IRAN’S presidential election on June 14 will be neither free nor fair. The candidates on the ballot have been preselected in a politically motivated vetting process that has little purpose other than ensuring the election of a compliant president who will be loyal to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Regardless of the outcome of the vote, the most urgent challenge for both the next president and Ayatollah Khamenei will be to confront a rising tide of discontent resulting from a rapidly deteriorating economic situation.
The outside world is primarily focused on whether the election will signal a shift in the Iranian regime’s stand on the nuclear issue. But for the average Iranian the most important issue is the impact of this election on her pocketbook — especially for the hardworking masses, whose purchasing power has drastically decreased as they struggle to provide the most basic necessities for their families.
Iran’s industrial workers, teachers, nurses, government and service-sector employees have been hit hard. The profound mismanagement of the economy by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government, coupled with stringent international sanctions, has made these workers’ plight the most important aspect of Iran’s domestic politics. Continue reading →
(This story reports on the competition between Ahmadinejad-led and Mousavi-led forces for the mantle of “true followers of the Khomeini-led 1979 Iran revolution.” But vast sections of Iranian people remember the 1979 revolution as a far broader struggle, which was, at the end, repressed by the Islamic counter-revolution. And the resistance to the Islamic Republic has come from throughout society, and will continue to grow, because, as the saying goes, “where there is oppression, there follows resistance.”)
Ahmadinejad vs Mousavi--Not the whole picture
By Jay Deshmukh – TEHRAN
Iran’s hardline regime has crushed public protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s controversial re-election but 12 months on his rivals remain vocal in opposing his “cult” government.
Resorting to deadly violence and mass arrests, the authorities snuffed out the wave of huge street demonstrations that followed the announcement of the official results of the June 12 vote.
But opposition leaders continue to challenge the regime’s claim to be the true followers of the Islamic revolution which overthrew the Western-backed shah in 1979 and advocate a change of leadership and direction. Continue reading →