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article imageAhmadinejad Boasts of Free Election in Iran

By Chris Dade     Jul 7, 2009 in World
On the day that the leaders of the Iranian opposition claimed that the country had become a "security state", newly reelected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has spoken of what he called the "most free" election in the world.
The initial reaction to President Ahmadinejad's words might be that they are yet another example of the propaganda in which the Iranian regime has indulged of late.
But closer inspection reveals that all might not necessarily be well within the power structures of Iran.
As he spoke on television the President repeated the same lines that he and many other Iranian leaders had already uttered many times before, blaming foreign powers for trying to undermine the legality of what he called "the most free election held anywhere in the world". However, as the BBC reports, there was also an acknowledgment that:
The structure of the government should change based on the requirements of today... The changes in the government will be significant.
Whilst those changes could actually entail even more suppression of dissent within Iran it is highly unlikely, despite the grandstanding to which he is often prone, that he would publicize such an intention. Speculation perhaps but it sounds as if those individuals and bodies that wield more power than the president, and there are quite a few, have told him to offer, if not actual conciliatory words, then at least a recognition that the people of Iran do have a desire to see some change in the manner in which the country is governed.
Regardless of what the President might say, his words are unlikely to hold much credibility with the men he defeated in June. Claiming supported from Mehdi Karoubi, another of the election's defeated candidates, and Mohammad Khatami, a former Iranian President and the man who stood aside so that he could run as the main reformist candidate in the election, the leading opposition candidate for president Mir Hossein Mousavi has issued a statement through his website criticizing the way in which the Iranian authorities handled the post-election protests.
Ghalamnews, the website in question, told of the "attacks against innocent people, dormitories, and houses... and some shocking brutalities carried out by plainclothes forces supported by security forces" and said that the protesters killed were those "whose only crime was to object to the election fraud... at spontaneous several-million-strong demonstrations held in extraordinary peace and order". The BBC then reproduced another paragraph from the website statement which concluded:
If their rights had been slightly respected or if the people had not been lied to or disrespected, the situation would never have turned to a national crisis.
One group in Iran most definitely unrepentant about their role in crushing the pro-democracy demonstrations is the Revolutionary Guard. Their commander spoke today of how the Guards' actions had served to "strengthen the pillars" of the Islamic Revolution and had imbued it with "new life."
There does seem to have been something of a comparative lull in the news coming out of Iran during the last few days. Whether that is a good sign or bad sign, only time will tell. Nevertheless it seems unlikely, certainly for the immediate future, that the large demonstrations on Iranian streets, that were seen all around the world, will be repeated. But it seems equally unlikely that Mr Mousavi and his allies will give up the fight so easily and they may yet serve up a surprise or two for the Ahmadinejad government.
More about Ahmadinejad, Iran, Mousavi
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