Iran and the 2009 Presidential Election

Course in Rethinking Middle East Politics

Fall 2009

INTRODUCTION

On the 12th June 2009 the citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iran went to the polls to choose their next President. The day after, the victory of Ahmadinejad against the favored candidate in the opposition, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, was announced, and a massive protest movement took the street of Teheran for more than one month. The movement, also called the Twitter Revolution,[1] the Green Wave,[2] or Velvet Revolution[3], is a very interesting and yet not completely understood phenomenon that has been categorized and described in very different ways all over the world.[4]

This paper will look closer to what happened in the summer of 2009 in Iran and try to understand what this movement is and what it is looking for. After the elections in fact different debates have been going on in the Western press, but also among Iranian intellectuals, about the nature of this movement, the subjects involved in it, their claims and the very meaning of an upsurge of this dimension in Iran.

In this paper I will analyze three of those debates, having very clear in mind that the complexity and the history of the Iranian society that brought to the events of this summer cannot be reduced in the reality to those three topics, but covers a full range of dynamics and interactions that for matter of space and ignorance of the Iranian society and history I will not dare to analyze here.

One of the main debates going on about the 2009 Iranian elections is strictly related to the duality of the Iranian political system, which is at the very core of the Iranian Constitution: the balance of power in the political establishment and the role of the citizens in the Republic.[5] This duality is very well described as a struggle between the Islamic part of the Republic and the Republican part of it. In this context it is extremely interesting to notice that the Islamic religion was almost never mentioned or attacked, even by women’s movements asking for more rights and freedoms,[6] while on the other side it is clear that the claims of the Green Movement will actually change at least the role of the religion in the Iranian politic and its application within the Iranian society.

A second debate comes directly from this first one, and it’s related to the actual claims that the civil society groups, organizations, unions, students groups and women groups and coalitions were asking for from the street of Teheran immediately after the elections. This movement not only didn’t appear from nowhere, but looks like it had very precise and direct claims in terms of rights and citizens’ sovereignty, civil and political participation, freedom and economical opportunities. The point of those claims was not to re-perform an Iranian Revolutions in the terms of the 1979 one, or to destroy the actual political system in the country, or to just act against Ahmadinejad. This movement was surprisingly built “within the constitutional boundaries of the Islamic revolution”[7], but at the same time “challenging the very legitimacy of the Islamic Republic”,[8] with a focus on the nondemocratic institutions within the Republic, like the role of the Supreme Leader and the Guardian Council.

The third debate going on is the one related to the social background of this movement. This debate tend to re-propose the contrast between the Low Class and the Middle Class,[9] and to divide the political arena between the Iranian political establishment and the protesters according to this line in a very simplistic way.[10] What it is useful in analyzing this division, is the description and the characterization of those two classes that comes out from the debate, and the transversal cut along the society that seems instead to characterized the Green Wave movement.[11]

In the final part of this paper I will try to look ahead and see what the future of this movement is, and how this can affect Iran’ s role in the international community and its very identity in the future.

In this paper I decide not to mention the apparent cause of the upsurge, which is the contested result of the election. Different studies have been done on the numbers of votes, ballots, the modality and the timing in which the results have been presented to the public, and I am sure that several will be done in the future. The decision on the matter, if those elections were really fraud or not, is not going to change the effect: a large part of the population felt that those elections were not fair, it doesn’t really matter if in terms of actual numbers or not[12]. The movement of the summer 2009 in Iran is a movement that seems to exist independently from the existence of the triggering factor. Its claims are the claims of a big portion of the society, and they would exist even if another president had been elected instead of Ahmadinejad, according to the author.

On the other side the sources used for this paper are not the common ones, books and essays, and this is because the events of this summer are still pretty recent. The information contained in this paper is based on blogs, internet articles, where available translated articles and manifestos from Iran, newspapers articles and commentaries, videos and clips from You Tube, and only few academic essays.

CRONOLOGY AND ACTORS

The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran[13] is elected by direct vote every 4 years and is the highest official elected by direct popular vote, but does not control foreign policy or the armed forces.   The candidates for the presidency must be preemptively approved by the 12 members of the Council of Guardians[14] consisting of six clerics selected by Iran’s Supreme Leader[15] and six lawyers proposed by the head of Iran’s judicial system[16] and voted in by the Parliament[17]. In Iran the number of eligible voters[18] is around 46.2 million.

Iran’s tenth presidential election was held on 12 June 2009, with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad running against three challengers, the conservative Mohsen Rezaee, former Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard[19] and current secretary of the Expediency Council and two reformists, Mehdi Karroubi, former Speaker of the Majlis and Mir-Hossein Mousavi, the last Prime Minister of Iran. On the morning of the 13th June the Islamic Republic News Agency[20], announced that with two-thirds of the votes counted, Ahmadinejad had won the election with 62% of the votes cast, and that Mir-Hossein Mousavi had received 34% of the votes cast[21].

Immediate protests broke out in Tehran. On 15th June Mousavi made his first post-election appearance rejecting the results of the elections and calling for a re-count.[22] On the following week protests continued, as well as the massive repression from the police and the Basij special forces, which leads to the raid of Tehran University on the night of 14th June, and to the death of a young Iranian woman, on the 20th, Neda Agha-Soltan[23], recordered by amateur videos which spread virally across the internet after being posted on Facebook and YouTube[24]. Massive arrests were carried on against protesters, politicians, women, foreigners and journalists and several human rights organizations[25] reported of tortures, degradation treatments and sexual abuses against the prisoners[26]. On Monday 29th June the Guardian Council certified the results of the controversial election[27].

In the massive demonstration that followed, some 30 civilians and police were killed and hundreds more were arrested. Among this latter group were many prominent politicians and intellectuals. Tehran’s governor, General Morteza Tamaddon, reported on the first Tuesday after the election that 7 people had been killed and 29 injured during a rally.[28] Other reports by government officials said that 20 people, including 8 Basij members, had been killed by June 25th.[29] However, according to an opposition website, an estimated 250 people had been killed by June 23rd.[30] Supporters of the opposition also posted pictures of security forces they believed were responsible for violence against the people and even urged revenge for the death of the protestors.[31]

Among hundreds arrested were two leading reformist politicians, Behzad Nabavi and Saeed Hajjarian. The veteran reformist politician, Muhammad Ali Abtahi, advisor to the defeated presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi, was also arrested.[32] in the midst of those put on trial for helping organize demonstrations are prominent figures, including former Deputy Foreign Minister Mohsen Aminzadeh, former Government Spokesman Abdallah Ramazanzadeh, former senior lawmaker Mohsen Mirdamadi, and former Industry Minister Behzad Nabavi.[33]

Major protests continued after the inauguration as well, the latest’s ones happening on September 18th and November 4th, 2009 in Teheran. Several newspapers, human rights organizations and civil organizations from abroad and from inside Iran speak about hundreds of deaths, thousands of prisoners and a massive repressive campaign still going on in the country after the election[34].

