June 10, 2009

Dictator Watch - June 10, 2009

Today we're taking a pre-election look at the improbable end of the reign of Ahmadinejad in Iran. June 12th is the election in Iran.

Breitbart has the following surprising development;

Persian hip-hop thumps from car speakers and young hipsters—men with spiked hair and women in spike heels—dance in the streets.

It's another night and another campaign rally-turned-party for their unlikely hero: a self-styled reformist from the early years of the Islamic Revolution who is now seen as their best hope to defeat hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

But while Mir Hossein Mousavi generates the noise, passion and electricity in Tehran, Ahmadinejad has the backing of the powerful Islamic establishment and deep support in the countryside, leaving Friday's vote too close to call.

Mousavi would appear to have the momentum, drawing staggering crowds and all-night street bashes. But all that noise, fervor and electricity doesn't necessarily add up to a juggernaut, with critical stakes at play, including possible talks with Washington after a nearly three-decade diplomatic estrangement.

The post-midnight raves in Tehran's leafy suburbs are uncorking passions that seem to have caught even Mousavi by surprise. He stood in awe Monday at one end of a nearly 12-mile human chain of supporters along one of Tehran's main thoroughfares, linked by green ribbons and banners in the symbolic color of his campaign.

It's good news for the potential thawing of relationships if Ahmadinejad is ousted. True to the rock star image, Mousavi appears to be headed towards a possible upset.

In the last election in 2005, 20 million moderates sat out, all but handing Ahmadinejad his victory. Iran is one country where moderates would be most welcome. Moderation from radicalism is a good thing. Ironically, the big problem this time around, the reason for the Iranian public's displeasure with their leader, has been the country's economic woes.

Many of his reforms, including gas rationing and capping interest rates that lenders could charge, would not be unfamiliar to those critical of the policies being implemented by President Obama in the United States. Further, in an another eerie similarity, President Ahmadinejad, established a new budget planning body directly under his control, a move that gave him a much freer hand to control and implement his economic policies which have been blamed for driving up prices, in other words, interventionism causing inflation.

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