Interpretations of the results are forming into two camps, broadly-
- Red corner- Ahmadinejad did win, middle class reporting misses the working class & religious support for him
- Blue corner- Or, Mousavi won and there’s a huge fraud licensed from the top.
In the Red corner-
Pulse: Abbas Barzegar believes Ahmedinejad won the election fair and square, and that Iranian and Western commentators indulge in wishful thinking when they find this incredible. ”Observers,” he writes, ”would do us a favour by taking a deeper look into Iranian society, giving us a more accurate picture of the very organic religious structures of the country, and dispensing with the narrative of liberal inevitability.”
Newsweek: Chris Dickey- It appears that the working classes and the rural poor—the people who do not much look or act or talk like us—voted overwhelmingly for the scruffy, scrappy president who looks and acts and talks more or less like them.
In the Blue Corner-
Informed Comment: Juan Cole- Some comentators have suggested that the reason Western reporters were shocked when Ahmadinejad won was that they are based in opulent North Tehran, whereas the farmers and workers of Iran, the majority, are enthusiastic for Ahmadinejad. That is, we fell victim once again to upper middle class reporting and expectations in a working class country of the global south. While such dynamics may have existed, this analysis is flawed in the case of Iran because it pays too much attention to class and material factors and not enough to Iranian culture wars.
Mondoweiss: Safavi-Naeini- Back to Iran, on June 13th, Khamenei, without agreeing to meet with Mousavi, Karroubi and Rafsanjani, validated the election results, essentially removing all legal ways by which the results may be disputed. He did this the very next day. Usually he takes 3 days, to insure there are no irregularities.
It is good to peruse the Angry Arab’s Western Primer on Elections in Developing Countries at the same time though the results were just very odd. What is for sure is AIPAC painted Mousavi as a bad guy when it thought he would win just as much as they paint Ahmadinejad as Lead Amalek. HOPoI concludes neither are much good although Ahmadinejad is going to make life more difficult for the overwhelmingly young nation that finds the moralising demagoguery he resorts to a massive constraint on their lives, (especially with the Revolutionary Guard having such social power)…
“The disapointment and disorientation of people in Iran that I’ve spoken to is unmistakable,” said Parsi. “Khamenei, most experts agree, is addicted to the perception of legitimacy for himself and the system. But this coup does away with any chances for such legitimacy.
“Which then raises the question,” Parsi continued, “Is he too under pressure from circles in the [Revolutionary] Guard?”
I think it’s entirely possible everyone is right, our media can/does favour middle class environs, and it is also likely authoritarians will not respect peoples’ votes.