Left or Right?

Mir Hussein MousaviIt’s been awhile since I’ve posted… Crazy busy at work… BUT, the man I’ve been focusing on has finally been recognized in the Washington Post, so I wanted to give extra analysis beyond the article.

While the article is enlightening, it makes the reader draw some conclusions I believe to be slightly off… What does that mean? Well, read it, then I’ll take pieces of it and inject insight.

OK, so immediately it begins by saying:

“…Ahmadinejad’s main opponent in the …presidential election said…”

Mousavi does have the strongest chance so far against Ahmadinejad, this is absolute. Karroubi, the earlier reformist candidate, believes this to be untrue, but Karoubi’s chances are the weakest.

But while it seems, through his acknowledgement by Khatami and his reform-minded policies, he will become the reformist parties’ best chance, he is not Khatami, nor is he wholly reformist.

His belief in the true principles of the Republic is evident in all of his stances taken since his premiership (’81-’89). In fact, he sits on the Expediency Council (which regulates disputes between the parliament (majlis) and the Guardian Council, a 12 member body directly, or indirectly, appointed by the Supreme Leader) and the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution (an organization tasked with overseeing the cultural portion of Iran’s truly cultural Revolution). He believes very much in the idea of the Islamic Republic and its Revolutionary ideals.

Yet, he does not take a hard-line stance, only tries to capture Ahmadinejad’s moderate conservative votes. This election, with Ahmadinejad and Mousavi as the principles cannot be seen as only a dichotomy between Left and Right, but as an election where a centrist-like figure is very intelligently maneuvering to counter some of Ahmadinejad’s conservative and poorer bases to steal votes from each side and balance the two.

There are more nuances to this candidate than there would be with Khatami vs. Ahmadinejad.

“Mousavi gave no indication that he would seek to change Iran’s foreign or nuclear policies, matters largely controlled by the country’s unelected supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and a National Security Council that includes dozens of political leaders.”

This is true, but again slightly misleading. He gave extensive indication of a desire for change in the Islamic Republic’s (IRI) foreign policy. He has mentioned over the last couple weeks that leaders must talk about Iran FIRST, then Gaza and Lebanon.

Also, in his press conference this week, as the article mentions further down, he says not only that the IRI cannot pass up this opportunity to engage with the US if they show signs of changing rather than continuing to display a ‘rogue’ attitude on the world stage.

This is very far from Ahmadinejad. In fact, his referencing the IRI’s outlaw image in the world is a direct attack at Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric that get disseminated to the world as Iran’s own further damaging Iran’s image.

In opposition to the article which points to possible differences, I believe Mousavi clearly states major shifts in foreign policy to counter the damage he believes Ahmadinejad has done to Iran’s image.

In fact, when the reporters brought up whether or not he would negotiate with the US he said, IF the US reaches out in a genuinely human way (referencing a demand by Imam Khomeini years ago), “certainly” (beh tour hatm) he would reach out.

So the author may be introducing Mousavi as sounding very liberal, and Khatami-like, which I think creates a false dichotomy between Mousavi and Ahmadinejad, but if you had questions about Mousavi, it’s a good article.

If you want to follow each major step, Press TV follows with great, short English articles to alert the different developments in the election. Check it out. Of course this website is regime sponsored, but it’s worth reading daily.

Other questions to think about before judging Mousavi’s chances:

  • What is his relationship with Supreme Leader Khamenei? They both held office together in the 80’s, Khamenei as president and Mousavi as prime minister, at one point having a very public dispute about constitutional powers in relation to their posts and which controls what.
  • How much do his sweeping proposals regarding more private media; less “Islamic” vice policing; and following the constitution more closely, rather than allowing peripheral power-centers influence important decisions, for instance, alienate the most conservative elements of the regime like the judiciary, basij, IRGC, etc?

Watch to see if his supporters get cracked down on up until and after official registration day (when the Guardian Council vets the candidates) to really see if he’s ‘regime approved’. It should be interesting.


~ by The Common Man on April 8, 2009.

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