Iran: What fraud?
Published Jun 17, 2009 4:27 PM
The first thing to make clear about the Iranian election is that the U.S. and
other imperialist states have no right to intervene. The media here are now
filled with moralizing, even racist scolding of Iran over the election results.
Who are they to act so hoity-toity? Remember George W. Bush’s open theft
of the 2000 election in Florida?
And then there are the self-righteous European imperialists. Only 43 percent of
the people voted in the recent EU elections. Compared to that, Iran’s 82
percent vote makes it a vibrant capitalist democracy.
The second thing is that absolutely no evidence has been dredged up of
significant electoral fraud. Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s 62.6 percent
total is completely consistent with his 2005 vote total of 61.7 percent. It is
also consistent with the only election poll taken. Ken Ballen and Patrick
Doherty polled a thousand Iranians and predicted a two-to-one win for
Ahmadinejad. (Washington Post, June 15)
Given that the Iranian economy is continuing to grow, despite the world
capitalist contraction, it’s reasonable that a majority would vote for
The vote breakdown by neighborhood, as provided by the official election
authorities, is also consistent with political reality. Ahmadinejad lost in
Teheran City, a bourgeois stronghold. He was weakest in the wealthier northern
part of the capital. But he swept the rural areas and did well among the urban
All the Iranian candidates—and here we will discuss just the president
and his nearest rival, Mir Hossein Mousavi—are part of the Islamic
Republic’s ruling circle of politicians. It would be surprising if any
deviated far from generally acceptable politics in Iran. That means capitalist
economic development and projecting Iranian power in the region. And
maintaining some independence from the imperialists—not easy if your
economy is integrated with the world capitalist market.
Ahmadinejad is closely identified with militant support for the mass-based
resistance movements in Palestine and Lebanon, and also with the determined
public defense of Iran’s nuclear power program. With a high vote for him,
the Iranians thumb their noses at the imperialists. This also explains the
strong hostility from the U.S. ruling class.
In Iran, the reelected president is also considered a populist who will fight
for economic concessions to Iran’s poor—which explains his strong
popularity outside the middle-class and wealthy districts.
Mousavi was first seen as a reformer who might relax cultural and social
restrictions and give more leeway to organize for rights. He got some support
from women’s organizations, labor and even some progressive circles. By
the end of the campaign, however, Mousavi was obviously allied with the power
broker and former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, whom Ahmadinejad
defeated handily in the 2005 election.
All reports—even from anti-Ahmadinejad sources here—describe the
Mousavi-Rafsanjani followers as the wealthier, college-educated Iranians who
dwell in the cities.
Rafsanjani, who still holds a position of power in the regime, is identified
with the wealthiest sector of Iranian society, with privatizing industries,
with a more conciliatory approach to imperialism. Mousavi is now linked to him,
and it’s their grouping that the imperialists either want to win or want
to cause enough internal trouble to weaken the government. In the end, what the
imperialists want is to reverse the Iranian revolution and get back control
over its rich resources.
But 2009 is not 1953, when the CIA overthrew Prime Minister Mossadegh and
installed the Shah. The Iranian people have benefitted enormously from their
revolution and cannot easily be turned back.
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