Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The battle of competing elites in Iran.

The picture you get from most coverage of events in Iran is of an election stolen by Ahmadinejad and of Mousavi as a reformer. However in the past Mousavi has been a very hard liner as shown in this excerpt from this article:

Who is Mir Hossein Mousavi, Ahmadinejad's main opponent in the election? He is an enigma wrapped in mystery. He impressed the Iranian youth and the urban middle class as a reformer and a modernist. Yet, as Iran's prime minister during 1981-89, Mousavi was an unvarnished hardliner. Evidently, what we have seen during his high-tech campaign is a vastly different Mousavi, as if he meticulously deconstructed and then reassembled himself.This was what Mousavi had to say in a 1981 interview about the 444-day hostage crisis when young Iranian revolutionaries kept American diplomats in custody: "It was the beginning of the second stage of our revolution. It was after this that we discovered our true Islamic identity. After this we felt the sense that we could look Western policy in the eye and analyze it the way they had been evaluating us for many years."Most likely, he had a hand in the creation of Hezbollah in Lebanon. Ali Akbar Mohtashami, Hezbollah's patron saint, served as his interior minister. He was involved in the Iran-Contra deal in 1985, which was a trade-off with the Ronald Reagan administration whereby the US would supply arms to Iran and as quid pro quo Tehran would facilitate the release of the Hezbollah-held American hostages in Beirut.

This is hardly the type of person the US would give their blessing to. Indeed Obama has said that no matter whether Mousavi or Ahmadinejad won, their policies would not be all that different and the US could have problems negotiating with either. However, the power behind
Mousavi is not really so much the protesters colorful as they may be and heroes of the western media. The power behind Mousavi is primarily the Shark, Rafsanjani and his motley crew of supporters including former prime minister Khatami:

Mousavi's electoral platform has been a curious mix of contradictory political lines and vested interests but united in one maniacal mission, namely, to seize the presidential levers of power in Iran. It brought together so-called reformists who support former president Mohammad Khatami and ultra-conservatives of the regime. Rafsanjani is the only politician in Iran who could have brought together such dissimilar factions. He assiduously worked hand-in-glove with Khatami towards this end.If we are to leave out the largely inconsequential "Gucci crowd" of north Tehran, who no doubt imparted a lot of color, verve and mirth to Mousavi's campaign, the hardcore of his political platform comprised powerful vested interests who were making a last-ditch attempt to grab power from the Khamenei-led regime. On the one hand, these interest groups were severely opposed to the economic policies under Ahmadinejad, which threatened their control of key sectors such as foreign trade, private education and agriculture.For those who do not know Iran better, suffice to say that the Rafsanjani family clan owns vast financial empires in Iran, including foreign trade, vast landholdings and the largest network of private universities in Iran. Known as Azad there are 300 branches spread over the country, they are not only money-spinners but could also press into Mousavi's election campaign an active cadre of student activists numbering some 3 million.


Western experts on Iran insist that Ahmadinejad had less support than the official results show. However, the only poll done by a Western organisation that had a transparent methodology showed that the official results were actually slightly less for Ahmedinejad than their poll had shown. The western press seizes upon the polls of Mousavi supporters. Those polls were so glowing that it was Mousavi who declared victory as the polls closed!
Again from this site:

More fundamentally, American “Iran experts” consistently underestimated Ahmadinejad’s base of support. Polling in Iran is notoriously difficult; most polls there are less than fully professional and, hence, produce results of questionable validity. But the one poll conducted before Friday’s election by a Western organization that was transparent about its methodology — a telephone poll carried out by the Washington-based Terror-Free Tomorrow from May 11 to 20 — found Ahmadinejad running 20 points ahead of Mousavi. This poll was conducted before the televised debates in which, as noted above, Ahmadinejad was perceived to have done well while Mousavi did poorly.American “Iran experts” assumed that “disastrous” economic conditions in Iran would undermine Ahmadinejad’s reelection prospects. But the International Monetary Fund projects that Iran’s economy will actually grow modestly this year (when the economies of most Gulf Arab states are in recession). A significant number of Iranians — including the religiously pious, lower-income groups, civil servants and pensioners — appear to believe that Ahmadinejad’s policies have benefited them.


Even the US and leftists in many other countries have endorsed the prevailing view in the US (actually western msm in general) that Ahmadinejad stole the electio. There is a link to the full poll report cited earlier in this excerpt:

Even the American left-wing has endorsed the US government’s propaganda. Writing in The Nation, Robert Dreyfuss presents the hysterical views of one Iranian dissident as if they are the definitive truth about “the illegitimate election,” terming it “a coup d’etat.”What is the source of the information for the US media and the American puppet states?Nothing but the assertions of the defeated candidate, the one America prefers.However, there is hard evidence to the contrary. An independent, objective poll was conducted in Iran by American pollsters prior to the election. The pollsters, Ken Ballen of the nonprofit Center for Public Opinion and Patrick Doherty of the nonprofit New America Foundation, describe their poll results in the June 15 Washington Post. The polling was funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and was conducted in Farsi “by a polling company whose work in the region for ABC News and the BBC has received an Emmy award.” - You can find their report hereThe poll results, the only real information we have at this time, indicate that the election results reflect the will of the Iranian voters. Among the extremely interesting information revealed by the poll is the following: “Many experts are claiming that the margin of victory of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the result of fraud or manipulation, but our nationwide public opinion survey of Iranians three weeks before the vote showed Ahmadinejad leading by a more than 2 to 1 margin -- greater than his actual apparent margin of victory in Friday's election.“While Western news reports from Tehran in the days leading up to the voting portrayed an Iranian public enthusiastic about Ahmadinejad's principal opponent, Mir Hossein Mousavi, our scientific sampling from across all 30 of Iran's provinces showed Ahmadinejad well ahead.“The breadth of Ahmadinejad's support was apparent in our pre-election survey. During the campaign, for instance, Mousavi emphasized his identity as an Azeri, the second-largest ethnic group in Iran after Persians, to woo Azeri voters. Our survey indicated, though, that Azeris favored Ahmadinejad by 2 to 1 over Mousavi“Much commentary has portrayed Iranian youth and the Internet as harbingers of change in this election. But our poll found that only a third of Iranians even have access to the Internet, while 18-to-24-year-olds comprised the strongest voting bloc for Ahmadinejad of all age groups.“The only demographic groups in which our survey found Mousavi leading or competitive with Ahmadinejad were university students and graduates, and the highest-income Iranians. When our poll was taken, almost a third of Iranians were also still undecided. Yet the baseline distributions we found then mirror the results reported by the Iranian authorities, indicating the possibility that the vote is not the product of widespread fraud.”There have been numerous news reports that the US government has implemented a program to destabilize Iran. There have been reports that the US government has financed bombings and assassinations within Iran. The US media treats these reports in a braggadocio manner as illustrations of the American Superpower’s ability to bring dissenting countries to heel, while some foreign media see these reports as evidence of the US government’s inherent immorality.


The aftermath of the Iran election has nothing to do with democracy but everything to do with people such as Rafsanjani and his coalition of collaborators attempting to steal the election from Ahmadinejad. While there may not be all that much difference between many of the policies of Ahmadinejad and Mousavi, it would seem clear that most Western leaders would like Ahmadinejad to be turfed out. Rafsanjani is more willing to deal with the West and is more liberal in economic policies than Ahmadinejad and his influence on Mousavi would be strong.

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