During the Iranian uprising of 2009, the Dish continuously clashed with Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett, the most well-known skeptics of the Green Movement. The husband and wife team continue to blog at The Race for Iran, in addition to Flynt’s role as Penn State Professor of International Affairs and Hillary’s as Professorial Lecturer at American University and CEO of the political risk consultancy, Stratega. In a post last year on why the contested 2009 election still matters, they argued that “if anyone was out to steal the election, it was Mousavi, not Ahmadinejad”:
That is why Mousavi started alleging fraud even before the polls opened. And, contrary to Dubai 0249, it was Mousavi, not Ahmadinejad, who first declared victory on election day, while polls were still open, Iranians were still voting, and not a single ballot had actually been counted. If anyone was out to steal the election, it was Mousavi, not Ahmadinejad.
Mousavi failed in this enterprise. But he seems to have made a lasting impression on the thinking of those Westerners who are perpetually on the look-out for a Yeltsin-like figure who will catalyze the Islamic Republic’s transformation into a pro-Western, Israel-friendly secular democracy. Continued attachment to the myth of the stolen 2009 election matters, because it continues to keep the United States from coming to terms with the Islamic Republic as it is, not as so many Westerners fantasize it might be.
In another post, the Leveretts explore Ahmadinejad’s legacy on economic reform. Read more in their new book, Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran, which comes out tomorrow.