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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Iran elections: Middle class westernized Iranians may not vote



Most U.S. media is focused on the upcoming U.S. elections. However there are elections upcoming in Iran for the parliament. The Washington Post has an article on those elections.

The article has a particular focus. When it comes to Iranian election the U.S. is concerned about the more liberal westernized groups who had their moment in the press spotlight when they protested after the last elections. Unfortunately the article tells us nothing about what is happening within the ruling groups. Ahmadinejad is unpopular not just with liberals but also with many of the conservative clerics who disdain his lack of religious credentials.

Some analysts claim that the middle class opponents of Ahmadinejad will likely not demonstrate but they will probably not vote either. Candidates for office are vetted by authorities and many would be liberal candidates would probably be disqualified.

The article claims that the March 2 elections will show a disconnect between the leaders and the electorate--at least the electorate the west seems concerned about! The regime is hoping for a large turnout seeing this as a vindication of 33 years of Islamic rule.

The groups the Washington Post writes about are often university educated and into Facebook, and satellite television, all illegal in Iran. These citizens live in a separate reality in which state ideology and elections as well are irrelevant.

A watch seller noted:"In my world, the currency has lost its value, our oil is under sanctions, we are weak, and I feel humiliated," But in their world, the country is strong, the economy is booming, and our future is glorious. We are on different planets." He said that voting will not change the basic realities in Iran.

State television continually gives positive news. For example Iran is supposed to have the fastest rate of growth because of its Iranian Islamic model of development. In truth people are being hurt by sanctions. According to state news national self-confidence is high. In reality many Iranians fear they will be attacked by Israel or the U.S.

Contrary to the official view many Iranians are depressed and worried about the future. According to the article a Health Ministry official facetiously advocated that antidepressants might be added to the water supply.

Of course as in other countries there are alternatives to antidepressants. A Tehran secretary said she preferred watching soap operas on satellite TV to political activism:"They bring me to a different world," "I'm happy there." For more see the full article.

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