Iranian election roundup, 31 May 2009

Monday, June 01, 2009

Twelve days left.

The candidates:

Ahmadinejad (محمود احمدی نژاد, top left) - you all know him, he wants a second term
Rezaei (محسن رضایی, 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 (میر حسین موسوی, 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 (محدی کروبی, 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.
One thing to pay attention to besides news of the election itself is news about the issues that candidates are running on or have run on before, that is, on the overall atmosphere of the election and which issues can be best used for which candidate. Depending on the year the atmosphere of an election can be completely different, like in 2005 when running as a reformer in Iran was particularly painful considering there had been a reformer president for two terms with less results than hoped, and with Bush and Cheney in the White House (and Rumsfeld in the Defence Department) it was almost impossible to make the argument that conciliation with the US would be an easy thing to carry out.

That's why this piece of news might be important: it's about the opening up of additional talks with Cuba and the US on certain issues: migration, direct postal service, counterterrorism, drug interdiction, and hurricane relief efforts. Each one of these areas are also ones that Iran and the US could certainly benefit from (replace hurricane with earthquake - remember Bam), especially counterterrorism and drug interdiction, considering the hundreds of Iranian security personnel that die on the Iran-Afghanistan border each year. So this piece of news is important in that it shows a concrete example of how the new US administration is willing to work even with countries it has not yet re-established official relations with, which is exactly where Iran is as well. For an article on the same subject in Persian (to send to your friend in Iran), see here.

Other news:
Mousavi
Ahmadinejad
Karroubi
Rezaei

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