Facts and Beyond

Both Ahmadinejad and Mousavi are moving to extremes


Facts and Beyond
by Hamid Karimianpour

The disputed Iranian election of June 12th returned Ahmadinejad to office with a huge margin of votes over his main rival, Mousavi. Given Ahmadinejad’s track record for the past four years, there is a fear that he may interpret his official victory as an unconditional mandate to continue business as usual contrary to the demands of the opposition: an opening up to the West, more freedom, cutting back on handouts, and more.

There is no hard evidence to either support or dismiss the official results. Recounting the votes will not resolve the dispute as a suspicion will always remain as to whether some of Mousavi’s votes were discarded. Rerunning the ballot vote has been ruled out by the ones holding the power. So there is no sure way to determine who truly won the election. However, we can say at least two things:

1) Anti-Ahmadinejad Protests

On one hand, the recent demonstrations proved that a large number of people are deeply discontent with the current government in Iran. Even if Ahmadinejad truly won the election, he has to address this dissatisfaction and make policy changes that unite the nation. If a president represents all the citizens, not only the ones who vote for him, then it is his duty to design policies that reflect the collective will of the people. The interests of the majority voters usually weigh heavier than the interests of the minority, but if there is a large minority who is very unhappy, then a president must find the middle ground politics that reconciles both parties. Whether Ahmadinejad is capable or willing to do so remains to be seen. The violent and indiscriminate crack down of peaceful demonstrations reinforces the impression that his authoritarian style will most likely go on.

2) Pro-Ahmadinejad Opinion Poll

On the other hand, an opinion poll taken three weeks before the election, published in Washington Post, discovered that Ahmadinejad at that time had a popular support well above other candidates. This poll has been criticized as unreliable as many of Ahmadinejad’s supporters may have shifted side over to Mousavi within the three weeks of campaigning prior to the voting. Also, about a third of the respondents had answered that they had not yet decided who to vote for at the time the poll was taken. There is a chance that a great majority of those voters who had not yet decided or those who switched side cast their ballots in favor of Mousavi on June 12th, making him the real winner.

However, the possibility according to the opinion poll that only three weeks before the election Ahmadinejad had a larger base of popular support than his opponents reveals that he was not perceived as a completely suppressive dictatorial figure by many Iranians. The poll demonstrates that up until three weeks before the voting a sizable portion of the population favored Ahmadinejad to run the office for four more years.

Furthermore, the argument that about a third of the respondents had not yet made a decision only three weeks prior to the ballot vote shows that Mousavi by no means was the obvious and unreserved people’s choice. At least up until the poll was taken this portion of the electorate did not have a clear-cut preference for Mousavi, even if they ended up selecting him in the end. In fact, only 14% supported Mousavi at that time according to this poll. Thus the opinion poll, although only a survey and not an actual and reliable vote, at least indicates that Ahmadinejad was not totally out of touch with the Iranian people. Some of Ahmadinejad’s policies must have been supported by many Iranians, even if on balance Mousavi truly won their votes.

The implication of this is that Mousavi too did not have an unconditional mandate to reform the government policies had he been sworn in as president. He too would have needed to find the middle ground politics in order not to alienate those who favored Ahmadinejad or some of Ahmadinejad’s policies. In the heat of the protests Mousavi seems to have been hailed as the savior who would have transformed Iran over night. Had he as president radically changed the policies of the government over night, he too might have faced the same degree of popular resentment, only from a different direction. But he could have changed government policies gradually by buying support over time. Whether he could or would have done so, we may never have the opportunity to witness. His track record, however, exhibits eight years of premiership in the Khomeini era; perhaps the most repressive period in the history of Iran.

As a concluding remark, if a middle ground is found to unite the people and reconcile the country’s internal and external interests, the collective will of the people is served regardless of whoever is in charge. But in my opinion neither of the two men has postured to do that.


Recently by Hamid KarimianpourCommentsDate
Which Road to Iran?
Apr 08, 2011
Democracy by Other Means
Apr 01, 2011
Do We Need a Second Fukushima Daiichai in Bushehr?
Mar 18, 2011
more from Hamid Karimianpour

Jaleho, I'm not sure what "media" you're talking about, but...

by Ostaad on

here in the US where I live, I don't see any media backtrack in any major media be it print or electronic. News about Iran is covered by so many media outlets that it is very hard characterize them saying anything specific.  Nothing wrong with wishihg the "media" would backtrack by announcing "how reasonable the re-election of Ahmadinejad is! Sorry budd, no one is saying that in the West, yet.

