Iran election roundup, 26 May 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

There are now only seventeen days left until election day in Iran and the main election campaign is well underway, so there's a lot to write about.

Quick intro to the four candidates:

Ahmadinejad (top left) - you all know him, he wants a second term
Rezaei (bottom left) - he's a former commander of the Revolutionary Guard, and even more of a hardliner than Ahmadinejad. His role will be to take hardliner votes away from those disappointed in Ahmadinejad.
Mousavi (top right) - the other main contender, he was endorsed by former president Khatami and has reformist tendencies. He was prime minister in the 1980s.
Karroubi (bottom right) - reformist, and also the only cleric running for office. Says he'll support Mousavi in the second ballot if there is a runoff. It's also possible that he might drop out earlier to support Mousavi.

The first big news was the restoration of Facebook a day after being blocked. Ahmadinejad was put on the defensive after it was blocked over whether he had a role in it; he denied that, and a day later (or two days?) Facebook was back up. Looks like a blunder, since it accomplished nothing except to rile up online supporters.

The last presidential election in Iran was 2005, when the online population was 7.5 million; this has now grown to 23 million.

This article also mentions the obvious, that an election in Iran could bring an end to the stalemate between it and the US. It makes sense that the Obama administration has been waiting on any major changes in policy towards Iran given that the election was only four months after that in the US, and not only could any sudden moves completely shake up the election, but a new president could suddenly cancel previous agreements. Better to wait and see.

Article on using the internet in the election


Iran's Michelle Obama - Mousavi's wife is apparently the first wife to campaign with her husband in Iran and she's been receiving quite a bit of press as a result.
Former interior minister predicts landslide for Mousavi
New York Times article on large Mousavi rally in Tabriz

Mousavi's first tv ad:


Ahmadinejad wants to debate Obama at the UN
Iran: Senior cleric criticizes Ahmadinejad for “buying votes”
Mahdavi-Kani backs Ahmadinejad
Ahmadinejad rejects Western nuclear proposal


Rezaei says if elected his government would be able to stop Israel "in one strike"
(from a few days ago) Rezaei promises to pay housewives a salary if elected


Former vice-president prefers Karroubi's platform
Karroubi embodies liberal hopes in Iran


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