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Iran’s Vote: Understanding the U.S. Response PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 15 June 2009 20:37

Al Waref Staff Analysis

Despite the dire situation of reformers protesting in Tehran's streets, the current U.S. neutral approach to the issue might be exactly the correct one.


Since Iran's presidential elections results were announced on Friday, there has been a significant amount of criticism towards the United State's response (or lack of) to this emerging crisis. Most analysis, including an article published today in the Washington Post, speculate realpolitik as the reason behind the overly subtle reaction and that the decision was made based on the "likelihood that it will be dealing with Ahmadinejad after the dust settles." However, experts in Iran's politics and culture see a greater wisdom in this stance based on several factors:

1) Conservative Ahmadinejad voters hate the United States, this is a known fact. However, the U.S. is not very popular among the more-moderate Mousavi voters either. Any type of American interference will only bring back painful memories of the unrest in the 70’s and 80’s  which most Iranians believe was a direct cause of U.S. policies and action. Such recollections might demoralize Musavi’s supporters and leverage the current Iranian government's position.

2) Iranians from both sides believe that this is an internal issue and must be solved internally. National pride runs strong in the veins of Iranians, and Musavi's supporters believe that they can successfully dispute the results without any foreign help. This is very evident by Musavi's actions as he did not call for any support from the international community.

3) Any public support by the U.S. to Musavi -even verbal- will greatly harm his chances if the results are going to be invalidated and another round of voting is to be held. After all, Musavi ran as a reformer, not as a pro-west candidate. Ahmadinejad would greatly benefit from an opportunity to brand Musavi as an à-la-Shah pro-US candidate.

It is truly painful to see all the violations, abuses, and violence the green-bearing Musavi supporters are being subjected to; however, the U.S. staying on the sidelines might be what saves the day at the end.


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