Amir Hesami/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran flashed victory signs on Saturday in Qum, south of Tehran.

Not only are they aware of decades of western intervention in their affairs, the fact that thousands of US troops continue to battle forces in two of Iran’s neighbors makes Washington unwanted and detested. Why should they do anything to please it? Yet, in the minds of the US news media, it is Washington’s needs that dominate all discussion.

The above paragraph is key to the understanding of the Iranian election’s aftermath. Despite major attempts to discredit Ahmadinejad by the Mossad, the CIA and the Western Media, he won the election. They lost it!
Now they will have to learn to live with it.

The following seems to be a pretty accurate account of the situation…

The Iranian Election and a Hysterical Media

by Ron Jacobs

Here comes the hysteria and bold-faced lies. In the wake of the Iranian election, various commentators and so-called reporters in the United States are reacting as if the end of the world was at hand. Although nobody knows for certain and everyone only has the words of western press pundits and an angry candidate to go by, virtually every mainstream US news source is calling the re-election of Ahmadinejad the result of fraud. There has been no verification of this from any objective source, nor has there been any proof beyond the speculation of media folks who either want to create a story or are so convinced of what they believe to be the incumbent’s essentially evil nature that they can not comprehend his re-election. A good example of this is a story by Bill Keller in the New York Times. In that piece, Ahmadinejad was once again incorrectly called a Holocaust-denier and his support was put down as being comprised mostly of women hating peasants and civil servants who somehow benefited from his patronage. The liberal reformer Moussavi’s supporters were portrayed in a considerably more favorable light.

Completely missing from Keller’s piece and many other pieces in the US mainstream media (and liberal magazines like the Nation) is any genuine attempt to analyze both the class nature of the different candidate’s supporters and the role Washington plays in the media’s perception of Iranian politics. Keller’s most honest analytical statement in his entire piece: “Saturday was a day of smoldering anger, crushed hopes and punctured illusions, from the streets of Tehran to the policy centers of Western capitals.” Keller and his fellow journalists accept that the desires of Western capitals, especially Washington, should be important to Iranians. While this may certainly be the case among a small number of the intelligentsia and business community in Iran, the fact is that the West, especially Washington, is still not very popular among the Iranian masses. Not only are they aware of decades of western intervention in their affairs, the fact that thousands of US troops continue to battle forces in two of Iran’s neighbors makes Washington unwanted and detested. Why should they do anything to please it? Yet, in the minds of the US news media, it is Washington’s needs that dominate all discussion.

As for the class analysis. Rightly or wrongly, Ahmadinejad seems to appeal to the majority of peasants and workers in Iran. Just like Marat and the Jacobins appealed to the peasants and urban poor during the French revolution while Brissot and the Girondins appealed to the merchants and educated classes, Ahmadinejad’s support comes from those who need bread while Moussavi’s comes from those with plenty of bread and now want more civil liberties. While it is arguably true that Ahmadinejad’s policies have caused as many economic policies as they have solved, the fact remains that his supporters believe in his 2005 campaign call to bring the oil profits to the dinner table. Mr. Moussavi’s statements regarding the eventual reduction of commodity subsidies that benefit the poor may have hurt him in that demographic more than his supporters acknowledge. In a Washington Post article published the day before the election, it was noted (along with the fact that Ahmadinejad won the 2005 election with a “surprising” 62% of the vote) that his economic policies included the distribution of “loans, money and other help for local needs.” One of these programs involved providing insurance to women who make rugs in their homes and had been without insurance until Ahmadinejad came to power. Critics, including Moussavi, argue that his “free-spending policies have fueled inflation and squandered windfall petrodollars without reducing unemployment.” There are other elements at play here, including the fabled corruption of certain unelected leaders in Iran and the role the international economic crisis plays in each and every nation’s economy–a factor from which Iran is not immune. In addition, the particular nature of an Islamic economy that blends government and private business creates a constant conflict between those who would nationalize everything and those who would privatize it all.

In regards to what this means for relations between Washington and Tehran–they will continue down whatever path Mr. Obama wishes them to go. Tel Aviv, which criticized the election results, would not have changed its desire to quash Tehran no matter who won. Indeed, the fact that Ahmadinejad was re-elected makes it easier for Tel Aviv to continue demonizing the only genuine threat to its dominance of the region. The bottom line, however, is that the president of Iran really has no power in the course Iranian foreign policy takes. That power remains with the Council of Guardians and the legislature. Mr. Obama would do well to continue his attempts to negotiate without conditions. He would also be wise to end any covert activity against the Iranian government currently being conducted. The western media would do well to inform themselves on the real nature of Iranian politics and society instead of taking the viewpoint that what’s best for Washington is best for Tehran. Then again, that media should consider the non-Washington viewpoint in all of its international coverage.

