Let me explain why I changed my mind. First, I do not believe in boycotting the election as an effective way to protest. There are many other forms of protest such as writing petitions or participating in gatherings. Boycotting the election is the weakest of all. The reason is simple: By boycotting the election, citizens indicate that they are unhappy with the system, but they do not indicate how much cost they are willing to pay to change the system. In contrast, participants in other forms of protest (where participation is not anonymous) show that they are willing to accept some danger as the price for the changes they are demanding. A dictatorship can easily ignore a low election turn out, but it cannot do so with a street gathering.
The reason I had originally decided not to vote was that I thought the choice is between Moeen and Rafsanjani. I like the ideals of Moeen better, but did not think that he is strong enough to move us closer to those ideals. On the other hand, if Hashemi wins with a low turn out, the popular pressure might lead him to do the "right" thing.
After I heard initial reports of the outcome of the election, I realized that Ahmadinejad, the fundamentalists' candidate, is winning more votes than I had expected. This made me go to the polling station and vote for Moeen. At 4pm, in the only polling station in a city with several thousands of Iranians, I was the 25th person to cast my ballot.
Now, in the second round of the election, we face a choice between Hashemi, a conservative candidate who has proven to be an opponent of political freedom and democracy, and Ahmadinejad, a fundamentalist candidate supported by the Leader and the Islamic militia. I think it is important for us to differentiate between the fundamentalists and the conservatives in Iranian politics. What our country needs even more than democracy is rationality, and rationality is exactly what is lacking from fundamentalism.
The bottom line is that the danger of fundamentalism is far beyond the danger of dictatorship, both for Iran and for the world. Let us get together this Friday in the second round of the election and say a big 'No' to fundamentalism.