Iran does it again! [Archives:2005/854/Opinion]

June 27 2005

When Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani completed his twice won terms of office as President of Iran eight years ago, there were many in Iran who wanted him to continue. In fact a movement was almost arranged to change the Constitution to allow him to run for a third consecutive turn. But Mr. Rafsanjani shut the door in front of all these efforts and insisted that the Constitution shall be diligently applied. He probably could have run after President Mohammed Khatemi's first term, but again he thought there was wisdom in allowing Mohammed Khatemi to continue pursuing his reform agenda and again did not run for office. Mr. Rafsanjani is well known for his astute pragmatism and his success as a private individual and a politician.

This time Mr. Rafsanjani went into the race for the Presidency, but very late and he was probably the last candidate to declare his nomination. This may again indicate that perhaps Mr. Rafsanjani did not so much enter the race with a full fledged desire to actually seek it but to influence the race so as to ensure that Iran chooses the most capable candidate possible among the many that were there.

The Western press categorizes Iranian politicians as hardliners and reformists (We never get such categorization in western political polemics; there we have right wingers and left wingers). But in reality, this does not depict a thorough understanding of the Iranian political psyche nor an objective assessment of the Iranian Revolution as a successful Islamic concoction as an egalitarian movement that deserves recognition.

That the people of Iran were fully behind the revolution that overthrew the tyrannical and oppressive regime of Shah Mohamed Pahlawi is still something the West, in particular the United States is not willing to accept as a factor in gauging the pros and cons of the current regime. Moreover, that the Iranians are a highly politicized people and have a fairly good idea of what they want from their government, without waiting from signals from Washington, must be weighed in determining how relations with Iran are to be consummated. The Europeans may have a better feel for the situation in Iran than Washington does. The mentor for the Iran policy in Washington is Israel and the highly influential Zionist lobby in the United States. Washington could never be expected to have a favorable attitude towards Iran. Israel would simply fight that with all the political arm twisting and false propaganda that MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute, AIPAC (America Israel Public Affairs Committee, which is also a spying and intelligence liaison for Israel in the US) and the hundreds of other organizations that are promoting Israel's interests in the US could come up with on Iran.

The Iranian voters sought to confirm that they vote on the strength of the candidates in upholding the principles upon which the Iranian Revolution was based on. So the fact that a dedicated Iranian Revolutionary was the winner should not be surprising to anyone familiar with the Iranian scene. They have no reason to placate anyone by voting in reformers, because they have already tried reformers and they felt them to be unsuccessful in reflecting the reforms that would set out to increase the egalitarianism called for by the Iranian Revolution. In other words, the Iranians felt that the situation in Iran was veering away too much from the fundamental social issues the Revolution came to address. People like Ahmedienjad, the new President of Iran, revived the Revolutionary spirit in Iran by reminding the Iranians of the stand of the Revolution on many issues which neither the reformists nor the conservatives have fully put in place. Social justice to the Iranians is part and parcel of the Iranian Revolution and it is time that someone who has demonstrated his belief in such issues takes the helm.

Whether it was a reformer or a conservative at the helms now in Iran, what is significant is that the choice was decisively made by eh people freely and democratically, notwithstanding efforts to indicate that there was some finagling here and there by some of the supporters of this candidate or that candidate. Surely Rafsanjani would have been in a better position to influence the elections by illicit means than his opponent. He would have also been able to make a lot of noise, if he felt his opponent used any unorthodox means to assure his win.

The peaceful transfer of authority in Iran is a great achievement that the Iranians can now boast of enjoying. That in itself is worthy of respect and emulation by many of the other Islamic states that have a long way to go before turning over authority back to the citizens of their lands.