General Question

Saturated_Brain's avatar

Exactly how justifiable is the international reaction towards the Iranian elections?

Asked by Saturated_Brain (5231 points ) June 22nd, 2009

Nowadays when anybody says anything about the Iranian elections, most people immediately think, “Vote fraud!” and “Tyranny!” but really… Is this really the case?

Mousavi believes that the elections were rigged, and that’s what he tells the world. And that’s what the young tech-savvy Iranians also tell the world. But why do we believe them so readily? Think about it… Ahmedinejad is very unpopular amongst the Western nations because he is very well-known for his Anti-Western views. Try to follow me here on this short theoretical journey here k?

He gets reelected. This leads to shock against the West because he is very much disliked by them. And we get mass global opinion against him. But wait, why should this be the case? Why should we have the world against Iran? Maybe because it’s the West which leads the world. And then we have Mousavi and his group of supporters who go and tell the world that the elections were rigged. And yet do you realise something? Everyone is contesting the election results, but nobody is contesting the allegations…

Furthermore, why do we find it so hard to believe that Ahmedinejad really won such a landslide victory? As was said a lot, Ahmedinejad still has a lot of support in Iran itself. Can’t these results simply be the representation of this support? And it seems like there’s a lot of dissent in Iran right? Well… 100000 supporters of Mousavi chanting and protesting in the streets of Tehran… Iran has a population of 70 million. That’s 0.14% of the population protesting visibly in Iran. Not very much when taken into the large context.

And we also have to look at who these supporters are. They are part of the 70% of the Iranian population under 30. They are tech-savvy and know how to use the internet. In fact, most of the news we have coming out of Iran would be that of the rioting uploaded by none other than the protesters themselves. And we are continuously bombarded by these images and videos. But what of the other millions of people? Remember, Ahmedinejad has a lot of support from other people, including those in the rural areas. They won’t be able to voice their support like these younger people are. Therefore, are the opinions we’re seeing really representative of the situation in Iran? I don’t think that there’s really enough evidence to prove so.

To be honest, I’m also finding myself doubting the results of the elections. But then after that I find myself doubting my doubts. After all, why are we so opposed to have another powerful player rising up who is anti-West? Why should everyone play their tune to that of the West? Doesn’t each individual nation have a right to their own foreign policy? Or even the right of developing nuclear weaponry (even though Iran is claiming that it’s for energy purposes)? The West has had its time in the sun, and as more and more countries rise in power, shouldn’t they get their time too? After all, what goes up must come down. People say that we need progressiveness in modern society. But when you take a step back, exactly how are we judging this social progress (there’s another fluther discussion taking place right now regarding that if you guys are interested in knowing)? Non-sharia rule? Yeah but… Isn’t that a Western idea of what progressiveness should be?

In my personal opinion, this whole subject is so loaded from all fronts that it’ll be impossible to really come up with a stance on all this. Especially when you consider the very foundations of what you believe in.

Of course, I would love to discuss this subject with anybody who is interested. Do you believe that the world should be acting the way it is towards the Iranian election results? Because to me there’s a lot of the story which isn’t told which makes taking sides slightly fallacious. I, for one, want to wait for more information before really passing judgment, although I realise that that may not be really possible given the current situation..

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20 Answers

phoenyx's avatar

Why I have a hard time believing the election results:

1. Musavi lost in his home town. That would be like Obama losing in Chicago, including landslide losses in the black areas of Chicago.
2. Karroubi somehow got less votes than number of people actively working on his campaign.
3. There was a huge turnout this election, which is usually bad news for the incumbent (in any democratic election).
4. Polling before the election showed it much closer between Mousavi and Ahmedinejad
5. They were somehow able to hand-count the votes much faster this election than they have in past elections, even though there was a much higher turnout this election.
etc.