For the left, the answer is clear. The situation in Iran has changed. The apparent popularity of Moussavi and other officially reocgnized reformers showed this before the election. The dispute over the truth of the election results proves this even further. However, neither Ahmadinejad or Moussavi represent a genuine move away from the power of the bazaar class and its appointed clerical council. The desire for more civil freedoms must be coordinated with the need for economic justice. Both of these aspirations seem to be currently at odds. It seems apparent that only a leftist movement is capable of bringing the two together in a nation divided between its cities and its countryside;its middle class and its workers and rural dwellers. This was the case prior to the takeover of the Iranian revolution by socially conservative religious forces in 1980 and it could be the case again.


The article by Bill Keller, mentioned above, can be read HERE


  1. Iain Yuile said,

    June 17, 2009 at 20:13

    Look, does anyone really have any doubts that Moussavi is Washington’s and
    Tel Aviv’s man? To be completely indpendent of Washington and the Zionist’s influence would be the exception, given today’s murky world politics.
    To my observation, Ahmadinejad has conducted himself in a gentlemanly and acceptably diplomatic manner, which is more than i can say for recent
    American, British, Israeli and now Canadian leaders. Whatever economic problems that need to be addressed in Iran, should be handled by Iranians,
    thankyou very much.

  2. brian said,

    June 17, 2009 at 22:29

    My letter to Dr Cynthia Boaz on the Unrest in Iran:
    Hello Dr Boaz
    I read your article on events in Iran :
    Where you write:
    ‘Since 2002, there have emerged a series of democracy movements in Iran, spearheaded primarily – though not exclusively – by university students and women. These people are for the most part technologically and strategically savvy, especially when compared to the hardliners and mullahs that make up the ancient regime in Iran. They have studied the nonviolent struggles in Chile, South Africa and Serbia. They understand the dynamics of civil resistance and the power of simply withdrawing individual complicity in oppression’

    What is happening on the streets of Iran is much more sophisticated than a convergence of “crowds.” It is a massive, nonviolent, civilian uprising that everyone (including Ahmadinejad and his supporters in the Guardian Council) – save most of the American mainstream media – seems to take seriously as a potential force for real change in Iran.

    Are you aware that there are other actors in this drama…only there presence is not so well known.The Centre for Non-violent Resistance has the this 2003 article on Iran:
    ‘The nonviolent script for Iran
    By Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall
    ‘Renewed student-led protests in Tehran should expedite the debate in Washington about Iran. Two questions are being asked: Can protests produce regime change, and what kind of external support would help?
    The history of civilian-based movements, like the one now gestating in Iran, shows that agitation in the streets is not enough to topple a government. If US assistance merely adds fuel to the existing fire, and internal opposition is not based on weakening the real sources of the regime’s power, neither will work.’

    ‘Cheerleading from Washington is not a policy. It makes Iranian protesters appear to be doing America’s bidding, and covert support for violent action would undercut their legitimacy. What’s needed is a more strategic resistance by the Iranian opposition, unified behind clear political goals, backed by broader civilian participation, using tactics that divide the clerics and their military defenders. The Iranian people have the drive, the intelligence, and the capability to make such a strategy work – and that is what the world’s democracies should assist’

    Michael Barker has written, in 2006:
    ‘However, a relative newcomer to the armoury of foreign policy elites – and the topic of this article – is the use of democracy itself as a tool of foreign policy. A tool which is arguably one of the most potent weapons in the war of ideas waged by policy elites against progressive activists. ‘
    Louis Proyect has an article (from2007) on Ackerman and Duvall:
    Where we learn:
    ‘Finally, there is evidence that Ackerman–along with George W. Bush and Columbia University president Lee Bollinger–views Iran as the grand prize:
    More recently Ackerman has stepped up his involvement. He worked with Bob Helvey to train IranianAmericans, many of whom worked for Reza Pahlavi, the son of the deposed shah. Azar Nafisi has introduced him to the Iranian human rights community. And the ICNC has made some preliminary contacts with the referendum movement–the most broad-based and promising of the opposition coalitions, uniting monarchists, communists, and Islamists behind a simple demand for a vote on the regime’s future. According to his friends, Ackerman and his circle have begun to kick around creative ideas for challenging the mullahs…’
    Need I say that this sort of behaviour is higjhly unethical! With several deaths now, the question is is his group behind the current unrest in Iran: dfeliberately goading dissatisified elements into undemocractic behaviour disguised as democtractic protests.
    Just imagine if a similar group in a foreign country was to do the same in the US: back ‘protests’ in the US against the Obama administration,using Colour Revolution techniques. You do know what a colour revolution is? Its about toppling a govt you don’t like and install one you do…Using non-violent techniques to goad the govt into a violent response…Gandhi and King must be turning in their graves.
    Please give this some thought…

