President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s (alleged) landslide re-election victory has led to disbelief and unrest in the streets of Iran, where hundreds of thousands gathered in a protest demonstration that led to security forces opening fire. One protestor was killed and several were injured.
Despite the appearances of democratic process, most speculation is that the radically conservative President Ahmadinejad (with his military support) was kept in office by rigging the election. Of course, in reality Iran’s political power doesn’t lie primarily with its President – Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini is the one with the most influence over the country, and he now sits center stage as the referee of Iran’s highly disputed election. Some note that the practical theocracy in Iran would indicate that nothing’s going to change anytime soon in Iran, and with Ayatollah Khameini openly endorsing Ahmadinejad and calling the election results a “divine assessment,” it’s pretty easy to assume that any investigation into election fraud will be short-lived.
The challenger, reformist ex-Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, reacted vitriolically to the reports of Ahmadinejad’s alleged 63% vote and vowed to fight the results, saying “I will not surrender to this dangerous charade.”
President Obama said that it would be wrong to stay silent on the matter, and that the Iranian people had a right to feel that their votes mattered. He also stated that he hopes Iranian officials will take the election investigation seriously.
Many have noted that this election has proven that Obama doesn’t have the magic answer to form strong alliances with countries that traditionally, as John McCain put it, don’t like us very much. With the highly-disputed results securing an ongoing foothold of radical Islam over the governance of Iran, it would seem that the focus of undesirable global nuclear programs will now be split between North Korea and Iran.
The T-shirts have taught us that an image is indeed worth 1,000 words, so if you’re interested in Iran’s governance system we thought this graphic was a nice alternative to Wikipedia: