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June 23, 2005

A Learning Opportunity
Hazhir Rahmandad  [info|posts]

emptyhead.gif Presidential election of Iran is close to an end. Some call it a sham, some say it is the most critical election in Iran in a long time, and some think all the uproar is to get Rafsanjani elected with more votes. One thing is clear, those of us outside Iran have very different opinions on this election, and this can be good because it allows us to learn something out of the whole experience.

But learning is not easy, in this context it requires our understanding that our mental model of the situation has been wrong, and many psychological processes, from data selection and perception bias, to fundamental attribution error, work against such learning. Soon after the election our minds unconsciously will start to change our predictions, our assumptions, and our attributions, to match it with what is observed… and we will lose this great learning opportunity. Therefore, to be able to learn, we need to put a stick where our thought processes are today.

Here I lay out a few questions for myself, and those of you interested in your personal learning, that can act as such a stick. You can copy and paste them to the comment section and fill them in. Of course you need a (pseudo) name so that you can recognize your answers later. In a few days, a few month, or a couple of years, you can come back to the comment section of this article and see what you have predicted and how the reality has unfolded. We can all learn a lot of useful things from this experience, especially if the reality does not unfold as we expect.

For each question give an answer as brief as possible. There is a comment question at the end to give more comprehensive answers where you deem appropriate, or just to write about the article.

1. What are the chances of winning (percentage) for each candidate?
-- i. Ahmadinejad
-- ii. Hashemi

2. What is your position on this election (Boycott, Vote for Hashemi, Vote for Ahmadinejad)?

3. What will be the effect of each candidates winning, on the following aspects of Iranian society, as compared with today's situation (very positive/positive/neutral/negative/very negative)?
a) Economic prosperity
-- i. Ahmadinejad
-- ii. Hashemi
b) Political freedoms
-- i. Ahmadinejad
-- ii. Hashemi
c) Social freedoms
-- i. Ahmadinejad
-- ii. Hashemi

4. What will be the effect on Iran's position in nuclear negotiations (move twords reconciliation/ confrontation)?
-- i. Ahmadinejad
-- ii. Hashemi

5. What will be the effect on chances of a democratic uprising in Iran. (increase/no effect/ decrease)?
-- i. Ahmadinejad
-- ii. Hashemi

6. What will be the effect on chances of military confrontation with U.S./west (increase/no effect/ decrease)?
-- i. Ahmadinejad
-- ii. Hashemi

7. Among what is considered probable by others, what are the three scenarios that will challenge my thoughts most, and therefore I can learn most from them if they happen.
a)
b)
c)

8. Comments:

Comments
hazhir rahmandad at June 23, 2005 08:51 AM [permalink]:

1-What are the chances of winning (percentage) for each candidate:
. i.Ahmadinejad 70%
. ii.Hashemi 30%
2-What is your position on this election (Boycott, Vote for Hashemi, Vote for Ahmadinejad): Vote for Hashemi
3-What will be the effect of each candidates winning, on the following aspects of Iranian society, as compared with today’s situation (very positive/positive/neutral/negative/very negative):
a. Economic prosperity
. i.Ahmadinejad: Very negative
. ii.Hashemi: Netural/positive
b. Political freedoms
. i.Ahmadinejad: Very negative
. ii.Hashemi: Neutral/negative
c. Social freedoms
. i.Ahmadinejad: Very negative
. ii.Hashemi: Neutral
4-What will be the effect on Iran’s position in nuclear negotiations (move twords reconciliation/ confrontation)
. i.Ahmadinejad: Confrontational
. ii.Hashemi: Neutral
5-What will be the effect on chances of a democratic uprising in Iran. (increase/no effect/ decrease)
. i.Ahmadinejad: No effect/decrease
. ii.Hashemi: No effect
6-What will be the effect on chances of military confrontation with U.S./west (increase/no effect/ decrease)
. i.Ahmadinejad: Increase
. ii.Hashemi: No effect/decrease
7-What are the three scenarios that will challenged my thoughts most, and therefore I can learn most from them happening.
a. Hashemi gets elected with a very high margin
b. Ahmadinejad comes into power and Irans economic or social conditions improve.
c. Ahmadinejad is elected and non-violent movement and democratic disobedience gain power.
8-Comments

Hamid at June 23, 2005 10:36 AM [permalink]:

1-What are the chances of winning (percentage) for each candidate:
. i.Ahmadinejad 55%
. ii.Hashemi 45%
2-What is your position on this election (Boycott, Vote for Hashemi, Vote for Ahmadinejad) Vote for Hashemi
3-What will be the effect of each candidates winning, on the following aspects of Iranian society, as compared with today’s situation (very positive/positive/neutral/negative/very negative):
a. Economic prosperity
. i.Ahmadinejad neutral
. ii.Hashemi positive
b. Political freedoms
. i.Ahmadinejad very negative
. ii.Hashemi negative
c. Social freedoms
. i.Ahmadinejad neutral
. ii.Hashemi negative
4-What will be the effect on Iran’s position in nuclear negotiations (move twords reconciliation/ confrontation)
. i.Ahmadinejad reconciliation
. ii.Hashemi reconciliation
5-What will be the effect on chances of a democratic uprising in Iran. (increase/no effect/ decrease)
. i.Ahmadinejad decrease
. ii.Hashemi decrease
6-What will be the effect on chances of military confrontation with U.S./west (increase/no effect/ decrease)
. i.Ahmadinejad no effect
. ii.Hashemi no effect
7-What are the three scenarios that will challenged my thoughts most, and therefore I can learn most from them happening.
a. Hashemi uses a full spectrum of people in his cabinet.
b. Ahminejad causes a more relaxed environment for media
c. Hashemi confronts the hardliners without compromising people's basic rights
8- In any case, I belive reform movement of Iran has been delayed. We might see a temporary improvement in different aspects of life in Iran, but nobody would care about fundamental problems that our coutry faces now.

Somayeh at June 23, 2005 12:28 PM [permalink]:

1-What are the chances of winning (percentage) for each candidate:
. i.Ahmadinejad: 60%
. ii.Hashemi: 40%
2-What is your position on this election (Boycott, Vote for Hashemi, Vote for Ahmadinejad) : Vote for Hashemi
3-What will be the effect of each candidates winning, on the following aspects of Iranian society, as compared with today’s situation (very positive/positive/neutral/negative/very negative):
a. Economic prosperity
. i.Ahmadinejad: very negative
. ii.Hashemi: positive
b. Political freedoms
. i.Ahmadinejad: very negative
. ii.Hashemi: negative
c. Social freedoms
. i.Ahmadinejad: very negative
. ii.Hashemi: neutral
4-What will be the effect on Iran’s position in nuclear negotiations (move twords reconciliation/ confrontation)
. i.Ahmadinejad: confrontation
. ii.Hashemi: can’t say!
5-What will be the effect on chances of a democratic uprising in Iran. (increase/no effect/ decrease)
. i.Ahmadinejad: decrease
. ii.Hashemi: no effect
6-What will be the effect on chances of military confrontation with U.S./west (increase/no effect/ decrease)
. i.Ahmadinejad: increase
. ii.Hashemi: increase/no effect
7-Among what is considered probable by others, what are the three scenarios that will challenged my thoughts most, and therefore I can learn most from them if they happen.
a. If USA and the hardliners reach agreement on what is important to USA and the internal affairs of Iran are forgotten about
b. If Rafsanjani is really changed
c. If people do not keep silent and protest
8-Comments: Regardless of the election results, I believe the fact that many people chose to boycott the election (first round) or did not support Dr. Moeen means that people’s willingness for reform is less than what many of us generally perceive.

