Wake-up call for day-dreamers

Another four painful years against freedom in Iran


Wake-up call for day-dreamers
by Ben Madadi

We have just witnessed the passing of yet another defeat for the struggle for freedom in Iran, and yet another victory for a regime that is far too incompetent and far too unrepresentative for a progressive and prosperous Iran. Sixty percent or more of the Iranian electorate went to the polls, therefore tacitly approving the unfair electoral process that was cooked for them. The best way to deal with the elections was to boycott it, as so many, including myself, had suggested, and the vast majority of the Iranian electorate considered (for various reasons that I will try to deal with) otherwise.

It is worth noting that 60% is pretty much the figure that most Western democracies are happy to have for their elections. It is also worth noting that we can probably cut some 25% to 35% off that figure, as being somehow, or even directly, coerced. Government employees, from the army to the ordinary office workers, at banks, the educational system and other domains, are all openly subject to discrimination in case they do not go to the polls. However, we do not have a 25-35% participation rate but a much higher one. So, many others went to the polls too.

Who is at fault here? It is partially the fault of those who oppose the regime, who are incoherent and far more incompetent than the current Iranian rulers. It is ours, the opposing views of the regime's, fault in being unable to present a believable, popular and coherent counter-argument. However it is also true that the odds are in favour of the regime, because the regime has all the natural resources, including crude oil it sells to the same West it stands against, obtaining the material possibilities to directly bribe or intimidate a significant number of the electorate, and most of the Iranian media channels, TV, radio, and the written press, which are under direct or indirect control of the ruling clique.

It is a sad moment for Iran's progress and the fight for a free and democratic Iran. And we need to realise this sad reality. The opposition is too unrealistic and too fragmented, instead of focusing on a social agenda to awakening the ordinary Iranian people, it is far too preoccupied with dramatic, unpopular and unrealistic turnarounds, even revolts or regime-change. There would be nothing wrong in regime-change, but change to what? Don't you see that more than 60% of the Iranian electorate participate in the elections?

This must be a wake-up call for some of the day-dreaming opposition groups. The Iranian regime is very strong now. It has just secured the tacit backing of the majority of the Iranian electorate (we can call it the majority of the Iranian people, as the electorate represent most of the adult Iranian population) for another four long and painful years for freedom-lovers and human-rights activists, especially with oil prices above $100 a barrel.


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by Nadias on

"Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear."

              -Harry S Truman



Solh va Doosti (paz a vosotros)




Hooshi (not verified)

آقای امیر‌احمدی، با توجه به اینکه سفر تازه‌ای به ایران داشتید و نگاهی هم لابد از صحنه‌ای نزدیک‌تر به انتخابات؛ انتخابات را در ایران چطور دیدید؟متاسفانه در ایران انتخابات، هنوز خیلی جدی نیست. نه برای مردم، نه برای احزاب و نیروهای سیاسی مختلف. من فکر می‌کنم که انتخابات آزاد را باید یک پروژه ملی کرد. ولی متاسفانه در ایران، انتخابات یک پروژه ملی نیست. هنوز یک پروژه حزبی و گروهی و جناحی اینطور چیزها است.

Q: Mr. Amir-Ahmadi, considering that you just returned from Iran and witnessed the election, how would you describe the election in Iran?

*AMIR_AHMADI: Regretfully, Election in Iran, is still not serious; not for the people, not for the political parties, and not for diverse political forces. I think, free election should become a National Project; but regretfully, in Iran election is not a National Project. It is still a party-oriented, factional and a religious/political group project.

*HOOSHANG AMIRAHMADI holds a Ph.D. in planning and international development from Cornell University and is a professor of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Professor Amirahmadi has served as director of the University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies, as chair and graduate director of his department at the Bloustein School, and as the University Coordinator of the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program. He is the founder and president of the American Iranian Council (AIC) (//www.american-iranian.org/), a research and policy think-tank devoted to improving dialogue and understanding between the peoples of Iran and the United States. Dr. Amirahmadi is also a founder of the Center for Iranian Research and Analysis and served as its director for many years. He was a candidate for President in the Nine Presidential Elections in Iran in June 2005, but the conservative and religious Guardian Council disqualified him for his dual Iranian-American citizenship and democratic platform. Dr. Amirahmadi is also the president of Caspian Associates, Inc. (//www.caspian-associates.com/), an international strategic consulting firm headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey.



