Part 1; continues: … Part 2 …;
previous discussion of the Iranian elections here
Among downcast Iranian journalists and academics, the chatter focused on why the interlocking leadership of clerics, military officers and politicians, without whose acquiescence little of importance happens, decided to stick with Mr. Ahmadinejad. Did they panic at the unexpected passion for change that arose in the closing weeks of the Moussavi campaign? Did Mr. Moussavi go too far in his promises of women’s rights, civil freedom and a more conciliatory approach to the West? Or was the surge an illusion after all, the product of wishful thinking?
The optimists in Iran and abroad have to ask themselves whether the joyful ruckus that filled the streets represented a new popular force or just an opportunity to let off steam. While Iran is not quite the closed society many imagine — it is a nation of text messagers and Facebook users, with access to Persian-language BBC broadcasts and other independent voices — it is still a controlled society.
Previous discussion of the Iranian elections here
[links added by RB]
Perspective: When a moderate Muslim squares off against a religious ideologue in a society that does not believe in basic women’s rights… the ideologue wins. The war continues. But the possibilities of the impossible, the Obama win… are there. .