Gisoo Talaayi at June 23, 2005 01:23 PM [permalink]:
1-What are the chances of winning (percentage) for each candidate: I have no idea, and don't like to speculate but I am afraid ahmadi nejad would win! . i.Ahmadinejad . ii.Hashemi 2-What is your position on this election (Boycott, Vote for Hashemi, Vote for Ahmadinejad)I don't vote, for many reasons (mentioned previously) including that I live very far from the centers and that many believe the foreign ballot isn't even counted. I hate Hashemi to the bone; and would surely blame myself is Ahmadi nejad is elected! 3-What will be the effect of each candidates winning, on the following aspects of Iranian society, as compared with today’s situation (very positive/positive/neutral/negative/very negative): a. Economic prosperity . i.Ahmadinejad: very negative . ii.Hashemi: taking money from the people to build castles for themselves if I may say! Very negative b. Political freedoms . i.Ahmadinejad: none . ii.Hashemi: none (don't think Iranians know the definition of this just yet, or we wouldn't have had the Council of Guardians!) c. Social freedoms (depending on how you define this. My definition: first amendment rights (for the ones who don't know: freedom of religion, press, speech and expression, right to assembly, and petition.) . i.Ahmadinejad: very negative . ii.Hashemi: negative 4-What will be the effect on Iran’s position in nuclear negotiations (move twords reconciliation/ confrontation) . i.Ahmadinejad: don't know but assume would be highly negative . ii.Hashemi: Negotiation?? this guy can't leave iran for Europe (from my understanding)! How could he even become the president? 5-What will be the effect on chances of a democratic uprising in Iran. (increase/no effect/ decrease) Depends on how you define it, either way the chances of US attacking Iran is high . i.Ahmadinejad . ii.Hashemi 6-What will be the effect on chances of military confrontation with U.S./west (increase/no effect/ decrease) Either way it's high . i.Ahmadinejad . ii.Hashemi 7-Among what is considered probable by others, what are the three scenarios that will challenged my thoughts most, and therefore I can learn most from them if they happen. (What? Appologies in advance, I am not sure if I understand what you mean so if the answer is irrelevant, sorry about that) The following are the impossible, if they happen, I'll probably change my name:))! a. Iranians go on a riot and ask for another election completely. b. Government realizes it's not backed up by, and doesn't really represent the people (like it doesn't already know!) and decided to change for the better. c. Sorry, the above two ate up all my imagination! 8-Comments: Regardless of who is elected to the office, it's a lose, lose situation to me! Someone said it's a choice between a dozd (thief) and a ghatel (murderer), and that's so true! However, I don't think banning the election makes logical sense at all! Hazhir jan, I think you are spending so much time and energy on this (ofcourse I need to take my own advice! I have been talking nonstop about the elections for the past couple of days now) I understand that you don't want Ahmadi Nejad to be the president but to think of the definition of democracy, the president is the person who is chosen by the majority. If the majority of the iranians want him and vote for him, (wisely chosen or not) then the election is really democratic! This may sound dumb to you all, but you need to see the big picture. People who think like us really take up maybe 10 perc ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Maral Shamloo at June 23, 2005 01:28 PM [permalink]:

1-What are the chances of winning (percentage) for each candidate:

see comments

2-What is your position on this election
Vote for Hashemi

3-What will be the effect of each candidates winning, on the following aspects of Iranian society, as compared with today’s situation (very positive/positive/neutral/negative/very negative):

a. Economic prosperity
. i.Ahmadinejad very negative
. ii.Hashemi very positive

b. Political freedoms
. i.Ahmadinejad very negative
. ii.Hashemi neutral/negative

c. Social freedoms
. i.Ahmadinejad very negative
. ii.Hashemi neutral/negative

4-What will be the effect on Iran’s position in nuclear negotiations (move twords reconciliation/ confrontation)
. i.Ahmadinejad confrontation
. ii.Hashemi reconciliation

5-What will be the effect on chances of a democratic uprising in Iran. (increase/no effect/ decrease)

see comments


7-Among what is considered probable by others, what are the three scenarios that will challenged my thoughts most, and therefore I can learn most from them if they happen.

I am not sure if I understand this question

8-Comments

I think some of these questions are rather unscientific. I would like to ask those of you who gave a likelihood estimate of each candidate's vote shares, what your sources were? In the absense of any reliable polls, I think a much better question would be: "who do you think is more likely to win?" Posing the question this way will certainly reduce the standard error of our guestimates.

What is a democratic uprising? yet another revolution? I think this is not unlike asking what is the probability of another roodbar earthquake if either candidate gets elected.

A friend tired of playing politics games at June 23, 2005 02:33 PM [permalink]:

What surprises me is how much iranians outside iran (who recently, in the past five year, moved from iran) make a huge deal about the political issues that people inside Iran simply don't care.

I cannot convince myself that we "care" more about Iran and we "understand" more than the people in Iran. In reality, none of us will come back to Iran, although we always talk about it (even after leaving for more than 20 year abroad). We don't want to compromise any tiny piece of our good life (academically, technologically, economically, liberally …) here for the sake of our country. I just don't get it why when it comes to elections, we care so much for our motherland??? My friend, if you care so much for your country, why you are still abroad enjoying your life? Go back Iran, live there, face all problems there, and then do your activism there. For your reference, the most effective “real” activist who is really trying to help Iranian people in Iran, Shirin Ebadi, doesn’t think and act the way we do.

We are just too nostalgic. Politics is just our main "hubby". Homesick and nostalgic people like us keep writing in their weblogs and these BBs for some other nostalgic people! If people in Iran don't care about the election, it doesn't mean they "boycott", they are just "indifferent". In the past twenty something years, people have learnt how to live their life independent of the government. Musavi, Hashemi, Khatami, and even Ahmadinejad cannot affect their everyday life as much as we think.
Do you think Ahmadinejad, your fundamentalist nightmare, is worse than Musavi, your superman reformist?
The problem is we are too young, we haven’t experienced many things as our parents did. Let’s talk to them, not just for forcing them to do what we decide for them. Let’s talk to them and “listen” to their reasons why they are “indifferent” about political issues in Iran. Let’s accept the reality. The game of politics that we all love to play is just for connecting us to our good memories in Iran while we were undergrad and we were playing politics game about Khatami and Nategh. The truth is the game is over for a long time! The people is Iran finished that game many year ago but we still keep playing it, Moeen vs. Hashemi, or Hashemi vs. Ahmadinejad.

Let's keep our games, our hubbies, just for ourselves. Let's people who live in Iran decide about their lives! People in Iran have learnt how to laugh at the government. Ahmadinejad is a better option for them because they make more jokes about him than anyone else. If we want to play politics, let's play quiet. Let's not bother people in Iran. Otherwise, we will become exactly the same as LA fossils. I have the impression that people in Iran think about both groups, LA fossils and activists like us the same way. We are all out-dated.

I am really tired of playing this game even if most of us love it so much. But we need to keep in mind that this is just a game! If we really want to contribute to our motherland, we should think about some “real” things, issues that match well with our expertise. As (potential) scientists, engineers, economists, etc, we can find better ways to contribute to Iran. We are too old to spend all of our time “playing”.