If we want to understand who those people taking the street are, we have to go back to the period before the election, and disregard the idea that all Iranians in the street in Teheran and all over Iran after the elections were Mir-Hossein Mousavi supporters. Mousavi was in fact the favorite opponent of Ahmadinejad, and for sure the symbol of the change that people were asking for, but the people taking the street after the elections seem to be more part of a transversal group with diverse backgrounds and belonging to different political spectrums.

On May 25th, 2009 a coalition composed by grassroots pro-democracy political forces was formed in Iran, called Solidarity for Democracy and Human Rights in Iran (SDHRI). This coalition includes the Iranian National Front (INF), founded by Mr. Mossadegh in 1949, and basically the embodiment of liberal democracy and nationalistic wills in Iran[35], as well as the Democratic Front of Iran (DFI), led by Hashmatollah Tabarzadi, former fundamentalist student, which engages in direct actions protests and is active in many campuses, in addition to small parties like the Democratic Party of Iran and the United For Democracy Party[36]. But the SDHRI also includes two major civil society groups: students and unions. The Haft Tapeh Sugar Workers Syndicate and the Vahed Bus Drivers Syndicate are two prominent labor unions part of the SDHRI and so are the Student Union Front, the Association of Liberal and Nationalist University Students, the INF student organization, and the IDF student organization[37]. The coalition also attracted prominent human rights attorneys, intellectuals, human rights activists, women rights organizations and regional-ethnic based groups[38].

In addition to the SDHRI in the period before the elections women coalitions and groups were actively involved in the Iranian political debate: a huge coalition for women rights called the One Million Signature Campaign[39] is one of them, officially launched on August 27th, 2006 aims to collect one million signatures in support of a petition addressed to the Iranian Parliament asking for the revision and reform of current laws which discriminate against women.

The OMSC is also part of the Iranian Women’s Movement Coalition[40], with almost 30 other different organizations, from the Defenders of Women’s Human Rights to the Human Rights Committee of Islamic Associations in East of Iran[41] to the Stop Stoning Forever Campaign.[42]

In addition to that, different other civil society personalities and intellectuals were active before the elections: Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi and other layers set up the Defenders for Human Rights Center (DHRC)[43] as well as the Committee to Defend Free, Healthy and Fair Elections. A group known as Human Rights Activists in Iran published on the eve of the election a lists of demand for the candidates related to death penalty, human rights of women, children, ethnic minorities and detainees.[44]

As it was the case in the Iranian Revolution on the other side, students were among the most active in this movement: the Office for Consolidating Unity, the biggest students’ Union, issued a long list of demands covering items specific to students and universities as well as matters of a more general import on May 1st. The list goes from all the obstacles to freedom of thought, expression, and association that becloud university life, proposing concrete measures to restore these liberties, to calls for academic freedom, an end to gender discrimination on campus, an end to admissions based on political and religious opinions, and an end to rules that allow administrators to suspend student dissidents[45]. On a more general level, students clearly articulated all the demands that various forces of civil society had been formulating for most of the previous decade. They called for full religious and minority rights, democratization of the electoral system, judicial reform, gender equality, labor rights, human rights, civil rights, and more. They also urged the candidates to guarantee that they would safeguard the private sphere on behalf of citizens who want to be left alone.[46]

What it is interesting to notice here is that the activism from civil-rights groups, students and women began some time ago, leading to a debate among themselves about what position to take regarding the 2009 vote. In 2005, in fact, a lot of those organizations, as well as the opposition, had decided to boycott the election as not free, and to focus instead on organizing robust civil society groups that might be able to act as independent entities and negotiate with the government.[47] The Ahmadinejad administration stepped up repression, hitting not only activists but also ordinary citizens, through the masked goons of the Social Safety Project, which spread terror and intimidation throughout Iran.[48]

Those groups did not agree on the candidate to support during the elections, and some of them didn’t campaign for a candidate or another, but just for certain issues. The students’ unions for example negotiated with the reformists’ candidates and at the end decided to support Karrubi campaign; Shirin Ebadi and the Committee to Defend Free, Healthy and Fair Elections refused to campaign for or against any candidate; other groups advocate for a boycott of the election as in 2005; the Women’s Coalitions refused to campaign or even to call for boycott and decide to focus only on women’s rights.[49]

On the other side it seems also that a big part of the people taking the streets after the election were not highly politicized persons, but transversal sectors of the population, from the middle class to the lower class, including religious and cleric personalities[50].

In this view, it is clear that the movement that took the street in the aftermath of the election was not an improvised new movement. And it wasn’t either “like the passions after a football match” as Ahmadinejad labeled it. It seems more that the elections are the triggering factor of a change in the political spectrum of the Iranian society after the revolution. Iranian people have been working, thinking, discussing and elaborating a different political participation than before: the focus of the political campaign is not anymore a particular personality, a particular leader that can personify the aspiration of the people, but it is rather an idea, one that doesn’t need someone to represent it, but only people to apply it. In the same time artists, students, women, religious leaders, journalists, as well as farmers and manual workers have been critically analyzing their situation in order to present a very clear and substantial program, a program that doesn’t loose it’s focus in the web of the political propaganda, being the one against the West, the Americans or the religious one. The Green Wave in this optic is the top of an iceberg that has been growing in the past 10 years in Iran, expressing itself outside the mainstream political arena of personalities and parties, and building its base on a very simple

principle, the sovereignty of the people.

THE REPUBLICAN REVOLUTION

One of the biggest debates going on especially abroad and in the US in particular, is the interpretation of the events following the 2009 presidential election as a widespread popular revolution to overthrow the Islamic system.[51] In this context the battle between the reformists and the conservatives get translated into the battle between the Islamic part of the Republic and the Republican part of it.

In this debate it is interesting to notice that even if almost everybody individuate a problem related to the Islamic Republic, it is also clear that very few groups asked for a change in the constitution. It seems that the open requests from the civil society are not directed to a complete revolution of the system, but more in the direction of a stronger leadership and a clear change in the interpretation of the same constitution and the Islamic law.

That the religion itself is not the problem here is clear, the One Million Signature Campaign for example states on his website that:

“While the Campaign seeks to bring Iranian law addressing women’s status in line with international human rights standards, these demands are in no way in contradiction to Islam. Iranian law is based on interpretations of Sharia law, but these interpretations have been up for debate by religious scholars for some time, not only in Iran but around the Islamic world. Shiite Islam, on which the interpretations of Sharia rely with respect to Iranian law, claims to be dynamic and responsive to the specific needs of people and time. Iranian society has changed much since 1400 years ago, but the interpretations of Sharia on which the Iranian law is based remain rather conservative. We ask that the laws come in line with international human rights standards and recognize the important role that religious scholars can play in facilitating our demand.”[52]

If we look to the manifestos of the coalitions and the requests of the different groups mentioned before, we notice that no one of them ever mentioned the Islamic religion as a problematic factor.[53]

On the other side, according to Abi Abootalebi[54], the current crisis is the natural result of “30 years of experimentation with Shi’a-inspired Islamic Republicanism in modernization.” According to him, Iran’s constitution is based on a very particular mix of Islamic Sharia and Republicanism, with a unique (in) balance and political framework, where the secular-religious divide is in constant competition over legal and political matters. This mechanism has resulted in a duality of democratic and authoritarian institutional framework, but with much political authority reserved for the religious side of the equation.[55]

In this context the current crisis is a clash between different ideological views over the appropriate degree of “Islamization” of Iran’s politics and society. There seems not to be, according to this view therefore, true enemies or anti-revolutionaries in the current crisis, but the success of Islamic Republicanism is ultimately a matter of competent and legitimate political leadership, subjected to pressure from a society that strongly demands political development[56]. Iran’s political leadership from the beginning has seen oscillations between pragmatism and ideological dogmatism, and while till now the latter one seems to have prevailed, now people are asking for more of the former.[57]

The violent repression of the demonstrations after the election moreover, has eroded the legitimacy of the political system by bringing to the surface long-held internal ideological and strategic disagreements within the political establishment over matters of governance. Some members of the same Council of Guardians themselves didn’t agree with the strong reaction of the government to the demonstrations.[58]

According to Dabashi[59] the problem comes from the ‘79 Revolution, where the forced transmutation of Iranian political culture into a singular Islamic state, was an act of epistemic violence that could only be sustained by a military security apparatus that forced its intellectual and political opposition into exile or else brutally eliminated it. Because the Islamic Republic could not uproot and transform Iranian society at large, new branches have sprouted Iranian civil society in political culture leading to the civil rights movement that had finally broken out in the aftermath of the 12th June presidential elections. In this view the Green Wave is reducible to neither side of any such binary, reaching out to regain a cosmopolitan Iranian culture, to which Islam is integral but not definitive.[60]

In this context we will be in front of what Bayat define the main “fear” of the Islamists revolutionary leaders: that in the event of an opening up to the outside world and its unfettered flow of diverse ideas, the religious values of the Islamic Republic might not be able to stand firm. The peculiar doctrinal regime of Iran, whose legitimacy is grounded on narrow and exclusive religious values, explains part of the Islamists’ critique of globalization as linked to their deep anxiety over losing their self-worth in Iran itself[61]. This same globalization has not diminished peoples’ religious belief per se, but it has indeed been accompanied by a strong disdain for clericalism and political Islam. Iranians’ approach to Islam has moved according to Bayat, into a “post-Islamist trajectory where people wish to combine their Islam with modernity, their religiosity with rights, and their faith with freedom.”[62]

In this debate, the propaganda that has been going on in the western press about this revolution has a counter-revolution of the 1979 one, a revolution against Islam and the clergy in the Iranian Republic, doesn’t really take into account the roots of this movements, and clearly has no idea of the claims of the hundreds of Iranian people. The main point to be understood is that the religion is an issue only and as far as it is connected with the undemocratic part of the Republic, and as long as it is used by the political establishment as a legitimization of its power, taking out from the people their role as citizens.

THE CONSTITUTIONAL REVOLUTION

The images of the aftermath of the 2009 Iranian Election could not be immune from the automatic association to the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The students in the streets, the repression from the government, the transversal cut in the Iranian society that this movement seemed to bring with it, everything, from the pure images to the rhetoric, was done in association with the Islamic Revolution. In the Western press especially, the presentation of the issue was more or less done in the terms of the poor Iranians oppressed fighting against the bad evil personified by Ahmadinejad, in a liberation movement that was aiming at a real destruction of the pre-existent system.[63] If we have a look again at the manifestos and declarations of the Iranian Women’s Movement Coalition, the students claims negotiated with Karrubi, the Defenders for Human Rights Center, and the Unions claims, this theory seems to have no real base. There is no mention at all to a structural change in the system, or to the constitution: again the focus of the 2009 movement is the content, not the container.

According to Elahe Mohtasham[64], senior research associate at The Foreign Policy Center in London, unless rapid and tangible reform in Iran is initiated, it will be difficult to imagine how Ahmadinejad government could prevent future demonstrations, even if he succeeds in clamping down on the current one[65]. What appear to be needed, according to him, is a deeper institutional reform that will result in greater social reform and a more efficient handling of the economy. Dabashi explains his point in a very clear way:

“What we are witnessing since the presidential election might very well emerge as a major civil disobedience movement not just against Ahmadinejad, but in fact for more civil liberties, economic opportunities, as well as human, civil and women’s rights — so far all within the constitutional boundaries of the Islamic Republic. But this may in fact extend to target the nondemocratic institutions within the Republic, such as the office of the supreme leader and that of the Guardian Council.”[66]

The movement seems to be specifically in political terms, far more a civil rights movement than a revolution embodied in the demand for basic civil liberties, predicated on decades of struggle by young Iranian men and women to secure their most basic and inalienable rights.

