Friday, 11 January 2013

Iran Live Coverage: How to "Engineer" an Election

0610 GMT: Iranian State media plays up Thursday's trip by Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi to Cairo and meetings with Egyptian officials like President Morsi --- IRNA devotes three of its four headline stories to the event --- even though the occasion has produced little beyond an invitation to President Ahmadinejad to visit in February and Salehi's call for a solution in Syria without "foreign intervention".

The far more interesting story is on the domestic front: the Supreme Leader's call for Iranians to vanquish the enemy by showing up in June's Presidential election and his insistence that the Islamic Republic has had more than 80 free elections has had an interesting twist. Within 24 hours, his representative to the Revolutionary Guards, Ali Saeedi, was defining that freedom with the declaration that it was the duty of the Iran's elite military force to "engineer" the election.

The Guards tried to neutralise the statement with the clarification that "engineer" meant "provide security"; however, another passage from Saeedi's declaration drives home the point. It is not just an issue of voting, but of voting for the right candidate --- one who will fulfil the Islamic Republic's religious mission:

One must hit the bull’s-eye and choose in the election someone who exactly moves in the path of the Imam of the Era, and not someone who will make the regime inactive. As Supreme Leader has said...the President must be a revolutionary...

In the era of the reformists we voted, and it was exactly in the era of the reformists that the emergence of the Imam of the Era was postponed for hundreds of years. The problem was that human beings could not discern between the right and wrong path, chose the wrong path and was ignorant of the enemy and the front of justice....

The Imam of the Era will shake the pillars of the White House. We may not have the power to do away with nuclear missiles, but we must prepare the emergence [of the Imam of the Era].

And then the second twist. The fight-back against Saeedi's statement did not come from the ostracised reformists --- they have been scattered by repression, manipulation, and detention. Instead, it is President Ahmadinejad, whose election may have been "engineered" four years ago, who has spoken out against a repeat in 2013 which might not favour his would-be successor:

No individual or group can manage the people and their vote... Experience has shown that if a group desires to manage the people and their choice, the group has reached the opposite result, since it is the people who will manage them.

Then there is the emerging story of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani's attempt to carve out a front-line place in the campaign. In a speech on Wednesday, he effectively chided the Supreme Leader, saying that it is the Iranian people "who will pave the way to free elections".

So what next for the engineers?

from EA WorldView: EA Iran

Posted via email from lissping