JRun at June 23, 2005 02:43 PM [permalink]:

1-What are the chances of winning (percentage) for each candidate:
. i.Ahmadinejad 60
. ii.Hashemi 40
2-What is your position on this election
Vote for Hashemi
3-What will be the effect of each candidates winning, on the following aspects of Iranian society, as compared with today’s situation (very positive/positive/neutral/negative/very negative):
a. Economic prosperity
. i.Ahmadinejad: comparing to what Hashemi can bring very negative
. ii.Hashemi: HOPING positive. At least, in this case he is more informed , based on experience!!
b. Political freedoms
. i.Ahmadinejad: very very negative (but very very positive also for his own people, military poles)
. ii.Hashemi: neutral. I am hoping (this is what I want to happen, not what he would do) that he stays on the current track for political freedom. For freedom of speech to be practiced lawfully, still a long time is required as we all know.
c. Social freedoms
. i.Ahmadinejad: very negative
. ii.Hashemi: neutral
4-What will be the effect on Iran’s position in nuclear negotiations (move twords reconciliation/ confrontation)
. i.Ahmadinejad: reconciliation
. ii.Hashemi: don't know. I believe, in the case for Hashemi, it is very hard to predict since he has never been clear and open about his policies. Moreover, in my opinion he is capable of changing his whole plans and promises solely based on his personal benefits. And depending on time, things can change greatly for him.
5-What will be the effect on chances of a democratic uprising in Iran. (increase/no effect/ decrease)
. i.Ahmadinejad: decrease
. ii.Hashemi: no effect/ increase (i want to believe, he is the only one strong enough to stand against rahbari and shoraye negahban)
6-What will be the effect on chances of military confrontation with U.S./west (increase/no effect/ decrease)
. i.Ahmadinejad: increase
. ii.Hashemi:mmm...? I suppose decrease. He is a smart collusioner.
8- comments:
Again and again, a lot of my comments are solely based on my personal preferences, and not unbiased observations. PLus, my comment won't be as reliable since I have been away from Iran for two years.

A Reader at June 23, 2005 02:46 PM [permalink]:

wowowowow !!
empty generalizations!
empty pesimisticism!

JRun at June 23, 2005 02:48 PM [permalink]:

A friend tired of playing political games,
I am going back to Iran after I finish my studies. And that gives me the strongest right, and th emost valid right, to "play" your so called game!
I want to make my future dilemmas easier to handle!
There was no logical need to explain anything to you; but I felt the urge.

Babak S at June 23, 2005 03:30 PM [permalink]:

1. What are the chances of winning (percentage) for each candidate?
-- i. Ahmadinejad: 40%
-- ii. Hashemi: 60%
(This is their share of the vote in my estimate)

2. What is your position on this election (Boycott, Vote for Hashemi, Vote for Ahmadinejad)?
Boycott

3. What will be the effect of each candidates winning, on the following aspects of Iranian society, as compared with today's situation (very positive/positive/neutral/negative/very negative)?
a) Economic prosperity
-- i. Ahmadinejad: down the drain
-- ii. Hashemi: volatile (up and down, not very stable)
b) Political freedoms
-- i. Ahmadinejad: down but with a positive curvature. Saturates quickly due to environmental effects, including but not limited to domestic social pressures building up and international effects.
-- ii. Hashemi: down in average, but fluctuating.
c) Social freedoms
-- i. Ahmadinejad: We'll see bold but empty attacks on social freedoms. A moderate version of the behaviour of political freedoms under him.
-- ii. Hashemi: down on average. Will be visibly attacked by the hardliners, pressure groups, etc.

4. What will be the effect on Iran's position in nuclear negotiations (move twords reconciliation/ confrontation)?
-- i. Ahmadinejad: reconciliation.
-- ii. Hashemi: the same.

5. What will be the effect on chances of a democratic uprising in Iran. (increase/no effect/ decrease)?
-- i. Ahmadinejad: increase
-- ii. Hashemi: almost no effect

6. What will be the effect on chances of military confrontation with U.S./west (increase/no effect/ decrease)?
-- i. Ahmadinejad: no effect
-- ii. Hashemi: no effect

7. Among what is considered probable by others, what are the three scenarios that will challenge my thoughts most, and therefore I can learn most from them if they happen.
a) Nuclear energy talks outcome.
b) Military confrontation with the US
c) -

8. Comments:

SG at June 23, 2005 03:40 PM [permalink]:

A friend:

"The problem is we are too young..."

"We are too old to spend all of our time “playing”."

A friend said other nonsense in her/his comment that I don't find worth my while to respond to.


itchy_thoughts at June 23, 2005 03:56 PM [permalink]:

A friend tired of playing politics games:

"In reality, none of us will come back to Iran, although we always talk about it ..."


Don't be so naive. There people who are boycotting the elections today and keeping their "dignity" this way. They are waiting for someone ELSE to pave the way for a prefect setting where a prefect election can be held.

Then when everything is ready, they will honour all of us by taking part in the election!

Rest assured these types of people will start pouring back into Iran where they can benefit from other people's hardships.

P.S. BTW, politics may be my hobby, but it is certainly not my hubby (husband) ;)

Khaki at June 23, 2005 05:02 PM [permalink]:

1. What are the chances of winning (percentage) for each candidate?
-- i. Ahmadinejad: 55%
-- ii. Hashemi: 45%

2. What is your position on this election (Boycott, Vote for Hashemi, Vote for Ahmadinejad)?
Vote for Hashemi

3. What will be the effect of each candidates winning, on the following aspects of Iranian society, as compared with today's situation (very positive/positive/neutral/negative/very negative)?
a) Economic prosperity
-- i. Ahmadinejad: negative
-- ii. Hashemi: neutral
b) Political freedoms
-- i. Ahmadinejad: very negative
-- ii. Hashemi: neutral
c) Social freedoms
-- i. Ahmadinejad: very negative
-- ii. Hashemi: positive

4. What will be the effect on Iran's position in nuclear negotiations (move twords reconciliation/ confrontation)?
-- i. Ahmadinejad: confrontation
-- ii. Hashemi: move towards reconciliation

5. What will be the effect on chances of a democratic uprising in Iran. (increase/no effect/ decrease)?
-- i. Ahmadinejad: decrease
-- ii. Hashemi: no effect

6. What will be the effect on chances of military confrontation with U.S./west (increase/no effect/ decrease)?
-- i. Ahmadinejad: increase
-- ii. Hashemi: no effect

7. Among what is considered probable by others, what are the three scenarios that will challenge my thoughts most, and therefore I can learn most from them if they happen.
a) Ahmadinejad wins and the economy improves.
b) Ahmadinejad wins and the democratic movement goes forward.
c) Rafsanjani wins and he confronts the hardliners.

8. Comments:

Shabnam at June 23, 2005 05:10 PM [permalink]:

1. What are the chances of winning (percentage) for each candidate?
-- i. Ahmadinejad 45%
-- ii. Hashemi 55%

2. What is your position on this election (Boycott, Vote for Hashemi, Vote for Ahmadinejad)?

Boycott for sure.

3. What will be the effect of each candidates winning, on the following aspects of Iranian society, as compared with today's situation (very positive/positive/neutral/negative/very negative)?
a) Economic prosperity
-- i. Ahmadinejad negative
-- ii. Hashemi negative
b) Political freedoms
-- i. Ahmadinejad very negative
-- ii. Hashemi very negative
c) Social freedoms
-- i. Ahmadinejad very very very very negative
-- ii. Hashemi negative

4. What will be the effect on Iran's position in nuclear negotiations (move twords reconciliation/ confrontation)?
-- i. Ahmadinejad confrontation
-- ii. Hashemi hidden confrontation (is that possible? I guess anything is possible from rafsanjani)

5. What will be the effect on chances of a democratic uprising in Iran. (increase/no effect/ decrease)?
-- i. Ahmadinejad decrease
-- ii. Hashemi decrease

6. What will be the effect on chances of military confrontation with U.S./west (increase/no effect/ decrease)?
-- i. Ahmadinejad increase/no effect
-- ii. Hashemi decrease

7. Among what is considered probable by others, what are the three scenarios that will challenge my thoughts most, and therefore I can learn most from them if they happen.
a) If Hashemi gets elected and people's situation won't get much worse
b) If Ahmadinejad gets elected and people's situation get much worse than if Hashemi gets elected
c) If the voter turnout is less than 10%, and the election announced flawed. (This is not probable, but the best option)

8. Comments:

Shabnam at June 23, 2005 05:17 PM [permalink]:

Something not so funny:

In this poll, everyone who thinks Hashemi have less chance of winning is voting for Hashemi. Isn't that kind of illogical? If you think he is loosing anyways, why do you vote? Is he that adorable and irresistible? Here, when I vote for someone whom I know is not going to win, is because I want to show my moral support of their party, or their politics. Is that what you guys are doing? Because all of you said up to now that the reason you want to vote for Hashemi is tht you want him to win. If you think he is not winning why are you voting? "keh moshte mohkami be dahan-e tahrimi-haa bezanin?"

one-liner at June 23, 2005 05:50 PM [permalink]:

Shabnam,

My best guess may be that candidate 1 will win, but I am not sure about it (I may assign a 60 percent chance that he will win). So, it doesn't feel futile to try to vote for candidate 2. (there is a 40 percent chance for him to win, and my activities can change that chance).

The Mathematics that one learns in high school should not only be applied to the problems in the Math book, but also to real life problems. Especially something like probabilities.


Shabnam at June 23, 2005 07:11 PM [permalink]:

Thanks a lot one-liner. I surely needed the logic and the math lesson. Since you did not actually talk about your percentages, I can not do the math for your case. But let's for the sake of argument say that JRun is thinking that Hashemi has 40% chance of winning and the other guy 60%. So let me see if I can get this straight, you think that if he decides to vote for hashemi, his own prediction (60-40) changes to a majority vote for hashemi and he gets elected? That is very interesting math and very very very interesting logic.

SG at June 23, 2005 07:40 PM [permalink]:

Shabnam,

It is exactly because we fear A may win that we vote for B. Plain and simple.

The illogical logic is the following: Since X is going to win anyway, why do I bother voting for Y?

Mehdi Y. at June 23, 2005 09:03 PM [permalink]:

1. What are the chances of winning (percentage) for each candidate?
-- i. Ahmadinejad: 50%
-- ii. Hashemi: 45%

2. What is your position on this election (Boycott, Vote for Hashemi, Vote for Ahmadinejad)?
Vote for Hashemi (hesitantly)

3. What will be the effect of each candidates winning, on the following aspects of Iranian society, as compared with today's situation (very positive/positive/neutral/negative/very negative)?
a) Economic prosperity
-- i. Ahmadinejad: negative
-- ii. Hashemi: neutral
b) Political freedoms
-- i. Ahmadinejad: very negative
-- ii. Hashemi: neutral
c) Social freedoms
-- i. Ahmadinejad: very negative
-- ii. Hashemi: positive

4. What will be the effect on Iran's position in nuclear negotiations (move twords reconciliation/ confrontation)?
-- i. Ahmadinejad: confrontation
-- ii. Hashemi: confrontation (tries reconciliation but will be prevented by the hardliners and will be drifted to confrontation)

5. What will be the effect on chances of a democratic uprising in Iran. (increase/no effect/ decrease)?
-- i. Ahmadinejad: increase (unrest by the youth + ethnic groups)
-- ii. Hashemi: increase (unrest mainly by the poor fueled by the hardliners)
*hard to tell whether they would succeed.

6. What will be the effect on chances of military confrontation with U.S./west (increase/no effect/ decrease)?
-- i. Ahmadinejad: increase (much more)
-- ii. Hashemi: increase
*see my comments

7. Among what is considered probable by others, what are the three scenarios that will challenge my thoughts most, and therefore I can learn most from them if they happen.
a) Ahmadinejad would increase political freedom (hehe).
b) Ahmadinejad would shave his beard and buy a better suit after becoming the president.
c) Rafsanjani would free all the political prisoners and have lunch with Akbar Ganji.

8. Comments: Neither of the candidates will be able to pay the price for reconciliation with the US. Ahmadinejad won't pay because his mindset is highly ideological. Rafsanjani won't pay because if the hardliners lose the election will prevent him from rapproachment with the US.

Most of my answers above are merely speculations. There are many unknowns. As Ahmad Zeidabadi wrote in the roozonline newspaper, both of the choices are dark wells that Iran is falling into. Rafsanjani's dig is something that Iranians can probably get out again without bloodshed because they did it once before when he was president from 1989-1997. But we don't know anything about the depth of Ahmadinejad's hole.

Mehdi Y. at June 23, 2005 09:03 PM [permalink]:

1. What are the chances of winning (percentage) for each candidate?
-- i. Ahmadinejad: 50%
-- ii. Hashemi: 45%

2. What is your position on this election (Boycott, Vote for Hashemi, Vote for Ahmadinejad)?
Vote for Hashemi (hesitantly)

3. What will be the effect of each candidates winning, on the following aspects of Iranian society, as compared with today's situation (very positive/positive/neutral/negative/very negative)?
a) Economic prosperity
-- i. Ahmadinejad: negative
-- ii. Hashemi: neutral
b) Political freedoms
-- i. Ahmadinejad: very negative
-- ii. Hashemi: neutral
c) Social freedoms
-- i. Ahmadinejad: very negative
-- ii. Hashemi: positive

4. What will be the effect on Iran's position in nuclear negotiations (move twords reconciliation/ confrontation)?
-- i. Ahmadinejad: confrontation
-- ii. Hashemi: confrontation (tries reconciliation but will be prevented by the hardliners and will be drifted to confrontation)

5. What will be the effect on chances of a democratic uprising in Iran. (increase/no effect/ decrease)?
-- i. Ahmadinejad: increase (unrest by the youth + ethnic groups)
-- ii. Hashemi: increase (unrest mainly by the poor fueled by the hardliners)
*hard to tell whether they would succeed.

6. What will be the effect on chances of military confrontation with U.S./west (increase/no effect/ decrease)?
-- i. Ahmadinejad: increase (much more)
-- ii. Hashemi: increase
*see my comments

7. Among what is considered probable by others, what are the three scenarios that will challenge my thoughts most, and therefore I can learn most from them if they happen.
a) Ahmadinejad would increase political freedom (hehe).
b) Ahmadinejad would shave his beard and buy a better suit after becoming the president.
c) Rafsanjani would free all the political prisoners and have lunch with Akbar Ganji.

8. Comments: Neither of the candidates will be able to pay the price for reconciliation with the US. Ahmadinejad won't pay because his mindset is highly ideological. Rafsanjani won't pay because if the hardliners lose the election will prevent him from rapproachment with the US.

Most of my answers above are merely speculations. There are many unknowns. As Ahmad Zeidabadi wrote in the roozonline newspaper, both of the choices are dark wells that Iran is falling into. Rafsanjani's dig is something that Iranians can probably get out again without bloodshed because they did it once before when he was president from 1989-1997. But we don't know anything about the depth of Ahmadinejad's hole.

Mohammad Mahdian at June 23, 2005 09:14 PM [permalink]:

1. What are the chances of winning (percentage) for each candidate?
-- i. Ahmadinejad 55%
-- ii. Hashemi 45%

2. What is your position on this election (Boycott, Vote for Hashemi, Vote for Ahmadinejad)?

Vote for Hashemi

3. What will be the effect of each candidates winning, on the following aspects of Iranian society, as compared with today's situation (very positive/positive/neutral/negative/very negative)?
a) Economic prosperity
-- i. Ahmadinejad: neutral/negative
-- ii. Hashemi: neutral/positive

b) Political freedoms
-- i. Ahmadinejad: negative
-- ii. Hashemi: negative/neutral

c) Social freedoms
-- i. Ahmadinejad: very negative
-- ii. Hashemi: neutral/positive

4. What will be the effect on Iran's position in nuclear negotiations (move twords reconciliation/ confrontation)?
-- i. Ahmadinejad: not sure
-- ii. Hashemi: move towards reconciliation

5. What will be the effect on chances of a democratic uprising in Iran. (increase/no effect/ decrease)?
-- i. Ahmadinejad: no effect/increase
-- ii. Hashemi: no effect

(here i mean an uprising, whether it's democratic/undemocratic i can't say. but i think if there's an uprising, it'll be mostly for reasons like lack of social freedom or economic reasons, and not democracy).

6. What will be the effect on chances of military confrontation with U.S./west (increase/no effect/ decrease)?
-- i. Ahmadinejad: increase
-- ii. Hashemi: decrease

7. Among what is considered probable by others, what are the three scenarios that will challenge my thoughts most, and therefore I can learn most from them if they happen.
a) if one candidate wins by a landslide
b) if ahmadi nejad gets elected and ends up giving more social freedom (which i find unlikely)
c) if hashemi changes position and moves closer to hardliners

one-liner at June 23, 2005 09:59 PM [permalink]:

Very funny: "Depth of Ahmadinejad's hole". Let's see, what do you guys think has happened to Raf's hole since 8 years ago? Has it become deeper, maybe because he didn't like the fact that we could get out of his hole the last time?

Shabnam at June 23, 2005 10:06 PM [permalink]:

SG and one-liner,
Okay, let me make my comment more clear. What I have heard so far from people who argue to vote for Hashemi is that the want him to win with a big margin so that they cannot rigg the votes again and make ahmadinejad the president. BUT since all of you already believe (or speculate) that ahmadinejad will win, your reasoning (if is similar to what I am describing) won't work. You all speculate that ahmadinejad will win, but still vote for Hashemi. Because of your votes, the voter turn out will be high again, and therefore, as in the first round, can be rigged again. Is it so hard to understand? Anyway, I understand voting out of fear, and I won't say what should be done. I thought about voting too. But at least play the reasonings and your responses a few times in your head, so at least you are convinced. No need to convince someone else.

Shabnam at June 23, 2005 10:16 PM [permalink]:

And one more thing for SG,

you said "The illogical logic is the following: Since X is going to win anyway, why do I bother voting for Y?"

I cannot agree with you more, when the voting is in a democratic, safe society. Not where none of you can even accept that the first round was not rigged, and none of you can promise than the second round won't be rigged. In a normal democratic society, as I have mentioned it before as well, I always vote for my candidate, regardless of them winning. I want to support them and want my voice to be heard. If you want to vote for Hashemi, make sure that at least your voice is heard. You didn't make noise for rigging the votes in the first round as much as you made noises for ahmadinejad's scary looks (you I mean voters for Hashemi). so at least this time, make sure it is your voice that is heard, not someone else's decision. By accepting that ahmadinejad will win (common among all of the voters who answered the questions), your voice can be easily silenced, and voted can be rigged, and noone can say a word, since as you see, before the election, YOU ALL HAVE ACCEPTED THE ILL FAIT OF THESE EECTIONS.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at June 23, 2005 11:37 PM [permalink]:

1. What are the chances of winning (percentage) for each candidate?
-- i. Ahmadinejad: 35-40%
-- ii. Hashemi: 60-65%

2. What is your position on this election (Boycott, Vote for Hashemi, Vote for Ahmadinejad)? Boycott

3. What will be the effect of each candidates winning, on the following aspects of Iranian society, as compared with today's situation (very positive/positive/neutral/negative/very negative)?
a) Economic prosperity
-- i. Ahmadinejad: very negative
-- ii. Hashemi:very very negative
b) Political freedoms
-- i. Ahmadinejad: very negative but superficial and ineffective. due to this it will increase them in the long run.
-- ii. Hashemi: very negative but subtle and long lasting.
c) Social freedoms
-- i. Ahmadinejad: the same as above
-- ii. Hashemi: neutral/increase a bit at the beginning

4. What will be the effect on Iran's position in nuclear negotiations (move twords reconciliation/ confrontation)?
-- i. Ahmadinejad: move towards reconciliation (by force from above)/not certain how much he can resist or put a show at the beginning)
-- ii. Hashemi: move towards reconciliation

*The more relevant question would be the West's position and how much they could trust the intentions and power of the president

5. What will be the effect on chances of a democratic uprising in Iran. (increase/no effect/ decrease)?
-- i. Ahmadinejad: increase
-- ii. Hashemi: decrease

6. What will be the effect on chances of military confrontation with U.S./west (increase/no effect/ decrease)?
-- i. Ahmadinejad: increase
-- ii. Hashemi: increase

* military strikes(targeted) depend on the nuclear case, thai Iran is not going to give up, and as time goes by it will increase.
**ground invasion very improbable in any case
*** Non military US engagement in regime change will increase under Ahmadinezhad and decrease under Hashemi

7. Among what is considered probable by others, what are the three scenarios that will challenge my thoughts most, and therefore I can learn most from them if they happen.
a) Ahmadinezhad is verutureins with a considerable margin.
b) Hashemi wins but does not push for real changes in Iran's foreign policies, like direct negotiations with the US etc.
c) Hashemi wins and stops the developement of nuclear weapons for good.
8. Comments:

Our knowledge about the future will be is extremley limited, especially immidiate future. The important point is instead to focus on what we could be certain are wrong principles, policies etc. and leave them aside in our decision making.

heydarbaba at June 24, 2005 02:08 AM [permalink]:
Hazhir; I think what you have done is pretty creative and also challenging and I have never seen anything like your suggestion in any other place ...but I am not surprised either after all you are an Iranian and I never doubetd the creative talent of Iranians and I am not even waving the flag, just being matter of factly about it. I won't answer those questions as you presented them because I don't know much about Ahmadinejad and his past other than that he was a Basiji and now the mayor of Tehran. However I will put in my two cents on Rafsanjani. There are two things about Rafsanjani, one is that he is predictably unpredictable and the other is that he is a born leader and this pretty much runs in their family. I remember when in northern california we had a three days, more than twenty city tour protesting the Black Friday massacre that happened in Tehran under Shah's regime, we went from north to south and demonstrated more than three days non stop with carevan of more than 30 cars covered with posters and slogans all over them. My car (a beat up 69 Ford LTD!!) had Rafsanjani's brother Mohammad, Zarif (the UN guy) me and another youg very funny guy Ali who most of the times either sang for us from Baba Taher or simply slept. Mohammad being in my car would make us the lead car and that is how it was. Leaving Fresno, it got dark and I got on the back roads thinking they knew what I was doing and Mohammad dozing off in the back thinking I knew where I was going. So we got lost and therefor another more than thirty cars that were following us got lost without knowing. Finally one of them turned on their high beams and signaled us to stop and I did. Hossein(currently a Parliament deputy from Tehran) a very clever operational guy came to the window totally agitated and in his usual serious demeanor told us we were lost and started bitching. Before me, Zarif or Ali could say a word Mohammad who had just opened his eyes told Hossein in a very calm and a confident voice: No this is the right way, tell every body that. He was so convincing that Hossein , eventhough a natural born skeptic immediately accepted and said ok and apologized for stoping us. I told Mohammad I have no @#$% clue where we are or where we are going, why did you tell him that? His answer was : "it is ok we can't let them know we are lost we will figure it out." Even though I knew him but he still surprised me with his shrewd quickness and leadership. Lucky for him it turned out we were only a mile from highway entrance. This fast thinking, shrewd, cut throat natural leadership runs in Rafsanjani's family. So let me use this knowledge and make some predictions, the worst can happen I will make a fool out of myself..it wouldn't be the first time. Lets remember a few things that Rafsanjani has done in the past that no one would want to do. I am doing this to show a pattern and simply extrapolate that pattern to the future. 1) It was him who started this lets call it "Iranian version of sexual revolution" (which has led to great deal of abuse) in Iran when he in one of the friday prayer sermon talked about women who lose their husbands shouldn't stay single and it is perfectly fine for them to get married again. (War was still raging )He talked about Sigheh and how our young people who can not afford marriage but also have physical, emotional needs should not be conflicted about Sigheh. He elaborated on this and of course there was an UPROAR from many corners of the c ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
one-liner at June 24, 2005 03:35 AM [permalink]:

