Saturday, June 13, 2009

Iranian Elections cont.

The National Iranian American Council is live-blogging the situation in Iran, and providing helpful translations of twitter accounts.

A photo from Shahram Sharif on flikr.

My two cents:

It is hard to tell from this remove, but clearly many in Iran believe that the election has been tampered with. There is talk of a coup ... but it would be in this sense: that the Constitution of Iran has been overturned, but the power structure that allegedly has replaced it remains an open question.

The Leader of the Revolution [LOTR] has endorsed the results, which is, at least on the surface odd, given that the LOTR derives his legitimacy from the Constitution. (In fact, he is supposed to derive it both from the process outlined in the Constitution and his impeccable Islamic credentials, but as a matter of fact Ayatollah Khamenei does not have particularly strong credentials as a world-class Shia cleric. So, in fact, he only derives his legitimacy from the process outlined in the Constitution ... the rest is just power politics.)

So, why would the LOTR endorse the results of an election which appears to contravene the provisions in the Constitution which call for democratic election of a President from a slate of candidates chosen by committees whose members themselves are mostly selected by the LOTR himself? It's a good question and I don't pretend to know the answer.

It may be that the folks in charge now are a loose coalition of hard right paramilitaries, essentially the Revolutionary Guard led, at least figuratively, by Ahmadinejad. But that seems too pat an answer for Iran ... cause if it was true of Russia, it is true of Iran, that it is an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, surrounded by mystery. The political process over there is opaque, and appears to have just become more so.

But folks over there are saying they haven't seen forces like this unleashed since the 1979 revolution. If that's true, the forces behind Ahmadinejad's selection may not be able to control the situation. (Iran is not Tehran; Tehran is to Iran as New York City is to the US. And a primary locus of the 1978-9 revolution was ... Tehran.) We shall see.

The BBC has footage of violent clashes in Tehran.

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