Friday, June 11, 2010
Tomorrow is the 12th of June (22 Khordâd / خرداد), thus a full year since the presidential election last year that led to so many protests and so much attention online. Though Persian isn't my main focus I always make sure to spend a bit of time with the language every day, and that usually means reading and listening to BBC Persian or a Mohsen Sazegara video as he has continued to release them daily. Today's video:
The date is also significant in that a new round of sanctions has passed the UN Security Council, including the support of Russia and China. The Obama administration has been especially impressive on the diplomatic front with these two countries, and the warming relations between the US and Russia has been especially aggravating for Ahmadinejad who has recently been somewhat bitter towards Russia for delayed nuclear power plants, missile shipments, etc.
On the other hand, it's still sad that the vast majority of news about Iran has been about the nuclear issue and little else. After a certain amount of more varied coverage after the elections things have settled down to the previous norm, and the debate one sees on sites like Reddit has also become quite simplistic, with false dichotomies involving the following two sides:
Side 1 (the bad guys): the US as a whole (or neoconservatism), Israel, US allies, oil interests, etc.
Side 2 (the good guys by default): Palestine, Israel, Turkey, etc. etc.
For a period of a few months after the election though there was a bit more depth to the comments on Iran, where many realized that you really don't have to choose between multinational oil companies and Ahmadinejad, or Netanyahu and Hamas. So the continued coverage on the nuclear issue alone has sadly brought dumbed down the coverage on Iran.
As for the sanctions themselves, NIAC is opposed to them as they thought the fuel swap deal was a good thing. They were in favour of limited sanctions that did nothing to harm average citizens in Iran, but not the new sanctions.
As for protests today, that's anyone's guess. There are a lot of plans but the last large planned demonstrations were vastly outnumbered by security and it's impossible to say what will happen until the day arrives. One thing is for sure though: while the Iranian government is capable of suppressing demonstrations there will eventually be another presidential election (in three years, plus legislative elections a year before that of course) and if the status quo continues until then turnout will certainly be extremely low as voters will be in no mood to be used again to claim that the incumbent has been elected with a landslide.
Anyway, keep an eye on Iran-related news tomorrow. In the meantime read this piece featuring an interview with Shirin Ebadi.