Ferdowsi's words were beautiful. Roozegar sits us down in front of the teacher very violently every once in a while. I guess the smart ones sit down before they are forced to.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at June 24, 2005 03:59 AM [permalink]:

oops.
corrcetion of a misspelling:
a) Ahamdineshad is victourous with a large margine (ie a landslide)

AGAin I must reiterate what I said in the commnets. Principles and logical argumentation and refutations are important not prophecies.
For example, the precentages of votes any candiudate will bring is irrelevant and completey useless. Our knowledge of such things are very very limited to base a good predicition on, and in the future similar evenst will remian as limited,so the comparisons of previous predictions will not come in handy either.
Just one xample.
The same with many other issues.

Instead ask logical questions that can be refuted or not with our present knowledge.(As I have tried to do)

An Iranian Student (AIS) at June 24, 2005 04:19 AM [permalink]:

If this has come down to reciting Fredowsi I have one too:
Sare naakasaan raa barafraashtan
vazishaan omid-e behee daashtan
sare reshte-ye kheesh gom kardan ast
be jeyb andarun maar parvardan ast
.
.
.
To lift the head of no-goods and expect a good result from this is losing your own thread and bringing up serpents within your sleeves.
(if only Iranians have understood this in the slat 26+ years)

and while we are at it, there is another myth that goes well with what our "progressives" are trying to do, to keep safe, and not to face the risky but fruitful choices that will bring real freedom. There is this story about a certain Golden Calf and its seducing familar security in the lack of new, easy to follow, slave-appealing guidlines at the time when Moses was not around and the people were "frightened" by "some" all the time.

Very becoming to our times this ancient myth is.

SG at June 24, 2005 08:18 AM [permalink]:

Shabnam,

Part of what you say is due to the apparent fact that you don't understand what "probability" means. I don't blame you, because that's quite a contentious concept. (It may be worth noting to those who participated in this game and their two probabilities don't add up to 100%!)

Part of it, however, is some of the things that have been argued over and over and responded both here and by Iranian writers. Just go to some political weblogs and you'll see.

Shabnam at June 24, 2005 11:58 AM [permalink]:

SG,

I think at this point I need to stop arguing with you. this is going no where. I just want to tell you a story (totally irrelevant to the elections).

It was world cup of 1994 finals. We were all gathered at my friends house in "darakeh" to watch the games. There were lots of people, many of them I didn't know. Those days I was in the swimming team of my university, and felt that I was the most athletic person in that room. I was cheering for Italy and hoping for Italy to win. There was a guy, whom I never met before. He was constantly cheering for Brazil (I guess it was Brazil). Anyway, those are sidelines. He was constantly telling me that Italy will loose, and I started to get very annoyed, and it got much worse when Italy actually lost. He was acting like he was a champion himself, and taht was even worse. So I told him: "It would have been nice if you would play some sort of sports instead of sitting all day watching it." and then I added: "I know it must be hard for you to actually play sports, but try it sometimes, I am sure you will like it". (Well, I was in the swimming team of my university, and surely that gave me the right to talk to this guy like that) :) Of course what I told him was very stupid, because I didn't know him. I just said this because I was annoyed. Long story short, he was Iran's Tennis Champion (Ali Daii of Tennis). I actually realized it after he gave us some tickets to go and watch him play.

So, I am not angry that you have taken this patronizing tone with me and my abilities to understand prbability. That's fine. I have done a similar thing too, when I really wanted Italy to win, and unfortunately, they didn't. (Although, I do not want to imply that I am like Ali Daii of probablity, I am sure you know that from my lack of probabilistic understanding!!!)

But I hope later, when you are not pissed off for the elections, you realize that what you said had no actual basis, and may be next time you wanted to criticize someone personally, someone whom you do not know at all, you think twice.

SG at June 24, 2005 12:12 PM [permalink]:

Shabnam,

Surely if I knew you were such a strong girl, I would have thought twice before uttering those "patronizing" words. (Trust me, "probablity" is like "economy". Nobody really understands what it is or how it works!)

All sarcasm aside, I'm glad that at least *you* are not pissed off (I am not as much pissed off as I am agitated, if that makes any sense at all) at my remarks. Also, thanks a lot for the story. It had a soothing effect on me because it took this election obsession off my mind for a minute.

I have been trying to get back to "normal" and carry on with the stuff I'm supposed to do, but I haven't been very successful. Anyway, to take a little advantage of your little story, I fear that with AhmadiNejad as our president, we will see fewer and fewer women's swimming pools and in Iran.

What do you think?

An Iranian Student (AIS) at June 24, 2005 08:33 PM [permalink]:

Well there goes some of my attempts at divination. I think the first of the scenarios came about and I need to reconsider some of the premises I had about the relative standings et the top of power structure.
I still think that the regime has missed a big chance by the defeat of Rafsanjani and is the big loser here.
I also hope those who still advocated voting and going for power positions within this system have learned how wrong they were. The People did boycott the system. The hardliners had their usual vote plus probably those in economic hardship that were disilluioned with the "reform" within the system. They should and could have been won over by the real forces of democracy who had called for a grass-root opposition to the entire system. This is still possible and it shows why the ones like Ganji were the real pragmatists and realists and at the sametime those who remianed on their priniciples and so , unlike the govermental "reformists", are not totally defeated now, but will gain more and more credibility and trust, including the trust of those whose backs are breaking under financial hardships and clinge to a creature like Ahamdinezhad for hope. Their need should now be our biggest ally in civil disobedience.

I hope those among us who spend all their time advocating for votes, with little success, now can find time to join others who have been trying to win international support for the plight of the prisoners.

heydarbaba at June 24, 2005 09:27 PM [permalink]:

hmmmm.....now that Ahmadinejad has been elected, should we be scared?..I will simply copy and paste a portion of my post for another article...it is a bit more relevant here now than before....