  3. Boris said,

    June 18, 2009 at 00:53

    I was horrified when Iranian riot police were using batons against “peaceful” demonstrators. They should have used TASERS only like the police in a “free” “democratic” west!

  4. Nando said,

    June 18, 2009 at 04:33

    Here we go again … does this look, hear, smell and feel familiar?? How many times have we seen this before? A classic CIA/Western manufactured crisis, using internal dissidents and other anti-govt forces to oust an overwhelmingly elected govt … Just a few points to remember:

    1. A much greater percentage of Iranians voted in these elections than ever vote in the US elections … how can you possibly rig so many millions of votes? maybe if it was a close result, just ask GWBush

    2. Why did the opposition leader declare victory before the polls were even closed? Sounds very suspicious …

    3. Lets not mention the greatest ever electoral fraud and where that took place!

    4.Western media hang your heads in shame! you’re no longer journalists, just lakkies, peddlers of propaganda manufactured by others at another level for clear geopolitical purposes!

    5. Anyone with half a brain should know what this is all about: destroying the west’s (US, and EU) only main opposition or non compliant agent in the whole middle east region. It’s abou OIL, POWER, and MONEY!!!

    JOB WELL DONE CIA , MOSSAD, MI5 and other EU operatives … it continually astounds me how they keep getting away with it and everyone keeps buying it, especially the docile western media, which enjoying such wonderful freedoms, they really are the model for the whole world!!!!

  5. daniyal said,

    June 18, 2009 at 06:29

    Politicians in Iran have to win over the people to survive. Unlike the politicians of most other middle east countries who have been kept afloat with the might of the US behind it and can afford to rob and murder their subjects at will, the Iranians have to depend on thier voters. If the voters are unhappy then no one can save them.

    The other thing I noticed is that some years ago the Tajiks protested for democracy, more than a thousand people died but this very same US media and politcal big whigs did not show half the concern shown for the Iranians? Why this discrimination?

    What about the blitzkrieg in Gaza? If the Israelis have the right to kill a thousand plus Palestanians to safe guard their security, doesn’t Iran have the right to safe guard Irans security?

    Also the American outrage at the Iranian govts treatment of the protestors might have been well founded except for the fact that Gitmo and Abu-Ghuraib prisons which are filled with people who oppose American occupation. As long as these prisons and hundreds others are functional and as long as the US remains brutal occupiers they have absolutely no right to object to anything other nations do.

  6. karen said,

    June 18, 2009 at 15:26

    and where was the outrage when the bushies stole their elections?? when they found out ohio voting machines had bushy votes in them before they were even plugged in. its time to clean up your own backyard before criticizing others.

  7. karen said,

    June 18, 2009 at 15:32

    and brother jebs deciding state of florida that switched the ballot to confuse voters. guess they thought we forgot…I sure didnt~

  8. karen said,

    June 18, 2009 at 15:40

    why are moussavi protestor signs in english….hmmm~

  9. peter said,

    June 18, 2009 at 16:33

    you are right, nobody can talk about Iran in Persia everyone can speak english

  10. brian said,

    June 18, 2009 at 23:21

    The english signs are for the western media! DONT BE FOOLED:

  11. From Dhaka said,

    September 5, 2009 at 06:47

    Westerners should know,any idea of their democracy is a thousand times worse than Iran.Sure there may be too much barriers for the Supposingly Civil class in Iran. But the heart of the country,the normal people,whose goal is a free and well-lived life,have a good condition.And we all know,like most countries of Asia,the secret of power lies with the people in Iran.

  12. Hopeful said,

    October 25, 2009 at 03:29

    Iran is not Iraq, Ahmedinejjad is not Saddam and more importantly the relative strength of American and Israeli foreign policy is not as successful as they have been in the past. Most have caight onto their game and their limitations. Any rash action by either one will merely precipitate their own decline and demise. Let us hope cooler heads prevail.

%d bloggers like this: