Thursday, June 25, 2009

Alireza Doostdar writing from Tehran, in Al-Ahram
Western coverage of the political turmoil in Iran in the aftermath of the 12 June presidential election has for the most part presented a uniform image of the conflict: thousands of young, liberal, and defiant supporters of presidential challenger Mir-Hussein Mousavi have been protesting against what they see as massive fraud, a "coup" to re-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The government, fearful of a popular uprising, has responded with massive use of force, killing and injuring protesters, arresting activists and politicians, and imposing an information blockade.

Analysts repeatedly ask themselves and others, "Is this a revolution?" And, more expectantly, "Are we witnessing the end of the Islamic Republic?" Whatever we are to make of the question of fraud (there apparently were some irregularities, but no evidence of widespread fraud), Ahmadinejad retains a huge popular base that is not prepared to forfeit its position. Rather than viewing the events of the past 12 days as signs of a revolution-in-the-making, we should be examining them, along with the months of campaigning leading up to the election, as indicators of a deepening social and cultural rift that is dividing Iranian society, and will leave a lasting impression no matter how the current crisis is resolved.

And (again) Flynt Leverett.

Links from M. Monalisa Gharavi (South/South) on twitter

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