Iranian journalist and dissident, Akbar Ganji, explain this phenomenon as a paradox:

“Iran is a paradoxical nation. On the one hand, its political structure is a fundamentalist sultanism run by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and personified at least in the eyes of the outside world, by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. On the other hand, Iran is farther along the path to democracy than most countries in the Middle East. It has a sophisticated political culture: its intellectuals, women, and young people are highly literate, cosmopolitan, and committed to the ideals of democracy, human rights, and nonviolent social transformation. The majority of Iran’s population stands against the country’s fundamentalist regime.[67]
The real issue goes back to the (in) balance of power inside the Islamic Republic, where the existence of too many centers of concentrated power in the political system, keeps facilitating political cronyism, corruption, and inhibiting political development. The creation of the Expediency Council after the constitutional amendment in 1989 has also contributed to increase political rivalry and personal politics.

This organ, created to mediate disputes between parliament and the Guardian Council to ensure bills passed by the former comply with Islam[68], in reality act as an “upper chamber” of parliament, allowing hardly any opportunity for the parliament’s 290 members to rebuke decisions made by it.

The main issue to look at here is the question if this reform will actually be a literally reformation of the actual system, or will turn into a revolution in terms of actual facts, meaning if there are prospects for structural and permanent change, without a fundamental change in the distribution of constitutional powers vested in the elected and appointed bodies of the Iranian system. Nevertheless, the opposition of prominent grand ayatollahs to the mishandling of the election and its aftermath suggests an opening for a serious debate among the country’s top political and religious leadership on these issues[69]. Abootalebi for example propose to simplify the present system and give overriding power to each branch of the government to counter challenges to its ruling.[70]

The paradox is evident here: the claims of the Green Movement, even if not openly or voluntarily, can paradoxically change the balance of power in the country from the Supreme Leader[71] and the Council of Guardians to the people, meaning a real revolution based on a change in the constitution.  The (in) balance between the power of the Supreme Leader and the Guardian Council and the power of the Parliament and the elected bodies will be modified from within, changing the very framework of the Islamic Republic. In this view, the Iranian electorates’ demands for greater transparency in politics and more accountability in matters of governance can only be truly satisfied through institutional reforms that require changes to the constitution, shifting the problem of governance in Iran from the focus on the ruling political elite ignoring the constitutional rights of the people, to the constitutional division of power which allows for too much concentration of power in certain political institutions of the state, namely the religious ones. In this open debate significantly, everybody agrees on the need of a change, but the real issue is if there are ways to amend some of the provisions of the current constitution without subverting the essence and the wisdom of its current framework.

THE CLASS REVOLUTION

The third interesting categorization of the Green Movement has been done according to the line of economical class division[72]. This division is drawn on the top of the other two categories mentioned above: from one side the Islamic part of the Republic, the religious elite struggling to maintain the status quo given by the constitution, supported by the rural illiterate class, the most religious and traditionalist; on the other side the middle class, the intellectuals, university students, layers and artists, the ones opening to the globalized world and asking for more democratic rights, within or outside the framework of the Islamic Republic.

As we said before the people taking the streets after the elections where not all from the same background: there were women’s rights organizations, students and unions, and of course intellectuals and artists. There is no doubt in fact that a sizable component of Moussavi supporters are indeed university students, young faculty and the urban intellectual elite, such as filmmakers, artists and the literati. [73] But this is not the entire picture.

The overwhelming majority of the people pouring into streets of Tehran and other major cities are, according to statistics, 15 to 29-year-olds. Those people make up almost 35% of the population but account for 70% of the unemployed in the country[74]. In this view it is difficult to define this people as belonging to the middle class.

Another crucial statistic underlines the fact that more than 63% of university entrants in Iran are women, but only 12% are part of the labor force. That means that a big portion of the female students in the street of Teheran after the elections is part of the remaining 51% female students unemployed.[75]

On the other side it is important to notice that the urban poor and particularly a big group of war veterans has no respect for Ahmadinejad, believing he had an inglorious war record, but is full of admiration for Moussavi because of his role as prime minister during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988). Paradoxically other war veterans and members of the vast religious sector, share the regime’s oil-income proceeds with rich cronies, contractors, and people from the revolutionary institutions, and are thus encouraged to support the government.[76] The same is valid for the bazaaris, a significant segment of the traditional middle class, the true beneficiaries of Ahmadinejad’s economic policies of governmentally subsidized commodities and services, that for this reason support him.[77]

As last note it has to be underlined that in Iran the rural population accounts for less that 35% of the total population[78], and thus cannot be considered the source of the 63% of votes that Ahmadinejad claims.[79]

Dabashi points out something that can explain much better than the class-struggle dynamic what happened after the election[80].  The Iranian educational system of universities has a capacity that can absorb almost 10% of the student population coming out from the secondary school[81]. A significant portion of this remaining 90% that can’t go to the university is absorbed into various layers of the militarized security apparatus, including the Basij[82] and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). This component of the 15-29 year olds who have not made it to the university system, have joined the security apparatus of the regime, where they have a steady job, can marry, form a family, have a solid investment in the status quo and be considered middle class. In other words, instead of spending the national budget on expanding the university system, and then generating jobs, the custodians of the Islamic Republic, not just Ahmadinejad, spend it on fortifying a security apparatus that keeps them in power, and hide the insecurity of their own legitimacy.[83]

Dabashi goes on saying that:

“It is a romanticism of the most dangerous sort to imagine Ahmadinejad as a man who “wants to restore the revolution to its youthful vigor and gleam”. The only way that “he distributes oil revenues among the poor” is by recruiting them into the multi-layered and brutal security apparatus of the Basij and the Pasdaran. This, again, is not his invention. He simply carries on an innate insecurity of the regime by over-investing in security forces.”[84]

What it seems to be more close to the reality is that both candidates have support from both constituencies, and these constituencies are not cut in a clear and definite way. This can be due in part by the fact that Iran in the past three decades has become an increasingly urban and literate society. An awakening urbanity has brought the countryside into the orbit of an urban pulse in which there has been developing a vocal public sphere, associational life, independent journalism, with 11 million internet users and 100,000 bloggers.[85] This phenomenon posed a serious challenge to the very Islamic state which has indeed helped to instigate these developments, as counterbalance of the blind repression and disregard actuated against the freedom of citizens.[86] According to Bayat, Ahmadinejad’s regime is tied not to the working class as such, but to a peculiar “state class”: an ideological community, comprising both the poor and middle class that is brought together by sharing state handouts and socialized into a hard-line ideological paradigm.[87]

CONCLUSION

The primary concern for the future political development of the Islamic Republic is based on the possible answers to a very simple question: “What are the implications of the election given what has happened?”[88]. This question will remain for a long time unanswered, nonetheless can try to delineate the direction that this movement is taking.

The three debates analyzed in this paper raise valid discussions and concerns about the 2009 Iranian election, but they are not fully exhaustive. From one side the dichotomy of the Iranian political system is clearly a problem, and the struggle between dogmatism and pragmatism inside the political establishment is evident. On the other side the classification of the Green Movement according to rational contemporary social categories is not sufficient. The western eye on the Iranian upsurge of the 2009 election is in fact (in the light of those three debates) only able to recognize and see what it’s used to see in its environment. The division between the Islamic side of the Republic and the republican part of it, as well as the division between lower class and middle class, and the idea of a revolution against the dictator, part of the western rhetoric, as well as of the western romantic idea of this movement. These three debates are very useful indeed as a lens to look through to the Green Movement and identify what it is and what its claims are. On the other hand, while these three discussions can highlight interesting factors, they are tools that cannot to be used to categorize the movement itself because they don’t exhaust it and they cannot grasp the very nature of it. This movement is not a revolution nor a reform, it is not a pro-Islamic movement nor a movement against Islam as well as it is not a lower class against a middle class movement. The Green Movement is interconnected and touches on these issues, but these three debates cannot and should not be used to decide in which category it should be enclosed in.

To truly understand the movement of the summer 2009 we have to look at what happened with the analytical eye of a doctor, and see that this is only a symptom, not only a sickness nor a cure. The upsurge which followed the Iranian election can and needs to be used as a moment of diagnosis of power in Iran. The very nature of this movement is perfectly located inside the Iranian framework and its very identity is the one that makes it finds certain vulnerabilities in the political structure of the country. This moment of crisis in fact has as its first and most important outcome the objective of  highlighting and bringing to the surface the unsolved issues of the Republic; but it is also a reminder to the world, especially the West, that Iran is not easy to be labeled.

In Iran in the 2009 election about 40 out of 46 million people voted: this has been the most powerful manifestation of the political maturity of Iran as a nation and its collective democratic will.

The most pressing question for the Green Wave is where it goes from here. This movement is indisputably the largest and broadest opposition gathering in the Islamic Republic’s three-decade history, and it has galvanized Iran’s massive younger generations like nothing before it. The Wave has defied all odds and shown impressive staying power in the face of brutal repression and serious obstacles, even overcoming the regime’s best efforts to stop it by arresting, denigrating and torturing its leaders.

The first victory of the Green Movement is in fact its confrontation with the reality of mass repression since June 12th, some regime insiders are balking, and may yet prove powerful opposition allies within the political establishment. Most important of all, the Wave’s impetus has shift the comparatively narrow issue of who is running the country, the political leadership and the “personalism” that characterized the Iranian politics before, and has focused it instead on the future of the country itself and on the people owning the sovereignty.[89]

The diagnosis of power for the political establishment coming out from this is disastrous: all parties and subjects interested in the maintenance of the traditional status quo inside the Iranian political elite, from the Supreme Leader to the Parliament, have been shaken by the Green Wave and are now forced to face the original dichotomy inherited from the Islamic Revolution.  The real question now is in which direction the system will go and how they will be able to adapt and respond to the manifestation of its inability to conserve the power.

On one side that the regime is ready to abandon its democratic pretensions in order to be able to maintain its power is clear from the crackdown that has claimed at least 50 lives and led to more than 3,000 arrests. According to Taheri[90], however, what is becoming clear is that force alone cannot impose authority.

The regime has deployed only for the elections 100,000 men from the paramilitary Basij to control Tehran and eight other major cities, but such a system cannot be sustained and didn’t really prevent people from taking the streets. Hussein Taleb, the commander-in-chief of the Basij, said in the aftermath of the election that “large numbers of individuals, members of the Basij have been arrested after they took part in protest marches.” The Basij, mostly teenagers from the provinces and students that didn’t find their way into the universities, seem in fact to be a vulnerable group, easily seducible by the demonstrators. [91] Again the paradox in which the political establishment is falling is expressed by the fact that these people are the result of the unwillingness of the regime to invest in education than in military force, and that their role in the Islamic Republic is basically to preserve the status quo of the regime.  If the Basij disintegrates, the regime could play its last card: the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. However, the Islamic Guard split in the aftermath of the election too, with an unknown portion of it sympathizing with the opposition. Additionally, the risk will be that the IRGC may be tempted to grab power for itself rather than protecting the mullahs. In this context the regime is still completely oblivious of the intentions of the millions who remain angry with it: the use of heavy rhetoric accusing an external influence maneuvering the Green Wave is an example of how much the political establishment does not understand the movement itself.

The extent of popular support demonstrated for the oppositions reformist camp means the political legitimacy of not only Ahmadinejad, but the entire political establishment, has been seriously damaged. Crushing the protests equates to suppressing a large section of society, leaving people with utmost rage and deep resentment towards the system.[92]

The Majlis might emerge as one crucial site of contestation, considering that some of the 220 of them had indeed written a public letter and congratulated Ahmadinejad on his victory. But nevertheless almost 52 deputies have summoned the Interior Minister Mr. Mahsouli to come to the Majlis and explain what happened during the demonstration and why demonstrators were shot at, injured, and even killed. These 52 deputies have also been joined by Speaker of the House Mr. Larijani, who condemned the attacks on the student dormitories as well as other indiscriminate use of violence against the demonstrators. This may all be parliamentary maneuvering to no particular public avail, but something more can come out from there and only time will actually clarify that.

The future direction of political development in Iran thus stands at a crossroads and this is pretty evident. Ali Abootalebi presented an interesting reflection on the future of this movement and delineated three options for Iran according to how the political establishment will react to what happened in the 2009 election. One scenario depicts a danger that the political system could degenerate further into authoritarianism due to the unelected institutions of government, in an alliance with the IRGC and Basij, overseeing a populist regime. Such a regime would retain the support of large segments of religious conservatives in small towns and rural areas, who remain dependent on government programs and subsidies. [93]

A second scenario proposes the development of a secular political system, with a separation from the Islamic part of the Republic altogether. Although the prospects for liberal democracy in Iran are low for now, its potential must be a concern to the religious establishment especially seeing the accent pose by the Green wave on the questioning of the legitimacy of the ruling elites in charge.[94]

A third scenario sees the future of Iranian politics in Iran being still based on the dichotomy between  Islam and Republicanism, but with popular sovereignty playing a more central role in matters of governance. This could be possible if a more fundamental re-balancing of political power among the institutions of government will take place.

A key and critical question at this point is in fact the emergence of a new language of this revolt that correspond to the realities of this movement and that cannot be reduced to cliché-ridden and old assumptions. Any act of theorization of this movement, what exactly it is, and to what extend it will go, must be exceedingly cautious, gradual, and in correspondence with the manner in which it is unfolded.[95]

The main issue to be underline is not only what the reaction of the regime will be, but how this reaction will be shaped by the counter-reaction of the movement. In this context we have to apply a constructivists approach: the Green Wave is the product of the regime and the regime is going to re-shape itself as a reaction to the challenges that this movement poses. The diagnosis that the Green Wave is highlighting in the determination of the power structure in the Islamic Republic is that no matter how long and how strongly the regime will try to keep its power, no matter if inside or outside the legitimacy of the Islamic Revolution, a large sector of the Iranian population, is asking to have its sovereignty back, and is intended to play a more active role than the political establishment reserve to it in the past.

This is a matter of content, not a matter of structure: the people in the streets of Teheran were not interested in even discussing the constitutional organization of the state, but they are re-stating the very fundamental base of the political system itself. The struggle seems to be much less based on a division between the Islamic part and the republican part, or between the low class and the middle class, but assume the connotation of a struggle between different legitimizations of the same power.

In this sense it is indeed what the people wants that makes them find certain fallacies in the system, and according to this mechanism the future of this movement can go much beyond the three possibilities delineated by Abootalebi[96], and include the possibility that Iran will become neither a total Islamic republic nor a liberal democracy, but that it will find a way that we, as western people, have not experimented and approved as the only feasible possibilities. In looking at the Green Wave one thing in fact become evident, even to inexpert eyes: the fact that the Iranian society is able and willing to sacrifice a lot in order to be able to obtain what it wants, but in this process the Western categories are not applicable anymore, as they had never been applicable. The discourse here it is not about a liberal or an Islamic state but it is the content of this state, the legitimacy of power and the real ownership of sovereignty. The answers to these questions will be easy to find, but the Green Wave has not exhausted its influence or its energy, and the outcome will entirely depends on its elasticity and its ability to re-shape its movement to respond to the reaction of the regime.

Only time will tell us what form the Iranian state will have and what content the Iranian constitution will shape at the end of this process. What it is clear is that the process has just started and there seems to be no possibilities for the Iranian current political establishment to halt it.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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NEWSPAPER ARTICLES AND INTERNET SOURCES

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–“”Iranian Women’s Movement Coalition” Statement to Propose Their Demands for the Coming Presidential Election”, The Feminist School, April 30, 2009.

–“Basijis Shot Dead During Tehran Unrest,” Press TV, June 25, 2009,

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[1] Beber, B., and A. Scacco. “The Devil Is in the Digits.” Washington Post 20 (2009).

[2] Afshari, A., et al. “The Green Wave.” Journal of Democracy 20.4 (2009): 11-15.

[3] “Iran’s Velvet Revolution.” Boston Globe Editorials: Boston.com, 2009.

[4] The different names given highlight different points of view, and in fact have different meanings, even if all of the refer to the same movement. For matter of simplicity here the author will use them in an inter-changeable way.

[5] Milani, A., et al. “Cracks in the Regime.” Journal of Democracy 20.4 (2009): 11-15.

[6] See website: http://www.iranrights.org/english/document-579.php; Statement of “Iranian Women’s Movement Coalition” to Propose Their Demands for the Coming Presidential Election, Publisher: The Feminist School, April 30, 2009

[7] Dabashi, H. “Rigged or Not, Vote Fractures Iran.” Commentary. CNN.com/World June 30, 2009.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Dabashi, H. “Iran Conflict Isn’t Class Welfare.” Commentary. CNN June 22, 2009

[10] Farzin Vahdat, “Social Classes and the Post-Election Crisis in Iran,”  (A Forum on Human Rights and Democracy in Iran, 2009).

[11] Amid Dabashi, “Looking in the Wrong Place,” Al-Ahram Weekly.954 (2-8 July 2009).

[12] Dabashi, H. “Rigged or Not, Vote Fractures Iran.” Commentary. CNN.com/World June 30, 2009.

[13] The Constitution defines the President of Iran as the highest state authority. The President is elected by universal suffrage for a term of four years and can only be re-elected for one term. The President is responsible for the implementation of the Constitution and for the exercise of executive powers, except for matters directly related to the Supreme Leader, who has the final say in all matters. The President appoints and supervises the Council of Ministers, coordinates government decisions, and selects government policies to be placed before the legislature.  Eight Vice-Presidents serve under the President, as well as a cabinet of twenty two ministers, who must all be approved by the legislature. Although the President appoints the Ministers of Intelligence and Defense, it is customary for the President to obtain explicit approval from the Supreme Leader for these two ministers before presenting them to the legislature for a vote of confidence.

[14] The Guardian Council of the Constitution and it is also known as the Guardian Council or Council of Guardians. It is an appointed and constitutionally-mandated 12-member council that wields considerable power and influence in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Council is composed of six Islamic jurists, “conscious of the present needs and the issues of the day” to be selected by the Supreme Leader of Iran, and six jurists, “specializing in different areas of law, to be elected by the Majlis (the Iranian Parliament) from among the Muslim jurists nominated by the Head of the Judicial Power,” who, in turn, is also appointed by the supreme leader. It is charged with interpreting the Constitution of Iran, supervising elections of, and approving of candidates to, the Assembly of Experts, the President and the Majlis, and “ensuring the compatibility of the legislation passed by the Islamic Consultative Assembly with the criteria of Islam and the Constitution”, and it can veto any law passed by the Majlis.

