Sat 13 Jun 2009
Color Iran today in black; it is not yet ready for a greening. The smiling face of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in victory mode. What was thought would be a close election turned out to be a seeming mandate for the man who would make Iran a nuclear power. The people have spoken or have they? Critics contend that the voting was rigged, that counting was being done before the polls closed (they had been extended up to six hours in some places), that there were not enough ballots and that Ahmadinajad even beat his main challenger Moussavi in the latter’s home town of Tabriz, an unlikely scenario. No matter, the Supreme Cleric has spoken, and in Iran that is the true nature of democracy, a theocracy that tolerates a parliament.
So do not expect the recent friendly overtures of President Obama to go very far in the second term of Ahmadinejad, whose tainted victory brings to mind the Florida recount that promoted George Bush into the White House in 2000. Indeed, there is a case for renaming the returning President AhmadineBush. He is clearly one of the most polarizing presidents Iran has ever had, he relies on the votes of rural and the less educated, he has a loose tongue and he continues to dream his own version of history by denying the Jewish holocaust. That such a fool should one day have his finger on the button for a nuclear warhead is a scifi scenario that even the about to be released GI Joe film should be wary to scare us with.
The election may be over, but Iran’s woes are not. With a resounding 30% unemployment, a fragile oil-producing system, a relative lack of foreign investment and increasing concern over Iran’s support for terrorist groups in Iraq and Lebanon, it is doubtful that AhmadineBush can turn the country in the right direction. Perhaps one day an Iranian Obama, maybe even a Kurd or Turkoman, will ascend the Islamic Republic version of the Peacock Throne, but for the near future the readily expanding base of young Iranians has little to look forward to, except the latest bootleg video games.
Daniel Martin Varisco
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