Sunday, June 14, 2009

An Election In Iran

The Iranian People went to the polls and re-elected Ahmadinejad by a landslide. Ahmadinejad? Are you kidding me? The 12th Imam Nut? The "wipe Israel off the face of the earth" nut? The nut who continues to tweak the US's big nose?

Yes, that Ahmadinejad. You see, we continue to view him through our own Western lens, and increasingly through the lens that Barack Obama has inserted across our national view. What we fail to see in all this is the great national pride the people of Iran have in this little twerp--and the great pan-Islamic pride he generates by being the guy who stands up to the U.S.

We look at the rioting in the streets and it nicely coincides with our narrative....which goes something like "the people of Iran want to be closer to the US, President Obama is making that happen, Ahmadinejad is in the way, therefore, the Iranian people must therefore be rising up against a rigged election."

I don't see it that way. I see this as an "urban elite vs. rural peasant" kinda thing. Are they rioting in the streets of the major cities? Sure. That's happening. But these city dwellers are likely to be more urbane, more internationalist, more like us...whereas the folks out in the hinterlands (remember, Iran is a BIG country) don't give a crap about better relations with the U.S. ....they care about populist, local issues and that's where Ahmadinejad gets his mojo.

Iran's going to be a stick in the mud for years to come and we're just going to have to get used to it.


Doc Milnamo said...

Are these "rural peasants" bitter people clinging to guns and religion?

Anonymous said...

actually Iran's cities hold over 70% of Iran's total population with Tehran possessing >11%. Also, Iran's population under the age of 30 is 80%...

The current regime came to power with very little popular support... and is losing ground rapidly.

My point, I agree that Iran is a big country, and will likely be a pain for US policy makers for years to come. However, i suggest we should not under value President Obama's impact on the Iranian youth.

Thus, i don't agree with your narrative.

The Conservative Wahoo said...

I take your point on the urbanization of Iran, and concede it. Perhaps it would have been better for me to make the split along university educated vs. non-educated lines.

Whatever the bifurcation, this editorial/story in the Washington Post seems to suggest Ahmadinajad's margin of victory was LESS than polling would have indicated three weeks ago.

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