To Ben Madadi: Re: Filtering of candidates

by Ahmad Bahai (not verified) on

In your response to Asghar Geda below, you indicate that your objection in Iranian election was that in Iran not all candidates were not allowed to run and be voted on, and therefore that election is not acceptable (same excuse as the US government has!!!). I found the following article which tells you that in fact "filtering" of candidates is necessary and occurs in most democracies.
The filtering process for those who may run for a public office is different in different countires, but absolutely necessary. In US, the media sticks its fingers inside the behind of candiates (after FBI "background check" of course!!!) to even find out what they ate and when!!. We have seen this sort of filtering also in the current presidential elections in US where even the pastor of a church for which a candidate attended is an issue and fair game to disqualify (or try to disqualify) a candidate. In iran we don't have that kind of a system where filtering is done by "trustable" media (there is evidence that for example US government is spending money to plant stories in Iranian and Iraq's newspapers, an din general has bought their "editors"). Under these circumstances, we need to have someone look after background and lives of the individuals who want to hold public office, and perhaps will be exposed to secrets of our beloved nation. For example, recently a person with name Abbas Abdi who was supposedly a "reformist" candidate and was disqualified to run went on German Radio (Farsi program) to complain about his disqualification. If a disqualified candidate in US has done such a thing (interview with a foriegn government sponsored radio -- let alone a percieved enemy's radio) he would be turned into a "shish kebob", let alone be allowed to run for public office forever. However, what is fair and what is unfair and the biases in the filtering process, cannot be avoided in any system and in any election, one way or the other. Iran's filtering system is not perfect, but should be in place and should be improved.



Victory for Iran

by alimostofi on

Ben, basically the Basij and Seyyed bureaucrats voted.  No one else did.  Look at the figures for Tehran.  1.9 million out of 10 million.  Iran is a police state, and the members of the police voted for their Generals.  Simple.

But they all know that the people boycotted the selection process en-masse  That is worrying for them, and it is a victory for real Iranians.

Ali Mostofi



Ben Madadi

Re: Asghar Geda

by Ben Madadi on

I am sorry but 60% or more of American electorate usually votes, as they did during the last elections too. The illegitimacy of the Iranian election is not due to the turnout but due to the fact that they did not allow a huge number of candidates to run.


with your argument, US government is illegitimate

by Asghar Geda (not verified) on

Americans voted at the rate of about 20%-25% in the last election, and this number has been consistent over the last few elections (going back about 20 years). Does this low turnout in US mean that the current US government is illegitimate and ready to be overthrown?



هموطنان عزيز

Babak56 (not verified)

هموطنان عزيز

خواهشمنديم كه به رسانه هاي گروهي تائكيد كنيد كه اصلاح طلبي بين رقبا در خيمه شب بازي ملايان وجود ندارد

اصولگرايان فناتيك هاي اسلامي هستند و اصلاح گران دنباله رو ولايت فقيه و قانون اساسي اسلامي ملايان. يادتان نرود كه فعلا حتي رفسنجاني خودش را ميانه رو خطاب ميكند

باز هم يادتان نرود سركوب دانشجويان ,قتل هاي زنجيره ائي و دزدي چهار صد ميليارد دلا در زمان خاتمي و فرستادن آن به بانكهاي دوبي

هردو گروه طرفدار ولايت فقيه و جمهوري اسلامي هستند. ميانه رو به كسي تلقي ميشود كه خواهان جدائي دين از سياست ميباشد. الغا قانون اساسي اسلامي و حكومتي كه مردم به راي واقعي خود بخواهند بصورت دمكراتيك و مبني بر آزادي بيان

ميانه رو ها در ايران اكثريت مسخ شده ساكت هستند كه كمرشان زير بار فشار خم شده

خواهشمنديم كه اين واقعيت را به رسانه هاي گروهي گوشزد كنيد. چه خارجي و چه ايراني.



one out of 3

by IRANdokht on

30 yrs ago when people were screaming: "Esteghlaal, Azadi, Jomhoorieh Eslami" they didn't know it was meant as a multiple choice...

unfortunately it sounds like they picked the third one.

Unless the people of Iran decide that Esteghlaal and Aazadi is what they want, there will be no free elections.



