World View: Reform Candidate Rouhani Advances in Iran's Presidential Polls

World View: Reform Candidate Rouhani Advances in Iran's Presidential Polls

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Iran seeks to avoid repeat of humiliating 2009 election
  • Reform candidate Rouhani advances in Iran’s presidential polls
  • Prism revelation is already damaging national security
  • Syrian rebels changing strategy after disastrous Qusair loss

Iran seeks to avoid repeat of humiliating 2009 election

Reform candidate Hassan Rouhani (
Reform candidate Hassan Rouhani (

With voting in Iran’s presidential election set to begin on Friday,the leadership is seeking to avoid a repeat of the massiveanti-government protests and charges of election fraud that followedthe 2009 re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president. Thehardliners, led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, haveproclaiming the importance of everyone voting:

“Every vote that the people cast … is primarily avote of confidence for the Islamic Republic and for our electoralmechanism.”

Everyone realizes that this campaign is something of a joke, becausethe real humiliation for Iran was the massive bloody violence thatfollowed the election, when the police and the Revolutionary Guardsstarted torturing, mutilating and slaughtering peaceful protesters. Infact, for over two years Iran has been the psychopathic Basharal-Assad conduct the same kind of campaign on steroids in Syria.

So nobody doubts that the Islamic Republic is a failure when it has tokill, torture and mutilate peaceful protesters, and that the AyatollahAli Khamenei is a fool for claiming otherwise. In fact, two reformcandidates from the 2009 election, Mir Hussein Mousavi and MehdiKarroubi, are still under arrest. They are symbols of the massivefailure of the Islamic Republic.

Iran is in a generational Awakening era, like America in the1960s-70s, when there were massive anti-government protests and somepolice violence against them, though nowhere near the scale of theviolence in Iran. Like America in the 1960s, there is a “generationgap” today in Iran, pitting the hardline survivors of the 1979 GreatIslamic Revolution and the subsequent Iran/Iraq war versus the youngergenerations that grew up after the war. These generationalconfrontations usually end up with a climactic victory by the youngergeneration since, after all, the old generation dies off. (InAmerica, the climactic victor was the resignation of President RichardNixon in 1974.)

The voting campaign presents a dilemma for younger voters in Iran, whoare torn between on the one hand protesting against leadership byboycotting the vote, and on the other hand voting for the reformcandidate Hassan Rouhani, and hoping he’ll win.

As I described in “23-May-13 World View — Iran’s Supreme Leader tries to defeat the younger generation”, Khamenei has already arranged to disqualify theleading reformist candidates, but that strategy could conceivablybackfire, as now there’s only one reformist candidate left. CS Monitor and Foreign Policy

Reform candidate Rouhani advances in Iran’s presidential polls

On Friday, voters in Iran’s presidential election will have a choiceof five hardline candidates, and only one who is considered “centrist”or “reformist.” It’s a question just how reformist he is, since he’sa cleric who’s close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Buthe’s become very popular with young Iranians, and he’s particularlycritical of the economic policies of the last eight years.

All the other reformist candidates have been eliminated. Last monthKhamenei arranged to have former president Ali Akbar HashemiRafsanjani, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei disqualified. Then earlier this week another reformist candidate,Mohammad Reza Aref, announced that he was withdrawing from the race,in order to avoid drawing votes away from Rouhani.

So with all these other candidates eliminated, Rouhani’s poll resultshave surged, while all the hardline votes are split among the fiveremaining candidates. Rouhani is still unlikely to win the election,but victory by Rouhani would be a victory for the younger generation,and a defeat for Khamenei. Al Monitor and BBC

Prism revelation is already damaging national security

The traitorous act of Edward Snowden in revealing the top secret Prismprogram is already damaging national security. Jihadist and terroristweb sites are prominently displaying the information exposed bySnowden, and are instructing terrorists how to use alternatecommunications channels that can’t be trace by the NSA. Jihadists arerecommending that terrorists use Linux rather than Windows, and areproviding technical information on protecting jihadist information.Previous revelations of top secrets include the admission ofresponsibility for the Stuxnet virus that slows Iran’s nuclearprogram, and the Obama administration’s bragging revelation of thedetails of the death of Osama bin Laden. All of these revelationshave damaged America’s security. Bill Gertz / Free Beacon

Syrian rebels changing strategy after disastrous Qusair loss

Last week’s stunning victory by the Syrian army combined withHezbollah in Qusair is threatening to give the regime of Syria’spresident Bashar al-Assad a victory in the civil war, now in its thirdyear. The regime’s firepower was overwhelming, and the regime’sforces adopted a new technique: They used heavy weapons to level rowafter row of building, essentially leveling the entire town, providingno cover for the rebels. Thousands of rebel fighters and civilianswere killed in Qusair, and only a few hundred escaped, fleeing indesperation. It’s now clear that the rebels are close to defeat, andwill have to develop a new strategy. One activist is calling forgreater use of suicide bombings in Alawite neighborhoods, where thecivilians typically are strong supporters of al-Assad. “We shouldtake the battles to the heart of Alawite neighborhoods,” he said.Daily Star (Beirut)

Permanent web link to this article
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail