Were Iran Elections Fair & Democratic? Much argument about Voter Turnout; however it is evident that large segment of Iran population is no longer participating in the official process and feels itself effectively disenfranchised. Whether 55% or 65% eligible voters actually participated is not particularly telling as even in the presumably more advanced democracies as the US, voter turnout has become generically low. In both western democracies and Iran there has been rising apathy over but perhaps for at least somewhat different reasons. Read EAWorldView Article – “Iran, ‘the Invented Election’” - http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/2012/3/3/iran-special-analysis-the-invented-election.html
Iran’s electorate is given a much smaller spectrum of choices although one can argue that 2 party system also gives too little choice among political elites. Screenings by theocracy based upon morality/theology litmus tests provides little room for dissent especially as non-conformists are labeled anti-God. Thus Iran’s democracy while post Revolution one of its more vibrant characteristics has devolved into largely an ever more blunt tool of the theocracy. Read our latest popular video blog – “Iran Vote Proof of Democracy or Authoritarianism” - http://diplomaticallyincorrect.org/films/blog_post/iran-vote-proof-of-democracy-or-authoritarianism/46700
The 2009 election was perhaps more than any other tipping point. More of the urban and cosmopolitan are turning away from what they see as crude choreography of their vote. The current debate over Iran’s nuclear program and West pressure are probably weakening the opportunity for more democratic pressure on the theocracy. Most Iranians are supportive of their country’s, at least peaceful, nuclear ambitions. Further, in any society dissent can be quickly characterized as lack of patriotism and even treason as weapons and military threats are turned your way.
Is in Iran Priority to Foster Longer-Term Change or Military Strike that Forestalls for Moment Nuclear Capability?
If greater openness, political dissent and democratic expression are both desirable and probably indispensible to transformation and defusing Iran, it is worthy to ask if current policies are advancing such objectives. The current “Stop Iran Nukes’ policy gives lower priority to objectives of change as compared to satisfying Israel not to launch a preemptive strike. It is difficult from our perspective to reach conclusions about the urgency and appropriateness of such priorities except to note that “regime change” in Iran may be desirable but is least likely to be effected by outside force. (It should also be noted that “sanctions” just tightened on Iran have hurt western economies more than the theocracy as speculation and fear have spiked oil prices by 25%+ - In fact Iran’s theocracy, Hugo Chavez and Vladimir Putin have benefited most in terms of greater revenues and/or economic and diplomatic leverage).
No Longer Term Strategy in Place to Encourage Greater Democracy & Open Society?
While there has been much seeming action on Iran related to its nuclear program, there has been little regarding how to nurture change within Iran. Iran is not North Korea. Large pockets of dissent to an again increasingly authoritarian theocracy deserve greater priority in Washington and European policy toward Iran.
By Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey – Follow @MuhamedSacirbey
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Latest current news events articles on Iran including - http://diplomaticallyincorrect.org/films/blog_post/aftershocks-iran-pakistan-afghanistan-summit/45727