I have never considered Ahamdinejad's "win" to be "unbelievable". In fact I have always maintained it is even plausible.

It was the magnitude and the manner of the fraud that was the unbelievable part. Ahmadinejad "won" the last election exactly the same way, but by moderate margins that caused some short-lived uproar and waves of objections from the same Karubi and others. But the runoff and "reasonable" margins put Ahmadinejad in the president's seat but did not provoke the public's sense of outrage.

This time someone shorted the system and the whole regime is paying for it. The Western media would be sued for malpractice if it had not taken advantage of IRI's devastating missteps in magnifying a tiny fraud, like the last time, to a huge fraud for nothing. The irony is the Rahbar would still have gotten Ahmadinejad had they stuck to the tiny fraud. Why the big one??? Go figure.


defending basically Nothing! (KouroshS)

by Anonym7 (not verified) on

Kourosh_jAn, I had no illusion about the liberal or "liberal" camp (Karoubi included) as you can see in my before election comment 'liberal-haye dozd fanatic_haye nadorost' (//iranian.com/main/news/2009/06/09-2). I did however strongly believe in participation in election, and knowingly voted for the guy that I though was less bad than the others!



by jeromeco on

Each One of Us is A Very Precious Creation /There is no difference /We All Live Here Together on Our Shared Planet Earth & We Can Choose to offer Appropriate Love / Compassion / Generosity of Spirit / Wisdom & Understanding / and the quiet stillness of valid truth /There is no room across Our Shared Planet for Any Kind of Violence to Any Human Being /We Can Choose to hold hands together - All of Us – /We Are Each One of us Responsible for what We See & Hear on Our Streets /TV screens/Radios & Newspapers /When new choose not to help we bring into being other peoples’ Perspectives /When We Choose to Contribute Our Own Perspective We confront our own Unwillingness to take Personal Responsibility and we begin to leave that behind /We All Live Here on the Same Planet Together & We Have Our Chances to Choose Appropriate Love & Compassion alongside Wisdom & Courage /There is No Difference



Voices of Logic... My A...

by KouroshS on


 Obvious winner? How can you so shamelessly use that word, even when you know so many people lost their lives and were wounded and went to jail, Knowing that it was far from being obvious? Now, In iran That same incumbat has no reputation, credibility and nothing along those lines, And will have to use even more force than before to implement his policies. A dictator in action.


Ananymous 7

Thank you for showing your respect for your hamvatans in iran, those who did not like mr. ahmadinejad, by calling their voice "empty" and their actions as insanity. It is really interesting that i do the same thing, reading articles and talk to friends in iran, yet i come up with different results. Karoubi and mousavi are pretty much in the same camp,  sofor you who voted for karoubi, to "believe" that mousavi has been the manipulator, especially given that karoubi has been even more active than mousavi in continuations of the protests, it is a clear sign you were totally clueless and did know much about the person you were voting for. Yet, There you were, being The loudest defending basically Nothing.


Riots after Election were planned regardless of who would win

by wgm1919 on

The demonstrations and riots were planned by the so called "opposition" regardless of who would win. The same play would be performed if Ahmadinejad had lost. In that case, the so called Ahmadinjad "supporters' would do the same things that Mousavi's "supporters" did . Riot, burn, and destory. This was planned by the CIA-MI5-Mousad. The entire idea was to dis-stablalize, and discredit Iran. Israelis are against any relation between Iran and US. Therefore this would have played in their favor. Brits wanted to minimize and discredit Iran among arabists since Iranian government has become a symbole of freedom and democracy in the ME among the islamic countires' peoples (not governments). A trend that does not play in favor of US or the Brists. It was clear to all 3 that the plan may not work but worth trying. Regardless of the outcome (the ultimate goal was to overthrow the government in Iran), the trio had succeeded to demonize Iran in the ME and the world. The blood sucking zio-nasiz love that.

 This is my 5 cents.



Ahmadinejad won but... (to Ramtin)

by Anonym7 (not verified) on

Ramtin, although I voted for Karoubi, the more I read about the election and talk to friends in Iran, the more I believe that Ahmadinejad won and Mousavi wanted to manipulate the election. Having said all that, from a pragmatic perspective I believe Ahmadinejad should not ignore all the wishes of minority ... Iranian government at this point needs to heal the wounds created by this election,......., granted that Mousavi (or very likely some of his opportunist "supporters") are largely responsible for these wounds.