[15] The Supreme Leader of Iran is responsible for delineation and supervision of the general policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Supreme Leader is Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, controls the military intelligence and security operations; and has sole power to declare war or peace. The heads of the judiciary, state radio and television networks, the commanders of the police and military forces and six of the twelve members of the Council of Guardians are appointed by the Supreme Leader. The Assembly of Experts elects and dismisses the Supreme Leader on the basis of qualifications and popular esteem. The Assembly of Experts is responsible for supervising the Supreme Leader in the performance of legal duties.

[16] Which according to the amendments of 1989 is nominated by the Rahbar

[17] Iranian Constitution and amendments, see http://www.servat.unibe.ch/icl/ir00000_.html

[18] Iranian Center for Statistics and Iranian Ministry of the Interior

[19] The Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, also known as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), is a branch of Iran’s military, founded after the Iranian revolution. IRGC is thought to number as many as 120,000 with its own small naval and air units. It also controls the paramilitary Basij militia, and the Chief Commander of the Guardians is Mohammed Ali Jafari, who was preceded by Yahya Rahim Safavi.

[20] Iran’s official news agency

[21] Johnson A. and Murphy B. “Iran Election Results: Ahmadinejad, Rival Both Claim Election Win”. The Huffington Post. June 12, 2009; Dougherty Robert. “2009 Iran Election Results Heavily Anticipated”. AC Associated Content. June 12 2009; “Iran’s election result staggers analysts”. Routers. Jun 13 2009

[22] “Timeline: 2009 Iran Presidential Elections.” CNN.com/World, 2009.

[23] “Her name was Neda”, egoblog.net. 21 June 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-07-28. http://www.webcitation.org/5ibz2nxSW. Retrieved 21 June 2009; “Unidentified Woman Shot Dead in Karegar Ave – 20 June, 2009″. BreakForNews.com. 20 June 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-07-28. http://www.webcitation.org/5ibz44O18. Retrieved 20 June 2009.

[24] http://www.youtube.com/verify_controversy?next_url=/watch%3Fv%3D76W-0GVjNEc

[25] Dabashi, H. “Iran Is Self-Destructing.” Al-Ahram Weekly.960 (13 August, 2009).

[26] Karimi, Nasser. “Iran releases prisoners after abuse allegations”. The Independent. 29 July 2009; Worth, Robert and Fathi Nazila. “Opposition Members Detained in a Tense Iran”. New York Times. 15 June 2009; “Iran reformists arrested after Tehran riots”. Times Online. 14 June 2009; See Amnesty International webpage on Iran: http://www.amnesty.org/en/iran-election-unrest;

[27] Slackman, M. “Iran Council Certifies Disputed Election Results” New York Times. 29 June 2009

[28] “Several People Killed near Pro-Moussavi Rally.” PressTV, 2009.

[29] “Basijis Shot Dead During Tehran Unrest.” PressTV. June 25, 2009, http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=98984§ionid=351020101.

[30] Cyrus News online, http://www.cyrusnews.com/news/fa/?mi=9&ni=2791.

[31] http://i43.tinypic.com/244dvnn.jpg.

[32] “2 More Reformist Figures Arrested over Unrest”. Press TV. June 16, 2009, http://www.presstv.com/detail/98257.htm?sectionid=351020101.

[33] Abootalebi, A. R. “Iranís Tenth Presidential Elections: Candidates, Issues, and Implications.” Middle East 13.3 (2009): 1.

[34] “Iran prosecutor warns of death penalty for violence”. Reuters.18 June 2009; “Iranian newspaper raided, employees detained”. Committee to Protect Journalists. 23 July 2009; “Iran releases some journalists, vilifies foreign press”. Committee to Protect Journalists. 30 June 2009; “Newsweek Reporter Detained”. Newsweek. 21 June, 2009

[35] Kazemzadeh, M. “Prospects and Obstacles: “Solidarity for Democracy and Human Rights in Iran”.” Iran National Front, USA, 2009, 17 May.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Kazemzadeh, M. “Prospects and Obstacles: “Solidarity for Democracy and Human Rights in Iran”.” Iran National Front, USA, 2009, 17 May.

[39] Boroumand, L., et al. “Civil Society’s Choice.” Journal of Democracy 20.4 (2009): 16-20; Kazemzadeh, M. “Prospects and Obstacles: “Solidarity for Democracy and Human Rights in Iran”.” Iran National Front, USA, 2009, 17 May; see website: http://www.we-change.org/

[40] See website: http://www.iranrights.org/english/document-579.php

[41] Statement of “Iranian Women’s Movement Coalition” to Propose Their Demands for the Coming Presidential Election. The Feminist School. April 30, 2009; See http://www.iranrights.org/english/document-579.php

[42] http://www.stop-stoning.org/node/25

[43] Boroumand, L., et al. “Civil Society’s Choice.” Journal of Democracy 20.4 (2009): 16-20.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Abootalebi, A. R. “Iranís Tenth Presidential Elections: Candidates, Issues, and Implications.” Middle East 13.3 (2009): 1.

[46] Boroumand, L., et al. “Civil Society’s Choice.” Journal of Democracy 20.4 (2009): 16-20.

[47] Abootalebi, A. R. “Iranís Tenth Presidential Elections: Candidates, Issues, and Implications.” Middle East 13.3 (2009): 1.

[48] Ibid.

[49] Abootalebi, A. R. “Iranís Tenth Presidential Elections: Candidates, Issues, and Implications.” Middle East 13.3 (2009): 1

[50] Abootalebi, A. R. “Iranís Tenth Presidential Elections: Candidates, Issues, and Implications.” Middle East 13.3 (2009): 1; Dabashi, Hamid. “Iran Conflict Isn’t Class Warfare.” Commentary. CNN June 22, 2009.

[51] El-Affendi, A. “Making Islam Democratic: Social Movements and the Post-Islamist Turn”. Journal of Islamic Studies 19.2 (2008): 297.

[52] See http://www.we-change.org/english/spip.php?article226

[53] Samii, A. W. “Dissent in Iranian Elections: Reasons and Implications.” The Middle East Journal (2004): 403-23.

[54] Abootalebi, A. R. “Iranís Tenth Presidential Elections: Candidates, Issues, and Implications.” Middle East 13.3 (2009): 1.

[55] Ibid.

[56] Ibid.

[57] See Takeyh, R. “Guardians of the Revolution: Iran and the World in the Age of the Ayatollahs”. Oxford University Press. 2009.

