Monday, June 27, 2005

"Loving" the World

Hardliners love the world. Of course not the type of loving displayed by the "corrupt," "godless" or "lost", which according to their formula includes most of the world except the hardliners' own small tribe. Their love is a "heavenly" love and its purpose is to bring justice and freedom to humanity, an example of which we've seen for the past twenty-seven years in Iran. It's no small feat to mobilize a population of seventy million. Now it's time to bring along the rest of the world.

Tehran's Keyhan newspaper, whose editors are high ranking officials in Ahmadinejad's personal army, published the headline "World's Leading News" accompanied by a picture of Ahmadinejad. Clearly the first result of the Islamic Republic's elections is transforming Iran's internal affairs into a matter of international concern.

The U.S. has pronounced the recent Iranian elections invalid, and there is ample evidence to support that view. The conservative candidates, who were eliminated in the first round of voting, have all cried foul. Even Hashemi Rafsanjani, who sits on the "council determining the best for the government" (better known as the expediency council), has publicly voiced his belief that the election was tainted by fraud.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman as usual responded to the U.S. with a lecture. He admonished the U.S. to "weigh its words carefully" and to "pay attention." The election of the new president, who espouses "extreme left fiscal policy and extreme right cultural policy," has apparently spooked other major countries in the world, evidenced by Tehran's stock market drop of a hundred and twenty percent after the elections.

The foreign minister of Germany en route to a meeting with George W. Bush asked Iran to continue its discussion with Europe on nuclear issues. British foreign minister Jack Straw, while pointing out the interference of the military in recent elections sounded a hopeful note that "Ahmadinejad's government will put to rest concerns over nuclear program, terrorism, human rights and progress of middle-east peace."

His French counterpart also voiced similar concerns. Though the comments were addressed to the new president, a foreign ministry spokesman responded to them by first giving the Europeans a lecture on the "principles of democracy" and then reminding them that as a matter of international etiquette they should begin by sending their congratulations. Apparently other than Russian president Putin, no one has sent their felicitations to Ahmadinejad. Shortly after these remarks, Javier Solana announced the conditions for Europe's cooperation with the new government include "progress on human rights and nuclear issues."

In his first public statements, Ahmadinejad said his government would be one of peace. Then yesterday afternoon, in a press conference carried live by CNN and the BCC, Ahmadinejad dismissed questions about human rights and nuclear issues by saying: "these discussions have worn thin and are offensive." He added, though, that he was concerned about human rights violations around the world, particularly those occurring in Europe where he said he would strive to protect the rights of religious minorities.

Keyhan, from which Ahmadinejad's thinking can be clearly drawn, like the new president, does not feel the need to observe rules of diplomatic protocol. With a decidedly undiplomatic bluntness, the newspaper described the president's views on military/security issues in this manner, "Ahmadinejad will pose a great challenge to the U.S. and its "greater middle east" doctrine, which it pursues under the false guise of spreading democracy. READ MORE

The election of Ahmadinejad represents a turning toward Islam. The eyes of all Islamic people now gaze upon Islamic Iran." Yes, after Iran it's the world's turn.

Meanwhile inside Iran opponents of Ahmadinejad stunned by the election results are discussing ways to protect Iran from a threat that world papers have characterized as the "victory of Islamic extremists." Shargh newspaper attributes Hashemi's defeat to the perception that he represented the "status quo" and suggests that a "small group of influential but united" leaders should band together. Mohammad Ebtahi echoes that thought and encourages political activists to join forces with such influential figures as "Khatami, Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karrubi." Thus others are embracing the idea of creating a political party put forward by Karrubi and Hashemi. Reformists have wasted the last eight years by refusing to organize, assuming wrongly that the public would simply support their agenda when asked to do so. They have now learned that the lack of organization and structure to support their reformist agenda was the main reason for their defeat. Finally, Dr. Karim Lahigi suggests the solution is to establish a party with human rights and democracy platform, a platform that goes beyond mere rhetoric.