Some interesting news coming out of Iran since Ahmadinejad’s surprising win yesterday.
The Grey Lady casts a lot of suspicion on the election results, describing voting anomalies and taking very seriously Mousavi’s claims of fraud.
And this description sounds just like Bush-Kerry 2004:
The emotional campaign was widely seen as a referendum on Mr. Ahmadinejad’s divisive policies. It pitted Mr. Moussavi, a former prime minister who has pledged to move Iran away from confrontation with the West, combat economic stagnation and expand women’s rights, against Mr. Ahmadinejad’s economic populism, social conservatism, and hard-line foreign policy. Many women, young people, intellectuals and members of the moderate clerical establishment backed Mr. Moussavi. Mr. Ahmadinejad drew passionate support from poor rural Iranians as well as conservatives.
Khameini made a point of not endorsing either candidate during the race, although he seemed more sympathetic to Ahmadinejad, and he has now given his blessing to the election results and discouraged protests. Nontheless, Mousavi is talking heavy:
“I personally strongly protest the many obvious violations and I’m warning I will not surrender to this dangerous charade. The result of such performance by some officials will jeopardise the pillars of the Islamic Republic and will establish tyranny.”
Al-Jazeera has this to say on Mousavi’s situation:
“He has been told by the country’s supreme leader that this is essentially the end of this election, and if he chooses to negate that command, he is laying down a challenge the like of which the Islamic Republic has reallly never seen before.”
Post-revolution Iran has certain scared cows, among them popular demonstrations and faith in its unique democratic system, and if Mousavi’s complaints continue to hold water or something improper is exposed in the election procedures, the popular outrage might be too much for Khameini’s words or Ahmadinejad’s storm troopers.
Related, 538.com published a piece on the maturation of Iranian democracy. Presidential races have tightened through the nineties, leading up to 2005’s run-off vote. This election seems to buck the trend, with the Ahmadinejad winning over 60% of the vote.