I think there is sufficient evidence for fraud to justify their anger.

jfos's avatar

Opposition personnel were not permitted to overlook vote-counting process; process was finished within 1.5–2 hours (That’s a lot of votes in not a lot of time); Opposition candidates did not receive overwhelming support in their home area.

It’s not necessarily PROOF of fraud, but I think it’s evident.

tinyfaery's avatar

I don’t mean to be rude, but whether or not there was fraud in the Iranian election has nothing to do with you, or me, or anyone else with no direct connection to Iran. My biggest reaction to the events in Iran are dismay at the violence and a sense of hope for the future of the country.

And may I also add that if a fraudulent election can occur in America (Bush), it can happen anywhere.

Qingu's avatar

There are a lot of things going on in Iran that deserve outrage.

1. As @phoenyx showed, there are several very good reasons to conclude that the vote was rigged. Hastily rigged, even.

2. On the day of the election, the Iranian government shut down Facebook, text-messaging, and reformist web sites. Soon after, they shut down Twitter.

3. Ayatollah Khameini immediately claimed that the election represented “divine will” and has refused to even countenance the possibility that it was rigged. To anyone who agrees with #1, this invoking of religious authority to justify an obvious fraud ought to be anathema.

4. The violence. Yeah, the protesters burned down a Basij headquarters. But dozens of protesters have been killed. Hundreds or thousands have been beaten and abused. They’ve been abducted from their homes and schools at night. I’ve seen reports on Twitter claiming that a helicopter sprayed acid on crowds of protesters.

Basically, this has all the indications of a cruel and illegitimate regime using violence and dishonest propaganda to cling to power at any cost.

mammal's avatar

good question, the voting is suspicious, Iran should probably dispense with the democratic charade for the benefit of courting Western approval. America has proven just how evil Democracy can be, so the moral argument for Democracy per se is defunct. On a Personal note i don’t want to see another image of some exotic looking Iranian woman screaming for westernisation…it rankles, the world does not need another middle eastern state whoring itself to the west. Having said that, the mistreatment of women and homosexuals within that region is unacceptable, possibly exaggerated, possibly not.

Qingu's avatar

@mammal, how on earth has America proven “just how evil democracy can be”?

Yes, the Bush administration and its supporters used “democracy” and “freedom” as banal slogans to justify their immoral foreign policy misadventures. I fail to see how those misadventures actually reflect on the concept of democracy itself.

In other words, Bush and the neocons didn’t prove that democracy is bad. They proved that spreading democracy by force is bad. The moral argument for democracy still stands—or are you arguing that there is no moral reason for people to have control over their government?

mammal's avatar

@Qingu Iran is a revolutionary entity, it should continue to work toward that end, resisting the malicious influence of foreign superpowers, whilst working to improve the social conditions of it’s people, with or without democracy.

phoenyx's avatar

Iran had a democratic government from the Iranian Constitutional Revolution (1911) until the coup d’état in 1953. Post-revolution (1979) democracy wasn’t a “charade for the benefit of courting western approval.” Rather it was an attempt to create a democratic government that could not be overthrown by outsiders and could be controlled by the clerics.

Qingu's avatar

@mammal, I think the way the authority structure brought about by the Iranian revolution is dealing with this election and protests—fraud, lies, beatings, killings, pouring acid on citizens from helicopters—shows that democracy is clearly more in the interest of the “social conditions” of Iranians than that country’s current theocracy.

I’m curious as to why you feel democracy isn’t in the best interests of Iranians.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

@All.. Thanx a lot for the interesting view.. To be honest, I had never considered that angle (I’m admittedly not very clear as to how the whole voting process works). In which case it does make the case for election fraud that much more stronger.

phoenyx's avatar

Erratum: Iran wasn’t democratic the entire span 1911–1953. They had shahs in that time period as well.

mattbrowne's avatar

Very justified.

mammal's avatar

@Qingu Democracy is not always the appropriate system of government, just because it suits a certain privileged few, like yourself and me for example, doesn’t mean it would improve the lot of the majority. i’m amazed when you see what Democratic countries inflict upon so called pariah states, that people still hold Democracy in such high regard. Democracies are too easily hijacked by ruthlessly, greedy oligarchs.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

@mammal
True as that may be, but I get the impression that the Iranians are a rather capable bunch for democracy.

Qingu's avatar

@mammal, that’s a fallacy. The fact that there are problems with democracy, on its own, does not say anything about its relative merits with other systems of governments—you’ve failed to address the myriad problems involving totalitarian/authoritarian regimes. Your swipe about oligarchs applies equally, and probably moreso, in non-democratic states.

I will agree that successful democracies require a certain kind of infrastructure—a base level of education and communication among citizens. Not all countries have this infrastructure. So in that sense, democracy is not something that can simply be superimposed on any culture (let alone forced upon any culture). But to ignore the progress and increased standard of living in democratic countries compared to non-democratic countries seems willfully ignorant for the sake of being contrarian.

mammal's avatar

@Qingu a good dictator is infinitely preferable to a bad democracy and visa versa…try to think outside the box, would you have it that Iran erupt into a savage civil war, have you any concept of the suffering that would ensue, i mean the slightest comprehension?

tinyfaery's avatar

A good dictator? No such thing. I’m no proponent of democratic imperialism, but there is no way a dictator is preferable to being able to make choices for oneself. Seems to me like the people inside Iran want something/someone else, democracy even. Change rarely occurs when forced, but change can occur when the people decide “no more” and decide to promote change from within.

jfos's avatar

A successful revolution is usually executed with foreign aid. I doubt that the protesters in Iran can overcome the Supreme Leader, the President, the Revolutionary Guard, and the Baseej without arms, let alone without foreign assistance. Either someone is going to help, or the protests will be stifled. You can’t kill an idea, but you can kill the people supporting it…

SeventhSense's avatar

@mammal
would you have it that Iran erupt into a savage civil war
There are some things worth dying for.
Whether that be the right of a people to elect, it’s president, prime minister, representatives or parliament makes little difference. The representation either direct or indirect resultant from this is vastly superior in a modern world. An authoritarian regime whether it be self, military or divinely imposed exponentially increases the capacity for abuse by that ruler. Just look at the untold debt amassed by Haiti at various times under tyrannical rule. The debt incurred which did nothing to increase their lot but only lined the pockets of the likes of Duvalier and increased his power.

And furthermore if that president endangers the free world with his insanity he is no friend of the Persian people nor of their well being. Rebels without a cause or with an insane cause as the case here, is don’t even succeed in movies.
I do not think the West is going to stand for this much longer either. With the enrichment of uranium and Ahmedinejad’s professed anti-Israel sentiment it is clear that not unlike Sadaam his forethought is not as extensive as his posturing. The US knows that Israel will not hesitate to strike and “claims” that they would like to avoid this at all costs but know that something must be done. Israel should not have to be waiting for an inevitable strike from a very hostile neighbor. In the (NY Times) ‹(•¿•)› Obama’s challenge is addressed but here with language quite subdued. He is extending the status of Iran as a rogue nation and restates the idea of sanctions but now is speaking with China for “alternatives” to an Israeli strike to avoid anything that would disrupt the flow of oil. This in my estimation is only paving the way for large scale US/coalition attack. I think it may be inevitable. China is inching closer (Washington Post) ‹(•¿•)› with language supporting us. So we have troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and now we are thinking of adding some big guns, err rather “help build up the Kingdom’s Military defense” in Saudi Arabia- (NY Times) ‹(•¿•)›
But what is certainly clear is that the US is not giving up on this one and neither will Israel and time is running out.
Over all, one of the officials said, Mr. Gates reassured the Saudis of the American commitment “to trying to stitch together the architecture across the region” against Iranian aggression.
And stitch they will. Only thing is that these needles are quite large.

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