Sunday, June 14, 2009

Iran: What You See Is What You Get

From a westerner's perspective whose only expertize on Iran is finding it on a map, Friday's national election was a fraud. What else would you expect? When westerners apply U.S. standards for fair elections to a foreign country run by a theocracy, you're guilty of wishful thinking and probably smoking an illegal substance. Get over it. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed victory for a second four-year term and has the military and ruling clerics to back it up.

Opposition leaders are calling on Iran's Guardian Council to refuse to certify results and declare the election canceled. The final verdict rests in the hands of one man, the supreme ayatollah. To sway his opinion, protesters have rioted in the streets for two days with the predictable brutal response by police and military troops. Their goal is to create enough mayhem and chaos to force the mullahs to rethink their policies. Fat chance.

Based on what I've read, Iranians are not upset with the West's preoccupation of fear that Iran will develop nuclear capabilities but over basic economic conditions and runaway inflation. That is not always projected in Western media reports which at this moment are preoccupied by reporting the violence which Ahmadinejad compares to celebrations after a soccer match.

Another Western view which I abhor is carrying the impact of President Barack Obama's Cairo speech to unreal expectations fueled by Lebanon's recent election which brought in pro-U.S. factions to their government. The political and economic conditions in Lebanon versus Iran is like comparing apples with oranges.

Meanwhile, Obama remains insistent on opening dialogues with the Iranian regime. Progress in this area could turn in the West's favor on several conditions: 1) the post-election protests continue, 2) the U.S. and its allies lift economic sanctions, and 3) Iran agrees to allow inspectors to determine its nuclear plants are creating energy and not warheads.

I doubt that will happen. I hope I'm wrong.

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