What if Ahmadinejad wins the election?. Would that imply that the end is near?. I don't think so. In fact one of the reasons for Vali Faghieh being there is to have a continuity in the stability of Iran with all these presidents and parliament deputies coming and going every four years. Even if Ahmadinejad takes Iran to some unchartered waters, I am not worried. Khatami's Government has been acting in such a risk-free style that I think it is almost imperative that the next president does something little risky ..just for the fun of it!!. I also remember that Richard Nixon was a right wing republican. But he signed the most liberal welfare laws ever. I remember that when Ronald Reagan started running for presidency, his opponents painted him as a war monger, who was going to start the third world war. When he was elected, the hippies and their friends in Berkeley California were rioting and demonstrating for three nights in a row. Lot of cars were burned. In fact Reagan , did tell the head of his nuclear negotiation team to deliver a message to the Soviets :Tell them you work for a tough son of a bitch(his exact words). But third world war didn't happen. He doubled America's debt but during his term Soviet empire dissolved. I remember that Bush the father promised Americans :no more new (nu) taxes and he ended up giving the biggest tax increase in the US history. I remember that it was Clinton , a so called liberal democrat who balanced the Budget, (not republicans), it was Clinton that turned US debt into surplus (to be turned once again into US debt by the Bush, son ) and it was Clinton the liberal democrat who threw many people out of welfare system and saved billions of dollars not some greedy republican. I also remember that once an ayatollah who had just come out Shah's prison had impressed his listeners by telling them about the movies that he had watched in the prison. He had watched the movies that even his young so called intellectual listeners would consider them TOO INDECENT, UNACCEPTABLE based on their religious beliefs and yet this ayatollah was such an open minded person who not only had watched those movies but had some really detailed review of those movies, directors actors, the colors, theme and the story of the movie and what have you...he had impressed his young audience dearly. In case you are wondering, that ayatollah's name was and still is Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi....

Arash Rejaiyan at June 25, 2005 05:56 AM [permalink]:

too late :(
ahmadi nejaad wins the election.
sorry for my dear country.
for those who don't know I still live in iran.
I am poor and not reach but I use my brains and I fear a lot for my country.

Rahaa at June 25, 2005 11:56 AM [permalink]:

Salaam doostaan

I predict the situation to be much better than the previous years. At least now, the government is uniform and the people who are going to be in power will be less corrupt.
All this negative propaganda against Ahmadinezhad is not true and I see a bright future for Iran under his government , if Iranians stop begin superficial and be more pragmatic.

itchy_thoughs at June 25, 2005 04:07 PM [permalink]:

Many unassuming and assuming Iranians are gleeful that AN has won the second round. They keep saying that "things all will turn to one side now" or "the government is uniform" like Rahaa here.

Can you just articulate what you mean instead of limiting to some blanket statements like that?

Where on earth did a "uniform government" do anything productive? Hitler and Saddam had uniform governments.

Squabbling is part of the democratization process. Even democratic governments have it a lot.

Rahaa, it seems you live outside of Iran. At least take this opportunity and learn it where you live. Factions (or political parties) inside the governments need to fight each to let ordinary people live by themselves. Otherwise your "uniform government" will have time to shove things up ordinary people's ass.

The best example of a "uniform government" that was successful and effective was Nazi Germany or fascist Italy that built those countries from the rubbles of WWI... before destroying them in WWII. Maybe that's what you have in mind, Rahaa.

What is every body else who is joyful hoping for? Iran going on the slippery slope of a civil war? Or an uprising? Or the US liberating them?

In all three scenarios, Iranians are the losers and going down with it too. This time the territorial integrity of the country is in danger.

Unfortunately Iranians have a tendency to blow things up as soon as things start looking up. They have proved it historically and they are at it again.

Arash Jalali at June 25, 2005 05:00 PM [permalink]:

"If politics is to become scientific and if the event is not to be constantly surprising, it is imperative that our political thinking should penetrate more deeply into the springs of human action. What is the influence of hunger upon slogans? How does their effectiveness fluctuate with the number of calogries in your diet? If one man offers you democracy and another offers you a bag of grain, at what stage of starvation will you prefer the grain to the vote? Such questions are far too little considered..." - Bertrand Russell's Nobel Prize acceptance speech.

Rahaa at June 26, 2005 04:16 AM [permalink]:

Salaam

The elections showed a devastating disconnection between the intellectuals and the people. They also showed the inability of the reform movement in using their resourses(over 20 million votes) and their reactionary responses to the conservative elements.
In my opnion, the Iranian problem is not democracy. Iranians do not want a democracy dictated by the external forces. What Iran needs is a democracy based on Islamic principles which is not out of reach. The reformist intellectuals do not have a clear understanding of the demands of the underrepresented portions of the society. In my opinion, the main problem is forgetting the basic Islamic principles among the Iranian people. Unless this is solved and all Iranians unite under one umbrella based on a quest towards Islamic democracy, nothing will change.
Furthermore, Ahmadinezhad is not Saddam Hossen or Hitler. He has is a good man. This is a grave misunderstanding and emotional response that I usually hear from the people who are outside/inside Iran.
The outcome of the recent election, was unavoidable considering the lack of cultural revolutioin in different levels of the Iranian society including the intellectuals.
This is a station that Iran needs to pass and I believe the people around Ahmadinezhad are less corrupt and more hard working than the reformists.

Rahaa at June 26, 2005 04:20 AM [permalink]:

Salaam

No dont get me wrong. I am not a proponent of uniform governments. But considering Iran's problems at the moment and the inability of the reformists and their passiveness, uniform government will be more helpful in serving the basic needs of the people.
However, I keep my fingures crossed to see the Cabinet. My opnion might well change if Ahmadinezhad chooses the wrong people to lead.

Rahaa at June 26, 2005 04:29 AM [permalink]:

One more thing is that , I agree for now Iranians chose to forget about human rights and democracy(meaning freedom of speech and the press). We didnt have these anyways because of the passive Khatami government. If you see the reformist failure, it is partly the result of Khatami's inability in keeping his promises and standing against the conservatives.
But the people chose to elect Ahmadinzehad and of ocurse, he will not respect democracy, and human rights, but if he chooses the right people, Iran can be better in other fronts.
For now, we need to forget about the democracy and see that people do not care about democracy(as definied by the international forces) and care more about their basic needs and livelihoods.

itchy_thoughts at June 26, 2005 10:03 AM [permalink]:

Rahaa,

You made a few comments that i agree and disagree with many of them. But my question is not Iranians' putting democracy in their priority. As a matter of fact I have made a lot of comments arguing you can't push democracy when people have trouble making the ends meet.

Let me focus on my question to you then:

You are talking about Islamic democracy, but then you welcome a uniform government or demanding "all Iranians unite under one umbrella based on a quest towards Islamic democracy".

Uniformity, being united under one umberlla is contradictory with democracy. Democracy means acknowledging the diveristy of opinions and respecting that.

Then how on earth an ultra-conservatives whose supporters beat up Javadi-Amoli (who was with them until a while ago) is supposed to help Iranians achieve "Islamic democracy"?

If you accuse me of being cynic of this Ahmadinejad, don't you think that you are a bit too trusting of him?

In the country where you live there is the ruling Liberals who are dogged with corruption. But the people the this country in question won't let the rival Conservatives take over. You know why? Becuase they think the Conservatives have hidden agenda. How are people like you trusting someone who has open agenda?

Again I am not asking what the vast majority of Iranians think. I know many of them are poor and Ahmadinejad is not gonna affect their lifestyle.

I am asking why you, like-minded people, and even those who are hoping for a popular uprising out of frustration think the way you think.

Rahaa at June 26, 2005 10:51 AM [permalink]:

Thanks for your comments. In a country where 40% of the people are under the poverty line, talking about democracy is irrelevant. Even in Canada, you deduct all salaries by 50% and you will see people begin tearing each other apart. So I hail Iranian people as a very patient people.
The Khatami government was a sham at most and Moein would have been the same thing. All the achievements of the past were superficial. If they were real, believe me, 17 million would not have voted for Ahmadi.
We just need to be patient and future will show everything soon.

