Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Dilemma of Voting or Otherwise

Let me get this over with quickly, I am under no illusion and it will make no difference to people inside Iran whether Potkin Azarmehr thinks we should vote on Friday or otherwise. I have no influence on how people will decide inside Iran.

Personally I myself will not vote, for I have no idea who and how the polling stations in London will be supervised and the votes counted. I also doubt if the expat vote will make any impact on the outcome. What is important is to explain the predicament that people face inside Iran to the outside world.

Every four years our people are faced with a choice of voting for the bad or the worse. This time round, the choice of worse is really bad, it will be a disaster if Ahmadinejad becomes the president again. Those who decide to go to the polling stations are by no means in favour of the regime. They understand that an election in which candidates are vetoed by an unelected body is not fair. They understand that the real power is not in the hands of the president and he can change very little. Notice I didn't have to write he/she in the last sentence, for the vetoed presidential candidate has to be a man. He also has to be a Shiite Muslim, and he has to be a Shiite Muslim who accepts the rule by the Supreme Leader, and even then it is not enough, for in case this male Shiite Muslim loyal to the Supreme Leader has in the past been more critical of policies than is tolerated, he will also be disqualified. So no one with a reasonable amount of brain cells accepts that this is an inclusive or a fair election.

Those who are not in favour of the regime and still vote, do so because they simply want to breathe a little bit easier during their lifetime, they want to experience a slight improvement in the economy, they want to feel less worried that their daughter is not picked up by the morality patrols and taken to the police station with unpredictable dire consequences.

Those who advocate a boycott say by turning up at the polling stations we are giving legitimacy to the regime, we are helping the regime lobbyists to promote the regime as a democracy.

Of course the Islamic Republic lobbyists, the CASMIIs, the Haleh Afshars, the SWP and all the other puppets of the regime will do their best to exploit the public turnout and claim it as people's support for a legitimate regime and evidence of democracy in Iran. To combat such nonsense is the responsibility of expats like me.

High voter turnout or low voter turnout is not a reason for legitimacy or democracy or otherwise. Look at the low turnout for the European elections and the 99% turnout in Saddam's elections. Legitimacy of a regime stems not from turnout at the polling stations but from whether the regime suppresses its peoples, whether it provides a fair and free elections, whether it cares about the public opinion, whether it is accountable to its subjects and whether the public participate in running the country without prejudice regarding their ethnicity, religion or gender. Clearly on these basis the theocracy in Iran has no legitimacy, it is forced on the people of Iran and the minute that force is removed, the people will reject it.

For the reasons above, I think as expats who do not have to face the harsh realities of living in Iran, it is not our job to advocate a voter turnout or otherwise but explain the undemocratic nature of the election process in Iran and the predicament that the Iranian people face in choosing between the bad and the worse, to the outside world and make sure the regime puppets do not twist the 'elections' for their own pro-regime agendas.

This time round there are also other marked differences which have to be taken into consideration. Unlike four years ago, it is not a choice between the bad and the worse but between the bad and the very terrible worse and the second option is in power already.

The polls and other evidences suggest that the Moussavi camp have convinced the majority that only a vote for Moussavi will ensure putting a stop to Ahmadinejad. Most of those who are voting for Moussavi are not so much pro-Moussavi but they are casting an anti-Ahmadinejad vote.

The weeks leading up to the election day on Friday have also provided the public with rare opportunities of public gatherings and demonstrations. Topics which until now were considered taboo in the Islamic Republic, like the massacre of political prisoners in 1988 and the 'cultural revolution' have surfaced beyond the control of the authorities, because of the courage of the activists inside Iran.

The live televised debates between the candidates has been a total condemnation of the Islamic Republic in its entirety, where millions of people have watched the approved candidates expose the level of corruption, nepotism and incompetence throughout the three decades of theocratic rule in Iran.

The spontaneous demonstrations in the aftermath of the televised debates are gathering momentum day by day and as the numbers grow, the more confident the people get in asking for their real demands which are beyond the jurisdictions of an Islamic Republic president.

This special atmosphere of opportunities and this momentum of public demos which is politicising the population and specially the young will not last forever however. The ideal situation on Friday, in my view, will be if Moussavi and Karrubi go to the second round. It will keep going this momentum of crowds pouring into the streets for another week and so much can happen in a week if large crowds are on the streets. It will also let people concentrate on real issues and on their real demands without the shadow of Ahmadienjad's re-election hanging over their heads.

But we must think beyond 12th June. We must be ready for all the possible outcomes on Friday. What if Ahmadinejad is re-appointed again through cheating and vote manipulation? What if Ahmadienjad and the Guards resort to a military coup? What if Moussavi wins and like Khatami disappoints the people and their expectations once again leading to another era of political apathy and hopelessness. Are we planning for these outcomes?


Anonymous said...

well said my friend.....

Anonymous said...

- There are just under 47m registered voters in Iran (odd since that's greater than the voting age population according to government stats - just ask Karrubi).

- There are about 2m Iranians living in the US and Europe (I thought more, but that's what I read this morning).

On a purely numerical basis, it strikes me that the expat vote, IF honestly counted, could make an impact.

Azarmehr said...

Believe me there is no way the regime will allow the expat vote decide the outcome.

The expats will never come and vote in their millions, many will not have teh right documentations, many will be far away from polling stations and many will not even know its election day in Iran

Winston said...

Ahmadinjihad's re-Selection will help speed up the fall of the regime. And as far as I see, he's gonna come out as the selected one. And by his re-selection, the regime will be on its path to a big grave.

