I don’t have any more idea than anyone else what’s happening in Iran. (Note to news media: please do a better job of covering this!) People who know a lot more than I do are convinced the election was stolen. (Gary Sick, Suzanne Maloney, Juan Cole, a source of Steve Clemons’.) Gordon Robison lays out three possible scenarios: first, the existing government stole the election; third, Ahmedinejad actually won, and second:
“There has been a coup. Ahmedinejad and the security services have taken over. The Supreme Leader has been preserved as a figurehead, but the structures of clerical rule have effectively been gutted and are being replaced by a National Security State. Reports that facebook, twitter, text messaging and foreign TV broadcasts have been blocked, that foreign journalists are being expelled and that large concrete roadblocks (the kind that require a crane to move) have appeared in front of the Interior Ministry all feed a sense that what we are now seeing was pre-planned. Underlying this is the theory that Ahmedinejad and the people around him represent a new generation of Iranian leadership. He and his colleagues were young revolutionaries in 1979. Now in their 50s they have built careers inside the Revolutionary Guard and the other security services. They may be committed to the Islamic Republic as a concept, but they are not part of its clerical aristocracy and are now moving to push the clerics into an essentially ceremonial role. This theory in particular seems to be gaining credibility rapidly among professional Iran-watchers outside of the country.”
This seems to me the worst of all the possibilities. I hope it isn’t true.
Of all the coverage I’ve read, this bit broke my heart:
“They tricked us into this whole thing. They got us out in droves, only to fool us and credit themselves,” one woman watching the clashes said, unable to hold back her tears.
“I even got five of my family members who had not voted since the revolution to come out and vote,” she sobbed. “Shame on me!”
And this made me angry:
“America today has a great opportunity to make trouble for a hostile government while at the same time potentially lending an opportunity for freedom to its oppressed people. We should use whatever resources are at our disposal to make the best of that chance.”
I’m glad we now have a President who is capable of deftness and subtlety, and of understanding why “making trouble” would be the worst possible thing to do. And I hope that the woman I quoted above has the chance to have her vote counted as soon as possible, and that no election ever makes her cry again.