear to be under thirty, continue to pour into the Iranian capital’s smog choked boulevards not for another so-called revolution, but to make their voices heard and their votes counted. It remains to be seen whether Tehran today will be more like Beijing in 1989 or Tehran in 1979. The Dear Supreme Leader, Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hoseyni Khamenei, has indicated that his divine assessment may in fact need to be reassessed. No small feat for a grand man so divine, Khamenei may be genuinely worried about his and his Qom-based epigones hold on a tiered absolute power. As his history has shown us all with Shah Reza Pahlavi, there are moments in time where one man cannot withstand the will of millions of dissatisfied, motivated people. No doubt the present dualist Qom-Tehran based power structure has not lost this irony. Though admitting such after three decades of moribund revolutionary rhetoric is akin to heresy in modern Iran. Ahmadinejad, though somewhat charismatic and often inadvertantly amusing on the global stage, has largely been an abject failure domestically. Iran’s power projection into Iraq and Afghanistan during the calamitous Bush wars has been nothing short of remarkable. But as Iran punches its green fist outward into its neighborhood, its economy has remained thoroughly stagnant even as oil prices soared at record highs. Minority unrest has continued to flare up in the country’s remote corners (purportedly egged on by the CIA according to the New Yorker’s Sy Hersh) with discontent has been simmering among elements of the Left, Center and Right.
The United States has been trying to promote democracy across the Middle East for years and here it is in all of its blood red and Islamic green glory. It scored a recent coup with the victory of the Hariri-led bloc in Beirut last week and Islamism is not dogmatically triumphant in the Middle East contrary to the group-think following the Hamas win in Gaza. The U.S. has boxed itself into a bit of a foreign policy corner and only the most deft of manouveres may speed its hoped for exit. The demonstrations have certainly created a conflict for Israeli hawks who love nothing more than another unequivocal Ahmadinejad win to justify their often aggressive rhetoric. A Mousavi government in Iran would throw the arithmetic of the Netanyahu-Lieberman coalition out of whack and force groups like AIPAC in Washington to reconfigure their hardened stance towards a boogieman vanquished not by a calculated air raid, but by internally driven democratic transition.
UPDATE: According to what the BBC is reporting from a statement by the Guardian Council will be conducting a vote recount. Power to the people? We will see…