« The Bastard Had It Coming. . .  | Main | Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. »

June 27, 2005

Iran's Elections: Give us that old-time religion?

Amir Taheri, the expatriate Iranian journalist, has an interesting column discussing the implications of last Friday's Iranian presidential election. His take on the election victory of the hard-line Mayor of Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, is that it was largely class-based, with Ahmedinejad (who's father was a blacksmith) soundly defeating the "mullah-cum-tycoon" Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani. Taheri believes that this election signals that Iran's "Supreme Guide," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has decided to turn his back on the reform-oriented middle class and focus on the regime's political base of the poor and the radical Revolutionary Guard.

Taheri's description of Iran's new President is sobering:

Ahmedinejad describes himself as a "fundamentalist" (usuli), has no qualms about asserting that there can be no democracy in Islam, rejects free-market economics and insists on "religious duties" rather than human rights. This clarity will, in the medium term, help the people of Iran understand the choices involved. They will learn that they can't have an Islamist system together with the goodies that the modern world offers in both material and spiritual terms.

"We do not want Friday-night Muslims," Ahmedinejad says. "We want round-the-clock, seven-days-and-nights-a-week Muslims."

Unlike Khatami, who was trying to hoodwink the Europeans over the Iranian nuclear project, Ahmedinejad openly says Iran has such a program, is proud of it, and that no one has the right to question Iran's right to develop whatever weapons it wants.

Interestingly, Taheri believes that it may be a good thing that Iran is coming out of the closet, as it were, as a genuinely revolutionary state unwilling to accept the legitimacy of the current international order. Without a reformist face to present to the West talking about normalizing Iran's international relationships, it will be harder for the European appeasers to keep their heads in the sand about Iran's nuclear weapons program.

The BBC also some good coverage of the Iranian elections, including this bare bones biography of new President Ahmadinejad.

June 27, 2005 at 07:19 AM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Iran's Elections: Give us that old-time religion?:


The comments to this entry are closed.