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Iran - what next?

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I was going to start a similar thread. Will Iran go the way of the Ukraine, Kenya or Burma?

It's hard to say if it was fixed since apperently there were no pre-election polls. Apperently the challenger's base was in the cities and Ahmadijad's was in the countryside so it is not surprising a majority of people in Tehran and Tabriz etc back Mousavi.

This article makes a good case the fix was in


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That's the problem in this case. It's quite possible that it was rigged, and it's just as possible that it was fair election and people don't like the result!

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For 10 years Iran has been experiencing reformist movements, however it was never at such a dramatic extent.

They have always been supressed by the conservatives whose majority is now questionable.

What is behind that change is actually a good old fashioned economic feud rather than individual rights and freedoms.

In order to comprehend the motives behind the crisis, it is better to look at country's economic system.

The state of Iran has so long been perceived as a "father" by its citizens.

The effect of the state on economics has been huge and a kind of welfare state has always been

a preferred policy choice for decision makers. This kind of social net -albeit flawed- is a significant glue

for the islamic revolution. Thanks to remarkable amount of natural resources, whatever happens, "the father"

would protect his family.Nevertheless, today father does not earn as expected.

High resource prices would have been a useful compensation for Iran's economy if their yields had not been spent

for military purposes such as uranium enrichment. Ahmedinejad's government did not take necessary steps

to patch up the achilles' heels of the economy.This was the time when reformists raised their voices against

their oppression regime and called their leader a dictator.

Nevertheless the opposition would not have had such a substantial effect if they had not been supported by

Iran's economic elite. This elite oftenly called as the "Bazaar", backs the opposition movement for several reasons.

For one, they want more economic freedom for freer commercial ties -even if not entirely free-.

Secondly, the crisis hit this bourgeois hard. They do not have a free market economy and strong economic

ties with the rest of the world and thus their flexibility before the financial crisis is very much limited.

You can easily find some of them among the protesters in the streets of Tahran today.

Lastly, economic woes force people to join the opponents' lines.

In these days, being a protester is profitable. Iran struggles to deal with government official pensions,

let alone fulfill its obligations as a "father".

Oppression on economic relations would cause individual freedoms to be stricted, which would give a great opportunity

for other "revolutionists". And it is quite possible for Musavi to be as tyran as Ahmedinejad on individual freedoms

if he could have come into the office.

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Their gesture attracted worldwide comment and drew the attention of football fans to Iran’s political turmoil. Now their country has taken revenge by imposing life bans on players who sported green wristbands in a World Cup match in protest against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election.

According to the pro-government newspaper Iran, four players – Ali Karimi, 31, Mehdi Mahdavikia, 32, Hosein Ka’abi, 24, and Vahid Hashemian, 32 – have been “retired” from the sport after their gesture in last Wednesday’s match against South Korea in Seoul.

They were among six players who took to the field wearing wristbands in the colour of the defeated opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, which has been adopted by demonstrators who believe the 12 June election was stolen.

Most of the players obeyed instructions to remove the bands at half-time, but Mahdavikia wore his green captain’s armband for the entire match. The four are also said to have been banned from giving media interviews.

The fate of the other two players who wore the wristbands is unknown. None of the team members were given back their passports on returning to Tehran after the match, which ended in a 1-1 draw – a result that ended Iran’s hopes of qualifying for next year’s tournament.

Karimi is one of Iranian football’s bestknown stars, having played for the German club Bayern Munich. Ka’abi played for Leicester City for several months during the 2007-08 season. Hashemian and Mahdavikia play for the German teams Bochum and Eintracht Frankfurt.

The gesture embarrassed Iranian officials. The team’s chief administrative officer, Mansour Pourhiedari, initially claimed the wristbands had been intended as a religious tribute to a revered Shia figure in the hope that this would deliver a victory on the pitch.

Iran’s hardline media have since linked the protest to the arrest on Saturday of Mohsen Safayi Farahani, who headed the country’s football governing body under the former reformist president Mohammad Khatami. Hezbollah, a proAhmadinejad website, accused Farahani, a member of the pro-reform Islamic Iran Participation Front, of bribing the players to wear the symbols. Farahani was one of several prominent figures accused by Ahmadinejad of corruption during the recent election campaign.

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We still don't know if it was a fair election or not, but it really is a very poor reflection on the Iranian government.

Some experts on Iran have argued that there was some ballot-rigging but it did not change the overall result. The other point is that there was very little difference in policy between the different candidates. The important point is that the ruling elite have lost some of their authority. However, I suspect it will be some time before Iran gets a rational government. In my view, Obama has handled it just about right.

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