The last Iranian election

by Babk56 (not verified) on

According to the Iranian Interior Ministry, the level of participation was about 65%-quite an exaggerated figure as the Iranian oppositional organizations and certain Western news agencies reported on voter desertion in the polling places.



There are no free elections in Iran

by Babk56 (not verified) on

They can fool the people of the world for so long. Every decent human being with a little brain knows that there are no free elections in Iran.


Something fishy about you!

by INCOGNITO (not verified) on

You mentioned:

"Don't you see that more than 60% of the Iranian electorate participate in the elections? ... The Iranian regime is very strong now. It has just secured the tacit backing of the majority of the Iranian electorate (we can call it the majority of the Iranian people)"

Who said 60% of the Iranian electorate participated?!!! Who has the tacit backing of the majority of the Iranian electorate?!! Do you honestly believe yourself or expect us to believe every bull the Mullah government controlled newspapers, radio and television report?! Why are you repeating their BS as facts? what are you trying to get at?!! What is your angle?!

Everybody with the least bit of intelligence can realize that something smells in your aticles BIG TIME! You make regime's sympathizers extremely happy!

Back in the Shah's time, in order to identify the Shah's opponents at the university campuses, those students (who were also undercover Savaki agents) were always the first ones who kept badmouthing the system, and anybody who sympathized with them , would be summoned the next day to Savak headquarters for questionning ... lol

p.s. No I have no faith in regime's opposition groups either.


We need to.....

by Kurdish Warrior (not verified) on

We will keep loosing every battle for democracy till the day when we all (oppositions) put our differences aside and stay united with one agenda and one voice against this theocratic regime.


Revolution my a...!

by Kamangir on

Did not they want 'esteghlal azadi va jomhoorie eslami'? so this is it. 3 decades and more to come.  Bokhoorid ta seer sheen!






by aaj sr (not verified) on

Latest figures from Shirz and Tehran shows that 29%-30% voted from these two cities respectedly, these are great low participants in this election and that shows the effect of boy cott. I wished we had similar none-participants everywhere.

Question: what would have happened if these numbers were still lower than these figures? would that made any difference?

Was it better if the none participants voted for reformists and enabled them to have bigger voice against foundamentalist in Malis?
At least reformists would have shown to Iranian and outsiders that foundamentalists are not in power any longer?

THE BOYCOTT WORKS WHEN majority are quitting, otherwise what is the point?

As you suggested there are many who somehow were forced to vote (teachers, government emplyees, etc), isn't it better if they were recommended/guided to vote for reformists? after all, their ID (shenasnameh) would have been stamped.
( I may get hate mail here for these comments, but we have to be realitic, and find solution. Prior to the election, I was advocating boy cott, now I am not sure any more)

How do we know if the votes were not rigged? while we know the reformists were kicked out as observers from the polling stations.

Ahmadi-nejad's strategy was to buy votes from small cities by travelling to too many places during last two years, giving them "goodies" and promising all type of things, he knows that he is not popular in bigger cities therefore he will do the same prior to Presidental election if he wants/permitted to run again.

It's evident that oppositions are fragmented even in very obvious important agenda where the unity of having one voice is absolutely crucial(vote or not and if yes, who to vote for).

We as oppositions must be united and have one voice where the important issues like electing parliamentarians, or presidental election are at stake while still we can remain in disagreement in other issues.

The regime is much stronger by controlling the entire media (from oil money and taxes paid by all citizen) and THE MOSQUES in rural areas, therefore there must be a system to counter their constant brainwashing and propagnada by nullifying their efforts while informing/educating them who to vote for or boycott it all together; knowing that majority of foundamentalist votes are coming from rural areas.

As long as we do not have the unity, and a proper agenda/system, (at least in major issues) we can not succeed.
Final note: Yes, we lost a battle but not the war.

Mort Gilani

Time Will Tell

by Mort Gilani on

Dear Mr. Madadi,

I agree with you that the election data and the news from Iran were disheartening.  But, let’s not lose optimism; the mullahs cannot govern.  Those welfare junkies who pin their hopes on mullahs and their likes will wake up to the nightmare that their share of oil money is zilch and there is no oil left.



I like your honesty

by Mehdi on

Honesty and realistic study is the first step to understanding and therefore becoming able to find a solution. Those "day-dreamers" will never make it. They will never do anything worthwhile. Because they are not in touch with realities and they do not understand what is going on. They only think they do. Their consistent record of failures tells us that they are missing something big time!