– IRAN’S POLL
Despite the good intentions of the USA President Barack Obama to shape a more tolerant world, with more space to negotiation and dialog rather then pressure, imposition and so called “soft power”, he already suffered two slaps in his face.
The first was the nuclear test carried out by North Korea, on Sunday 05/24/2009, and the escalation in the rhetoric since. The second was the 62% overwhelming victory of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran’s poll, on Friday 06/12/2009.
The real power in Iran is in the hands of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the religious supreme leader. All four candidates were approved by the religious leadership of Iran, committed themselves to the Iranian nuclear program and pledged loyalty to the religious leadership. Time and again during the campaign all candidates pledged to carry on with the nuclear project no matter what. Former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, the leading “reformist” candidate, was, when he was Prime Minister in the mid 80s’, the “Father” of the Iranian nuclear project who established the relations with the Pakistani Dr’Abdul-Kadir Khan, the former head of the Pakistani nuclear project (see – NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION). So the polls were not about the general direction of Iran but about the tactics and about economy.
Despite that the elections could be an indication to the content or discontent of the Iranian public from their leadership and whether Obama’s speech in Cairo, on 06/04/2009, gains some momentum in the minds and hearts of people in Iran and the Middle East.
There are few indications that the outcomes of the poll were, somehow, diverted. There was a huge turn out of the Iranian public to the polls. Such a turn out was always a clear indication of a desire for change. So was the case when Barack Obama was elected in USA, in 11/2008, or the last elections in Lebanon on 06/07/2009. The results were announced officially at about midnight, long before the count of votes ended. From midday a strict censorship was imposed on all foreign media and cell phone massages services was cut off in all Iran. It is reasonable to believe that the religious establishment did not want to risk another fiasco such as in Lebanon five days earlier (see – LEBANON 09 Elections). But, it must be said, there were also sporadic outbreaks of genuine joy when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was reelected and there is no conclusive evidence for a general large scale fraud of the poll’s results.
The Iranian poll already caused a chain of negative events in the Middle East. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blamed, in his victory speech, the foreign media and foreign interest of intervening in Iran’s internal affairs. The moderate former president Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, the chairman of the ‘Assembly of Experts’, is in charge of appointing the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution and monitoring his performance – resigned (see – WIND OF CHANGE). Syria, who has a “crucial role” in Middle Eastern peace process, as USA envoy George Mitchell described it on the day of the Iranian elections, said through its foreign minister, the relations between Iran and Syria are “unbreakable”. The Hamas, Hizbullah and other members of the IRANIAN COBWEBS hurried to congratulate Iran and is newly elected regime.
Despite the efforts of Obama’s administration to put the Israel-Palestinian conflict first, there is no doubt that the Iranian elections, the Iranian radicalization and the grip of the Iranian ultra orthodox religious establishment on the Iranian society, combined with the Iranian nuclear capacity is, by far, the main concern of all Arab regimes in the Middle East.
For a moment, after the elections in Lebanon, there was hope that Obama’s initiative is gaining momentum. Today, two days after the Iranian elections, it seems that Obama’s hand remains hanging in the air and his electrifying speech in Cairo, just 10 days ago, an almost irrelevant episode (see – Obamas Tour).