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Missing the Paradigm, Given the Clown

18 May 2005

As the Iranian elections begin to look more and more like California's recent gubernatorial elections, one wonders whether these elections will similarly be more about the candidates persona as opposed to their policy. The Brooding Persian outlines the important facts:

 

bq. "225 people have so far entered the foray-- mostly men (209). The rank of the remaing 16 women hopefuls includes the youngest registrant, an audacious one at the tender age of 18 from Isfahan. The oldest to date is a gentleman (86) who promises a swift end to the Iranian nuclear standoff...Among some of the more colorful figures, we have our first villager who insists 15 million would vote for him and my personal favorite, of course, a 72 year old milkman from a principality far from Tehran who made an impression on the reporters with his open zipper during the registrations and he appears quite charming as he frankly admitted to having no place to sleep over the night at in Tehran."

 

The election itself has also garnered the interest of Iranian-American Hooshang Amirahmadi, also president of the American Iranian Council. Most of the attention by the Western media is on Rafsanjani's decision to run and the influence candidates will have on Iran's nuclear posture. What's lacking, and seemingly the most important issue, is the influence these candidates will have on establishing a paradigm for social change. For the past eight years, Khatami has represented the rise and fall of reformist thought. The question is now whether Iranians are persuaded by the influence of pragmatic conservatives and whether economic reform truly is more desired than political or civil liberties. Subsequently, the dialogue revolving the election, including the issues, which the West should start focusing on, is less on key figures, but on key philosophies.

 

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