Archives For: Iran Election 2013

Green To Purple

Jun 15 2013 @ 9:37pm

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More tweets from the celebration in Iran, going into the wee hours:

Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency has a gallery up here. One from BBC Persia here. Mackey has been rounding up videos and tweets as well. Meanwhile, Thomas Erdbrink steps back (NYT):

[I]f the election, which electrified a nation that had lost faith in its electoral process, was a victory for reformers and the middle class, it also served the goals of the supreme leader, restoring at least a patina of legitimacy to the theocratic state, providing a safety valve for a public distressed by years of economic malaise and isolation, and returning a cleric to the presidency. Mr. Ahmadinejad was the first noncleric to hold the presidency, and often clashed with the religious order and its traditionalist allies.

The question for Western capitals is whether a more conciliatory approach can lead to substantive change in the conflict with Iran over its nuclear program. A willingness to talk does not mean a willingness to concede.

But this was no win for Khamenei either:

The election results put the supreme leader under pressure to allow changes to take place, or allow him to make the kind of changes that might be opposed by hard-liners if they controlled all the levers of power. For the supreme leader, a weak loyal president might be less threatening that Mr. Ahmadinejad, who over time alienated the ayatollah as he spread his own power throughout the bureaucracy. The ayatollah had exhorted Iranians to exercise their right to vote. Analysts are predicting at least some change. “There will be moderation in domestic and foreign policy under Mr. Rowhani,” said Saeed Laylaz, an economist and columnist close to the reformist current of thinking. “First we need to form a centrist and moderate government, reconcile domestic disputes, then he can make changes in our foreign policy,” said Mr. Laylaz, who, in a sign of confidence, agreed to be quoted by name.

Omid Memarian thinks the president-elect now has some debts to pay:

Rowhani could have never found much reception within the different layers of the society if two reformist and popular figures, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami, former Iranian presidents, had not supported him.

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Tweet Of The Day

Jun 15 2013 @ 5:38pm

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(Photo by Instagrammer nifashi)

Email Of The Day

Jun 15 2013 @ 2:16pm

An Iranian reader writes:

What happened in the last 72 hours of this campaign is one for history books. It was as if the sleeping beauty woke up at the last minute. Over 20 million Iranians have a voted for a guy who Screen Shot 2013-06-15 at 3.00.06 PMwas the last man standing. He is not a Mousavi, but he is the one they knew voting for would be interpreted as a message of disapproval for the Supreme Leader – a big “no”, if you will. The humiliating third place for Jalili, the chief nuclear negotiator, was also a direct rejection of the handling of the nuclear file and the foreign policy of the leader and AhamdiNejad.

Until three days ago, no one would have guessed that we could have a centrist/reformist president with the full backing of former presidents Khatami and Hashemi, who will make the freedom of Mousavi and Karoubi very likely, who will bring back the experienced technocrats into the management of the government and insert some sanity into our foreign policy and day-to-day managing of the economy. But here we are.

Rouhani needs the boost that Khatami never got from the West and the neocons. Flexibility, lifting of sanctions and ultimate normalization of relations will now directly help a president that has to fight the hardliners and the massive economic problems all at the same time. Let’s hope Washington realizes that and doesn’t listen to likes of Josh Block who is already attacking the newly elected president and saying he is not “moderate” by AIPAC’s standard. Those guys will miss AhmadiNejad. It won’t be easy to use Rouhani for fear mongering.

Iranians know hope.

(Photo by Instagrammer nene_negin)

Face Of The Day

Jun 15 2013 @ 1:52pm

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An Iranian woman holds her purple scarf, the campaign color of moderate presidential candidate Hassan Rowhani, as she celebrates along Valiasr street after he was elected as president on June 15, 2013, in the capital Tehran. Rowhani, the cleric who won Iran’s presidential election, has pledged to engage more with world powers in hopes of easing crippling economic sanctions. By Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images.

Dick Morris Award Nominee

Jun 15 2013 @ 1:15pm

“Mr. Rouhani, who has emerged as the default candidate of Iran’s reformists, will not be allowed to win,” – The Washington Post Editorial Board, June 12.

Award glossary here.

Iran Votes For Change: Tweet Reax

Jun 15 2013 @ 12:47pm

Iran Votes For Change: Blog Reax

Jun 15 2013 @ 12:07pm

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Among Juan Cole’s initial observations:

Those who believed that Khamenei would try to fix this election for Jalili as he is accused by the Green movement of doing four years ago were mistaken. Either the Leader feels that he has sufficient control of the country to risk a mildly reformist candidate like Hasan Rouhani winning, or the turmoil the country faced in 2009 chastened him and he decided to let the public blow off steam by giving him a president he isn’t entirely happy with.