[58] Abootalebi, A. R. “Iranís Tenth Presidential Elections: Candidates, Issues, and Implications.” Middle East 13.3 (2009): 1

[59] Bayat, A. “Iran: a green wave for life and liberty.” Open Democracy News Analysis. July 07, 2009 and Dabashi, Hamid. “Iran’s Democratic Upsurge.” Al-Ahram Weekly.952 (18 – 24 June, 2009).

[60] Dabashi, H. “The Crisis of an Islamic Republic.” Al-Ahram Weekly.972 (2009).

[61] Bayat, A. “Iran: a green wave for life and liberty.” Open Democracy News Analysis. July 07, 2009

[62] Ibid.

[63] See for example Setrakian, L. “Iran Protests against U.S. And Regime on Hostage Anniversary.” ABC News (2009).

[64] “Viewpoints: What Next for Iran?”. BBC. June 23, 2009. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8112829.stm.

[65] Abootalebi, A. R. “Iranís Tenth Presidential Elections: Candidates, Issues, and Implications.” Middle East 13.3 (2009): 1.

[66] Dabashi, H. “Rigged or Not, Vote Fractures Iran.” Commentary. CNN.com/World. June 30, 2009.

[67] Ganji, A. “Rise of the Sultans”. Foreign Affairs. June 24, 2009. See http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/65137/akbar-ganji/rise-of-the-sultans.

[68] Abootalebi, A. R. “Iranís Tenth Presidential Elections: Candidates, Issues, and Implications.” Middle East 13.3 (2009): 1.

[69] Abootalebi, A. R. “Iranís Tenth Presidential Elections: Candidates, Issues, and Implications.” Middle East 13.3 (2009): 1.

[70] Abootalebi, A. R. “Iranís Tenth Presidential Elections: Candidates, Issues, and Implications.” Middle East 13.3 (2009): 1. Some of these issues and questions about democracy have been addressed in the current author’s previous writings. See for example, “Iran’s 2004 Parliamentary Election and the Question of Democracy”. Iran Analysis Quarterly. Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 2-6, 2004; and “Iran’s Struggle for Democracy Continues: An Evaluation of Twenty-Five Years After the Revolution”. Middle East Review of International Affairs. Volume 8, No. 2. pp. 38-47, 2004. See http://www.gloria-center.org/meria/2004/06/abootalebi.html.

[72] See Dabashi, H. “Left Is Wrong in Iran.” Al-Ahram Weekly.956 (16-22 July 2009); Dabashi, Hamid. “Iran Conflict Isn’t Class Welfare.” Commentary. CNN June 22, 2009; Samii, A. W. “Dissent in Iranian Elections: Reasons and Implications.” The Middle East Journal (2004): 403-23; Bayat, A. Street Politics: Poor People’s Movements in Iran. Columbia Univ Pr, 1997.

[73] Dabashi, H. “Iran Conflict Isn’t Class Warfare.” Commentary. CNN June 22, 2009.

[74] Study done by Professor Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, one of the most reliable Iranian economists in the U.S., supported by similar data from The New York Times experts study.

[75] Bayat, A. “Iran: a green wave for life and liberty.” Open Democracy News Analysis. July 07, 2009; Dabashi, Hamid. “Iran Conflict Isn’t Class Warfare.” Commentary. CNN June 22, 2009.

[76] Bayat, A. “Iran: a green wave for life and liberty.” Open Democracy News Analysis. July 07, 2009

[77] Dabashi, H. “Iran Conflict Isn’t Class Warfare.” Commentary. CNN June 22, 2009.

[78] According to Eric Hooglund, a senior scholar of Iran with decades of experience in rural areas, in Dabashi, Hamid. “Iran Conflict Isn’t Class Warfare.” Commentary. CNN June 22, 2009.

[79] Dabashi, H. “Iran Conflict Isn’t Class Warfare.” Commentary. CNN June 22, 2009.

[80] Dabashi, H. “Iran Conflict Isn’t Class Warfare.” Commentary. CNN June 22, 2009.

[81] Dabashi, H. “Looking in the Wrong Place.” Al-Ahram Weekly.954 (2-8 July 2009). “In 1997, some three million high school graduates participated in the Iranian national university entrance examination, of which only 240,000 managed to pass through the Seven Tasks of Rostam and enter a university.”

[82] The Basij is a paramilitary volunteer militia founded by the order of the Ayatollah Khomeini in November 1979. The Basij are subordinate to, and receive their orders from, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Consisting of young Iranians who volunteer to join this force, often in exchange for official benefits, the Basij are most notable for their loyalty to the supreme leader Khamenei. Currently Basij serve as an auxiliary force engaged in activities such as internal security as well law enforcement auxiliary, the providing of social service, organizing of public religious ceremonies, and more famously morals policing and the suppression of dissident gatherings. They have a local organization in almost every city in Iran.

[83] Dabashi, A. “Looking in the Wrong Place.” Al-Ahram Weekly.954 (2-8 July 2009).

[84] Ibid.

[85] Ibid.

[86] Ibid.

[87] Bayat, A. “Iran: a green wave for life and liberty.” Open Democracy News Analysis. July 07, 2009

[88]Abootalebi, A. R. “Iranís Tenth Presidential Elections: Candidates, Issues, and Implications.” Middle East 13.3 (2009): 1.

[89] Afshari, A., et al. “The Green Wave.” Journal of Democracy 20.4 (2009): 11-15.

[90] Amir Taheri is author of The Persian Night: Iran under the Khomeinist Revolution. See Taheri, A. “The Fight for Iran’s Future Is Far from Over.” Times OnLine, 2009.

[91] Shahidsaless, S. “Miscalculations Abound in Iran”. Asia Times. June 26, 2009

[92] Shahidsaless, S. “Miscalculations Abound in Iran”. Asia Times. June 26, 2009,

[93] Escobar, P. “Iran’s Streets Are Lost But Hope Returns”. Asia Times. June 25, 2009,

[94] “National Front of Iran”. Asre Nou. 28 Khordad (June 18, 2009), http://asre-nou.net/.

[95] Dabashi, H. “Diary of defiance: Iran Un-interrupted”. Iran News. 15 June, 2009

[96] Abootalebi, A. R. “Iranís Tenth Presidential Elections: Candidates, Issues, and Implications.” Middle East 13.3 (2009): 1.

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