Anonymous said...

Somehow I do not believe Ahmadi Khareh will come out of the horse box a second time.

If he was to be shoehorned in - they would not have allowed any -so called - heavy weights like Mosavie e Khamenie to stand against him with so much fanfares and TV propaganda.

ultimately - the deceived Iranians who will bother to go and vote should remember this famous quote -

"You are either for us or against us" ...

As the chief mullah in IRI has said - Which in turn he has learned from his chief supporters in the US - The BUSHES and Hajji Obama...

Anonymous said...

Ey IRAN - see what has been done to you NOW !



Isy said...

If say Mousavi becomes president, do you think there will be a change in Iran's policis towards the west (and especially Israel)?

Azarmehr said...

Strategic foreign policy decisions is outside the jurisdictions of the president as Moussavi himself said in his interview with Times online.

If the momentum that is on the streets continues however and teh crowds get larger and stronger, then the people pressure will become a factor.


Street crowds and mobs in general can easily be manipulated as we saw in 1979 debacle.
Aimless crowds are like sheep going to slaughter house....

Isy said...

The main reason I'm asking is because of the outcome in Lebanon. A "pro Western" government was elected and now there is consern that it will be legitamised by the West which will bring gains to Hizballah who are still strong (not to mention that Hariri said Lebanon would be the last to do peace with Israel). The thing is if a "moderate" president in Iran will be elected the West (esspecially USA) might stop the sanctions and start treating Iran as a partner without any change from Iran. I hope though that if a relativly more moderate president will be elected,there will be more freedoms in Iran which might make the NEXT elections in Iran better (just imagen in 40-80 years Iran will be "a beam of light" in the ME :) )


How governments that are created after a social upheaval and prevalence of all sorts of freedoms, take back those freedoms from the victorious people.


Azarmehr said...

Alliance for Democracy in Iran,

The video you have posted is by Nouri Ala, was he not himself one of the supporters and proponents of Khomeini in 1979?

Correct me if I am wrong but was he and his wife SHokooh Mirzadegi not Tudeh Party members? and now trying to be the Massoud and Maryam Rajavi of the pro-democracy movement? :))))


Yes - They where and they still are -
But - he is explaining these subjects / dilemmas in plain and understandable Farsi language -
In this respect - he is correct and maybe listening to his explanation might open some people's mind.
PS. I do not in any shape or form agree with everything that he has said or his general politics - he is anti Prince Reza Pahlavi - but I do not hold that against him when he talks sense.

Azarmehr said...

Well you and Reza Pahlavi and Tudeh Mr & Mrs. Ala can call yourself an alliance. Reza Pahlavi seems more interested in talking and wasting time with Tudeh types these days any way.

So you see at last your Alliance has 4 people in it! Hurray! :))


More bullshit from you ....

Anonymous said...

ahmagh-kun-goshad is definately going to get re-elected

barmakid said...

Did you here about the telephone poll taken of Iranians? It was done from another nation under the condition that no information (who and from where it was done) would be released besides the poll results. And according to the results, Ahmadinejad is handily ahead.

Bloomberg News:

"Some 58.6 percent of voters say they will cast their ballots in favor of Ahmadinejad while 21.9 percent will back Mousavi, according to a poll conducted for the government on May 3 and 4, state media reported. In a separate poll conducted mid May by Iran’s state-owned broadcaster, Mousavi led in Tehran, with 47 percent of the capital’s vote, while Ahmadinejad had 43 percent.

The polling methods and margin of error in each poll weren’t given."

If there is any merit to this poll, then this means there might not even be a run-off!!

It also means that this talk of "reappointment and re-selection" is unmerited. Just because you guys have this antiquated notion that daftare rahbar controls everything and that all Iranian politics are controlled doesn't mean its true. If you've noticed, Khamenei doesn't blow the political winds, he follows them.

I'm tired of every Iranian and their mother saying that "ina hamme mohre shatranj hastand va bla bla bla" when they haven't read a book or know anything about history but their own experiences.

Let's be real and stop regurgitating the same notions of the past 30 years.


p.s. Change is the only constant.

Azarmehr said...


Polls in Iran are bollocks. Iranian culture is alien to polls and Iranian people never tell how they really feel in the polls. Don't take much notice of them nor the books you read by the way.

Winston said...

Let's hope the regime appoints Ahmadinjihad again. I want the regime to fall sooner than later. Morons like mousavi will delay the collapse of this dead regime.

saggezard said...

My grossly generalized predictions: It's a toss up, if Ahmadinejad is reinstalled then collapse and Balcanization is possible, if Mousavi is installed then he would be the war president. Hell of a choice.

Hanif Leylabi said...

I agree with a lot of what you said.

The SWP does not, however, think Iran is democratic. Simply that it is not the dictatorship the west portrays it as and that this difference is something that needs to be highlighted as an aggressive western fpreign policy relies on the ignorance of demoestic populations.

Azarmehr said...

Hanif, you are alive??
I have just come across a piece by your CASMII mates/turncoats, it seems after three decades, these traitors have finally sensed the collpase of the Islamic Republic is near and can no longer defend it.

I will soon write a post about it. As for SWP not supporting the Islamic Republic I refer you to an SWP organised meeting at SOAS which I also attended and wrote about. It was filmed, editted to the liking of teh Islamic Republic and broadcast on it. If this isn't supporting the Islamic Republic, I don't know what is.

Also your party comrade, Ady Cousins, a complete wanker and an apology for a man was trying to shop me to the 'Fascist' British police :))))