Suzanne Maloney believes that Rouhani could improve relations with the West:

Today, despite the campaign antics, Rouhani is an ideal candidate to spearhead a new initiative to wrest Iran from its debilitating battle with the international community over the nuclear issue. His credentials for this assignment are clear: as a member of the religious class, he offers the prospect of clerical continuity; as a long-time consigliore of Khamenei, he harbors no intentions of pushing the constraints on the presidency; and as the author of Iran’s previous dabbling in nuclear concessions, he can be the fall guy, yet again, for a deal that the Leader wishes to disavow. Rouhani is tested and nothing if not pragmatic. Though his supporters have crashed the gates of theocratic restrictions on debate, Rouhani has remained mostly cautious in his own statements, his campaign embodying its slogan of prudence as well as hope.

Bob Dreyfuss is optimistic:

[A] former nuclear negotiator for Iran under President Khatami, and as President Rafsanjani’s top national security adviser before that, Rouhani will have a chance to “reset” relations with the United States. Just as important, the emergence of Rouhani as president of Iran gives President Obama a tremendous opportunity to re-start talks with Iran on a new basis, and the fact that Iran’s next president won’t be named Ahmadinejad means that all of the efforts by hawks, neoconservatives and the Israel Lobby to demonize Ahmadinejad are now for naught.

Before the election, NIAC’s Trita Parsi predicted what a Rouhani win would mean:

First, it’s not just about Rouhani; it’s about the personnel that would follow him into government and populate key ministries and institutions and reconfigure the political makeup of the regime’s decision-making table. When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power, within months he fired 80 of Iran’s most experienced ambassadors and foreign policy profiles. Many of these were Iran’s most pragmatic and competent foreign policy hands, often key players in Iran’s more conciliatory decisions, such as the collaboration with the United States in Afghanistan and the suspension of enrichment in 2004. They were replaced by inexperienced ideologues hired not for their capabilities but their loyalty to Mr. Ahmadinejad. A reversal of this trend can prove quite valuable.

Second, Mr. Rouhani and his entourage hold a different world view than those close to Mr. Ahmadinejad and the supreme leader. While still suspicious and distrustful of the West, and while still committed to Iran’s bottom line on the nuclear issue, the elite that associates with Mr. Rouhani does not see the world in Manichean black and white. The outside world may be seen as hostile, but common interests can still be found. Collaboration is still possible. Rather than emphasizing ideology and resistance, they pride themselves on being pragmatic and results-oriented (of course, within the context of the political spectrum of the Islamic republic).

Parsi believes both the West and Iran should now take this opportunity for a reset.

(Photo: An Iranian woman flashes the sign for victory as she holds a portrait of moderate presidential candidate Hassan Rowhani during celebrations for his victory in the Islamic Republic’s presidential elections in downtown Tehran on June 15, 2013. Iranian Interior Minister Mohammad Mostafa Najjar said Rowhani won outright with 18.6 million votes, or 50.68 percent. By Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran’s Election Surprise?

Jun 15 2013 @ 10:47am

Here are the voting results as of 5 pm Tehran time, as tracked by Ipos.me:

ipos-iranelection-results

With the votes still be counted, reformist-backed candidate Hassan Rouhani is currently winning yesterday’s election in a landslide. We’ll have reax soon but in the meantime here’s a selection of tweets following the news as the results trickled out over the past 12+ hours:

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Face Of The Day

Jun 14 2013 @ 7:04pm

IRAN-VOTE

An Iranian woman displays her ink-stained finger as she casts her vote in the first round of the presidential election at a polling station in Tehran on June 14, 2013. Iranians are voting to choose a new president in an election the reformists hope their sole candidate will win in the face of divided conservative ranks, four years after the disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. By Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images.

Iranian Election Update

Jun 14 2013 @ 5:05pm

Voting ended at 11 pm in Iran. Saeed Kamali Dehghan reports that a second round seems likely:

Election officials at Iran’s interior ministry were yet to announce final results but a high turnout after a last-minute excitement caused by the reformists’ endorsement of a moderate candidate boosted the chances of a second round next Friday. Hassan Rouhani, the moderate cleric backed by reformists and many opposition figures, and Tehran’s pragmatic mayor, Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf, looked likely to emerge on top, with the chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, thought to be the favourite candidate of the clerical establishment, falling behind.