Ahmadinejad doesn't need to please anybody but the majority

by Ramtin (not verified) on

"Even if Ahmadinejad truly won the election, he has to address this dissatisfaction and make policy changes"

That goes against the whole point of having democratic elections. Candidates put their future policies forward that they will implement if they are elected and the people decide, and so they did. Ahmadinejad has a mandate to implement the policies he campaigned upon, that's the way the goes. No flip-flop or else he loses the support of the majority of Iran that re-elected him and agreed with his policies during the campaign. Those that voted Mousavi just didn't have the numbers and so they lost. Simple as that. They had better get their act together next time then and get more Ahmadinejad supporters on their side.


Brief, yet the best article

by Anonym7 (not verified) on

Very well said. Injecting some sanity into some insanely loud and empty noises.... the best article I have recently seen in iranian.com.


Finally, a realistic analysis

by wgm1919 on



As western media propaganda fades,

by Jaleho on

we hear more of the voices of logic as oppsoed to high emotions, thanks.

It will be nice (but now even comical) to watch the media backtrack from the flood of propaganda that it poured all over the place. Now, we will hear more and more from the American media also how reasonable the re-election of Ahmadinejad is! In Iran, an incumbent has always been re-elected, and Ahmadinejad with massive trips in the country, and populist policies, was an obvious winner with a large margin!!


If a president

by Anonymouse on

If a president represents all the citizens, not only the ones who vote for him, then it is his duty to design policies that reflect the collective will of the people. 

Did Bush W comply or did he dig his heels more in the ground?

There are numerous evidence of election fraud.  Has there never been election fraud in US?  Wasn't there something wrong in Chicago during JFK-Nixon election?

The most damning evidence is the huge turnout itself.  When people come out to vote in huge numbers do they come out to vote for the more conservative and extreme candidate?  What evidence is there of Iranians turning more extreme?  If it was a closer margin of say 50% it'd have been more acceptable.  They read 40 million manually handwritten written votes (not check-marked or electronic), in few hours.  Polls closed at around 10 PM and winner announced by 1 AM. 

He received about 9 million votes 4 years ago and 24 million 4 years later?  Has there been such a jump in any of US presidential elections?

Why a complete blockade of internet, media and cell phones immediately after announcing the winner?  Why sampling a recount and when your sample screams fraud, ignore the sample?

That opinion poll identified in Washington Post can be construed as funny.  One of Iranian national past time hobbies is to use telephones as a mean to amuse oneself when bored or bothering or otherwise socializing randomly with people on the phone.  They "randomly" selected people "nationwide".  I can only imagine who was on the other side and how his responses were "interpreted".  People in Iran "nationwide" have different accents and your interviewer can't even talk to them properly in one dialect (presumably Fars dialect from Tehran) much less ask "sophisticated questions"!  LOL

No one knows what's next.  Anything we say is pure speculation.  One thing is for sure, this election has put Iran on the news inside and outside Iran once again.  I get this nightmare like Bush W is running a 3rd term!

Everything is sacred.


even the freekin CIA had

by pirmard (not verified) on

even the freekin CIA had predicted Ahmadinejad as a winner.


Even Hitler has its apologist

by Beche BeeDeen (not verified) on

Even Hitler has its apologist like Ahmadinejad . Now Hamid K. is the apologist for the small time fascist Ahamadinejad.


A very fair and useful analysis

by Mehdi on

It is such a relief to read an article that is realistic and logical as opposed to the recent barrage of emotion-only articles. I think a great portion of people in Iran have reahced a point of maturity where they see the need for more freedom, democracy and modernization. But they are not exactly very clear on what they want and how things should progress from here. There is frustration with the system but no real solution has been offered. There is also still the huge rift between the mentality of people in Tehran and larger cities as opposed to people living in rural areas. I think greater freedom may be obtained by better defining restrictions. The call for freedom of press is not likely to gain any real support unless it is more precisely defined. Iran as a whole is not ready for a Western style full fledged democracy. But it is possible to move to the next level. I think Mousavi, instead of "leading" a rather aimless movement and instead of asking people to just refuse to give up, which is not clear what it means, should actually write up specific points and demands and should try to organize in such a way that his movement can survive as an ever present opposition. It takes a little time to change much. Nobody can do it overnight.


More Mousavi moves to extreme, the more he'll have my support

by Anonymous45446456 (not verified) on

I am all for him moving to the extreme of rejecting the whole crappy IRI thecratic system of government.