Ever since last Friday’s election in Iran and the announcement that President Ahmadinejad was the clear winner, rumours have been flying that the elections were rigged. Over the last four days since the announcement, demonstrations by Iranians who supported the opposition candidate, the comparatively ‘moderate’ Mir Hossein Mousavi, have been on the streets of Tehran in force setting light to buses, trucks and buildings and engaging in running street battles with the police that have resulted in the death of at least one demonstrator.
As yet, however, there has been no actual hard evidence of any vote tampering or irregularities though the Mullahs have authorised an investigation into the claims. The big question is; how does one ‘rig’ such a massive election? With over 39 million people casting votes, there are so many people involved in the tallying process that any fraud as massive as that being claimed by the opposition would have been spotted instantly by the election authorities and, more importantly, the thousands of volunteer and temporary staff that were working for them around the country on the day. There would have been no way that frauds that massive could have been kept quiet so, one wonders, why bother attempting it?
The Western media have made the most of the post-election turmoil in Iran having backed a Mousavi win in the hope of triggering a ‘regime change’ that would see a government more friendly toward the West and Israel come into power and possibly even overthrowing the Mullahs from their peak power positions or, at least, putting a severe dent in their power. Some Western mainstream media are now even pushing the idea of another ‘revolution’ in Iran.
However, while the opposition rallies and protest demonstrations are extremely well organised and are clearly not at all spontaneous as some have reported with placards and flags being well-designed and professionally mass produced and obviously aimed at a Western audience with many of the placards written in English as well as Farsi, all may well be not what it seems.
The Western media generally, after years of demonising Ahmadinejad, have little option but to support his slightly more moderate opposition, Mousavi. But how much more ‘moderate’ is he?
If the US and Israel think that Mousavi is going to be any the less supportive of Hamas and Hezbollah or more tolerant toward Zionism and Israeli aggression toward the Palestinian people than Ahmadinejad then they are in for rude awakening. Furthermore, Mousavi is as much a supporter of Iran’s nuclear program as Ahmadinejad is – and is as equally insistent that there is no Iranian nuclear weapons program. In short, from Iran’s foreign policy point of view there is no difference between the two. Their differences are in their domestic policies with Mousavi being a little more tolerant of women playing a greater part in the affairs of Iran.
The Mullah’s probably care little which of them become president, but, because the Mullah’s are promising an enquiry, some time has time has been bought which might well be enough to see the backlash against Ahmadinejad simply run out of steam.
There has been at least one death in the protests since the elections and the demonstrations have been massive but when weighed against the kind of violence India has every time it goes to the polls where hundreds routinely die in riots and demonstrations, Iran’s post election demonstrations and protests have been relatively tame.
The Mullah’s will continue to run Iran and either Ahmadinejad or Mousavi will help them. The regime will not change. It’s still on Israel’s agenda regardless of who gets up in the end.