Author Topic: Iranian elections  (Read 4383 times)

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Offline Arbutus

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Iranian elections
« on: June 14, 2009, 10:51:22 pm »
This is the single most important thing happening in the world right now. You're forgiven if you haven't heard much about it, though, because the US mainstream media has done an atrocious job of covering this story.

On June 12, Iran held its presidential elections. The two main candidates were Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the current president and a hard-line Islamic fundamentalist, and Mir Hossein Mousavi, a reformist. After the polls closed, according to inside reports, it was almost immediately clear that Mousavi had won, and he was asked to start preparing a victory speech. Except then, the state-run media suddenly announced that President Ahmadinejad won in a landslide with two-thirds of the vote... and Mousavi and all the other main opposition members were put under arrest. (Mousavi himself was arrested for "running a red light.")

The Iranians-- who knew who and what they'd voted for-- flipped out, and there have been protests bordering on riots for the past two days straight. Things have been getting truly ugly, especially now that the government has begun to fight back. Right now, there are reports of troops with Kalashnikovs shooting up student dormitories in the middle of the night.

BBC report on protests: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcHT8-ps64w
Minute-by-minute coverage here: http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/

How do you think this will all play out? Who will win? What effect do you think it'll have on Iran's future and on its place in the world? How should the world, and the US, respond?

Offline Kobuk

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Re: Iranian elections
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2009, 11:55:27 pm »
About the only thing that concerns me when there is unrest in the Middle East is how it will affect oil supplies and gas prices. I suspect in the following days that gas prices will go up because of this unrest.
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Offline Narei Mooncatt

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Re: Iranian elections
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2009, 12:26:14 am »
I've seen bits of this on yahoo's news blurbs. I guess they country's text messaging systems went down around election too and was suspicious considering its timing. I also heard that the Iranian president actually has  little power compaired to a U.S. president, and that major decisions are made by the Sheik. So if Mahmoud wins, I doubt we'll see much of a difference. I know our government has come out believing Mousavi legitimately won. Considering Mahmoud already wants to see us wiped off the map, I don't think he can hate us even more. Plus, I suspect there's still enough loyal to him in government that Mousavi's life will be shortened if he was awarded the spot and replaced with Mahmoud or someone else with similar views. I just feel bad for the Iranian citizens for having things come to this.
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Offline Nicholai

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Re: Iranian elections
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2009, 04:00:17 pm »
As the saying goes: 'It's Not the People Who Vote that Count; It's the People Who Count the Votes'
The election reeks of sleaze, but now it's the protests that are making news. The government has declared the rally illegal, and according to MSNBC, authorized the use of live ammunition. Photos are coming in of the violence, like this, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31372577/displaymode/1176/rstry/31365097/ that confirm the pro-government's willingness to use deadly force. So far our government is taking a hands-off approach to  the election fraud, as it would be unwise to further upset Iran. This is all going to end in tears.  :P
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Offline Motor Mouth

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Re: Iranian elections
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2009, 08:21:57 pm »
The election has all of the signs of corruption. Especially troubling is that the government knocked out texting systems and social websites to try to block coverage from getting outside Iran and support from getting in.

Ahmadinejad is basically a tyrant, even though he has modernized Iran to an extent. Sadly I believe that Mahmoud will stay in power as the world is not about to go to war with Iran over a matter like this. No matter how much pressure Obama or the UN puts on him, he will still use the "results" to back up his claim.

However I was watching CNN and heard that the Guardian's Council, the top legislative branch that monitors polling places has received a grievance from Mousavi and that it will make a ruling in 10 days: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1244371101119&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Since this is ran by the Sheik instead of Ahmadinejad, then his influence might be limited on the numbers, but we can only hope for the best.
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Offline Arbutus

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Re: Iranian elections
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2009, 09:31:47 pm »
President Obama just released an official statement a few hours ago:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZErZx9JVS0

Short summary: Iranians have the right to pick their own leaders; having said that, he's troubled by the violence and clear signs of repression on the streets; US still can't say with 100% certainty what happened with the vote, because we weren't there; US commitment to "hard-headed diplomacy" will not change no matter what; "I cannot remain silent."

What do you think of that-- is the US responding in the right way? Should we be doing more, should we be keeping out of it altogether?

Personally, I was... more impressed by his statement than I expected to be. Obama had to walk an incredibly fine line here; he couldn't afford to let this go without saying anything, but on the other paw, he also couldn't afford to make it look like he was trying to influence the election himself. He didn't do either, but still made a forceful and substantive statement. I wish he would have been more explicit about his support for the protestors, but I suppose even that counts as "meddling" in some way.

Offline Nicholai

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Re: Iranian elections
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2009, 09:47:23 pm »
I think this is probably the best move Obama could hope to make. Of he didn't say anything, the government would look apathetic. On the other paw, (thank you for that phrase, Arbutus) if he was to critical of the Iranian government, he would hurt the potential for future diplomacy. Remember, Iran is not some small island nation with a megalomaniac dictator. They have a lot of influence and a lot of power, and they are not that stable. It's not worth antagonizing them, no matter who holds the moral high ground.
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