He also points out:

In a strange paradox, the state is so keen during elections to showcase a country ostensibly united despite it differences that normal stringent rules do not apply. Thus a picture published by a conservative news agency showed a young woman with virtually no head-covering, her headscarf loosely tied at the back of her head. Iranian women voting abroad reported that they were able to vote without wearing the hijab despite normally strict rules imposed by embassies.

The BBC, meanwhile, complained that Iran had launched a new campaign of intimidation against staff working for its Persian service in London. Relatives of 15 journalists have been harassed, summoned for questioning and threatened.

Regardless of which candidate is ultimately declared the winner, Reza Aslan thinks we might end up missing Ahmadinejad and how extensively he took on Iran’s clerical establishment:

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Iranian Election Update

Jun 14 2013 @ 12:18pm

Karim Sadjadpour reads tea leaves:

Those who trust the integrity of the electoral process — an increasingly small group — foresee a run-off between Rowhani and Ghalibaf. Those who believe that Khamenei’s decision is paramount project Jalili as the obvious winner. And perhaps for the first time, Khamenei may see his interests in conflict with those of the Revolutionary Guards. If past is precedent, however, there’s one thing we do know: predicting anything about Iran’s opaque politics is a fool’s errand. And, having never progressed beyond college calculus I am no Nate Silverzadeh. But if there’s something that seems like a good bet, it’s that the Supreme Leader will remain supreme.

Shervin Malekzadeh offers an aerial view:

It is not lost on Rouhani’s supporters (nor on Rouhani himself) that some 34 years after the revolution and the consolidation of clerical authority in Iran, voters are turning to the sole cleric on the ballot for change. That Rouhani, a regime stalwart, the close companion of Khomeini, and the former head of Iran’s National Security Council today embodies the leading edge of reform speaks to the peculiarities of Iran’s democracy. The righteousness of the revolution is at stake, as it always is, during these elections. Iran seeks not only to stand against the United States, but to prove that its version of democracy, Islamic democracy, is the true version. Whether or not this impulse is sincere, the aspiration leaves the regime exposed to reinterpretations of what it means to be righteous, democratic, and Islamic. The creation of new narratives like Rouhani’s occurs because of pressure from the Iranian public. The hustle for votes means finding and accepting new ideas into the old folds of ideology. Outside of another revolution, which is unlikely to occur, this is a considerable accomplishment.

Live blogs covering today’s voting at the Guardian and Enduring America. Al Jazeera is polling the tweets. This week’s previous Dish on the election here and here.

Something Is Happening In Iran?

Jun 13 2013 @ 6:58pm

An Iranian reader writes in with an argument as to why the Green Movement should get out the vote tomorrow:

I’m trying to convince absolutely everyone I know to vote. I know there is a lot of discouragement and people think their vote won’t make any difference, but I think that’s the wrong mentality. First off, every one of the more than 20 million of us who voted for Mousavi in 2009 should be equally committed to voting again, as the reasons why we voted in 2009 remain just as important today: we don’t want our country in the hands of some clown who embarrasses us all, we still hate Khamenei, and we still want Iran to be free. We must think logically and keep trying in every way we can until we have finished what we started. The worst thing we can do is nothing.

Furthermore, if more than 20 million of us vote for a single candidate like [reformist Hassan] Rouhani, there is only one way the regime can win: to cheat ever bigger and dirtier than they did the last time. It’s unlikely that this is even possible as there isn’t as much solidarity in the regime as there was in 2009, nor are they as organized as they were then when the President was one of the candidates. Even Khamenei doesn’t seem like he has the energy or courage to pull off that big of a cheat. He says he’s not for any of the candidates; I think that means he’s afraid to say who he is for, in case they don’t end up winning.

Support may indeed be surging for Rowhani, who now has the backing of the reformists and centrists:

[Rouhani's campaign] received a boost on Tuesday when Mohammad Reza Aref, Khatami’s senior vice-president, bowed out of the race. Later in the day Rouhani received explicit endorsements from both Khatami and Rafsanjani. Of the popular mood swing that followed, the Tehran journalist said, “I never saw this coming. Everyone was so without hope and talking about not ever voting again, and this morning things have changed 180 degrees. It’s like someone put something in the water last night and this morning people are just different.” According to another source in Tehran, “The atmosphere just completely changed after Khatami and Hashemi put their support behind Rouhani. People are really excited. Wherever Rouhani speaks there’s a frenzy. Today in Mashhad it was like four years ago with the appearance of Mousavi.” [a video of that rally is embedded above]

Looking at the rest of the field, it still seems as though Tehran mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf is attracting significant support.  Meanwhile, Thomas Erdbrink notes (NYT) a major difference between 2009 and now:

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