A Reader at June 26, 2005 12:51 PM [permalink]:

Raha!
Magnificent comments!

itchy_thoughts at June 26, 2005 02:12 PM [permalink]:

OK. I have to try again:

Can you articulate what a blanket statement like "future will show everything soon" means?

Do you think Ahmadinejad will turn up the heat of the Iran's pressure cooker and eventually it will explode? Or do you think he will spread the Islamic democracy?

What are you hoping for?

Rahaa at June 26, 2005 02:38 PM [permalink]:

Hi

I think Ahmadinezhad is a missing link towards democracy in Iran.
I dont think the society will explode.
But just wait and see who will be in his cabinet. I may be very wrong.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at June 26, 2005 03:20 PM [permalink]:
Rahaa, in a subtle way I actually agree with you. But let me explain. Ahmadi-nezahd is definitely a fascist, no doubt in that in my mind. But so are all the people in this ystem since itrs inception including the likes of Ebrahim Yazdi in Nehzat Azadi. Fascists and terrorists and unless their system collapses Iran will not see better days than this. The point that was raised this past week however was in arelative fascims, or so it was being presented. The common belief I guess is that Ahmadi-nezhad represents the most fascistic factiosn of this system. One never knows anything for certain, as I continuely insist here, but I don't think so. The most fascistic faction of this system was, is and always has been the leftist islamists who in recent years have dubbed themselves "reformist". They were the most viscious terrorists and killers in the first decade of the revolution. But what makes them really the most dangerous is that they are also the most modern and that , untill this election, they had the grip, "rag-e khaab" as we say in persian, of the majority of Iran's population, the majority that was craving for modernism since at least a hundred years ago and were and are the most importnat and relevant force of change in the country (they still have it on some of the clueless "secular" students abroad as many pro-reform weblogs still show, but the rate is negative at the moment and if it continues this way fewer and fewer will remain like this.) They were the main force behind the revolution and behind turning it to this islamic entity that we see. Many of them, turning then into so-called technocrats, were the ones who succeeded in bring many to vote for Rafsanjani in his first 8 years of office, out of fear of the past. Again many of them, turning into "reformists" were the most influential in getting Khatami elected for two terms despite his lack of a tinge of competence. Now the tide is turning and this is good. Let's see, who climbed the walls of the US embassy? They are all "reformist" now. Who massacred the opposition forces? Khalkhali. He was pro-khatami. Who instigated the hezbollah , here and in lebanon- the new age nazis and SS, Mohtashami, pro-khatami and nmow Karrubi's nominee of vice presidency. Or lets talk of Mir Hossein Musavi, their still silent messiah. The (first) destroyer and annihilator of Iran's economy. He and his team , the present "reformists", who were resposible in the sharp rise of the population. "Each child that is born, is mouth that shouts Allah Akbar", remember? This electiosn gave a chance to be pro-democracy and modernization and to be in a diffrent position than their newest "version" happened to be, for the first time in the past 16 years, at least for one in my generation (I am under 30). The fresciousness and savagrey that they exhibit against their opponenets, even now that they claim to be pro-democracy, and the way they twist reality to suite their agenda is really remarkable. Take Ebrahim Nabavi for example. I used to like him a lot. But look at him now. and look at him when he writes a love letter to Khatami, khatami!, and calling him the best and greatest political figure in recent history and even the future of Iran! Why? becuase he "remained clean"! What the heck does this mean I don't know. No matter that he didn't accomplish ANYTHING he promised. Instead he looked good and cried a bit so let's love him. This same writer then has the gall of accusing everyone of his opponents of ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
itchy_thoughts at June 26, 2005 06:37 PM [permalink]:

Rahaa,
Thanks for your patience. But it seems I can't have you explain your viewpoint in just one shot. So I gotta push it one more notch.

"I think Ahmadinezhad is a missing link towards democracy in Iran."

Care to elaborate?

Rahaa at June 27, 2005 09:19 AM [permalink]:

Hi

The path towards democracy(specially an Islamic democracy) is quite different from the path taken by the west. The kind of democracy that we see in the west will not work for Iran. I do not think Ahmadinezhad is a fascist. Second, dont get me wrong, Iranian revolution was one of the greatest things happened to Iran , but the road towards democracy in a religious system is difficult and requires alot of work by the intellectuals.
However, I stree, the system must be Islamic and without Islam, all these rhetoric about democracy is useless. But, one has to see the reality of Islam which is demoratic in nature.
What we need is a society that has capacity to accept Dr.Moein and his programs. Maybe we will see this 8 years from now. I just hope that nothing disasterous happens and the US does not interfere with our internal issues.

Rahaa at June 27, 2005 09:47 AM [permalink]:

When I say that a nondemocratic person like "Ahmadinezhad" is a missing link in Iranian democracy,I mean that Iranians need to UNDERSTAND that without democracy,long term economic prosperity is impossible. 26 million of our people do not respect human rights, so what are we to say anything???Only 4 million voted Moin.. So talking about democracy with this culture is irrelevant.
The people need to experience "fasism", and see for themselves the distasters! I hope it will not be a disasterous experiment though.

itchy_thoughts at June 27, 2005 10:34 AM [permalink]:

THere is somethings that doesn't add up.


"When I say that a nondemocratic person like Ahmadinezhad is a missing link in Iranian democracy,I mean that Iranians need to UNDERSTAND that without democracy,long term economic prosperity is impossible."

I am trying to think the way you do: democracy first and then economy. Still don't understand how Ahmadinejd is supposed to help democracy.

Unless you meant without prosperous economy democracy is impossible. And think that that Ahmadinejad will brong about that prosperous economy. Am I correct?

Babak S at June 27, 2005 02:20 PM [permalink]:

Rahaa,

I'm afraid there is nothing called "Islamic" democracy. Western/European democracies all took root and developed in religious (much darker) age of Europe, and so are completely relevant to our experience. Of course there are local differences, just as the French democracy is different from the Italian one or from the British one. But one thing is the same, and that is the human expereince. These are all the same human experiences.

Another thing that is mistaken, I think, in your comments is the sociological analysis of the votes you make. Do we know who voted for whom and why? My answer is a simple no. It is particualrly not true that 26 million people in Iran do not "respect" human rights, even less true that human rights was represented (neither solely nor fully) by Moeen in this elections. Even if this statistical claim was true, even if only 10 people in this country "respected" human rights, it would be no basis for concluding "what are we to say anything???" Think about this: how many people care, in their innermost layers of thinking or even just enough to motivate them to act, about gay rights in, say, England? They are, I venture to say, in an absolute minority. Yet, the activism of a few such people has led the entire society to start looking at the issue in a new light and "respect" the gay rights.

Rahaa at June 28, 2005 05:05 AM [permalink]:

Hi

Please see the following link regarding recent interview with Dr.Ahamdinezhad's cultural consultant. You will be surprised!
http://web.peykeiran.com/new/iran/iran_news_body.aspx?ID=24760

Rahaa at June 28, 2005 05:43 AM [permalink]:

By the way, the true democracy can only be realized under Islam. Otherwise, it will look like some thing like the US democracy which is so pathetic, you are ashamed of calling it a democracy.

itchy_thoughts at June 28, 2005 02:48 PM [permalink]:

Rahaa,

Your link didn't open, but I guess it must be something like:
http://roozonline.com/01newsstory/008181.shtml

If hypothetically AN has such a plan, that doesn't make the people behind him any more than a bunch of scumbags.

AN is the protege of Mesbah and his team. They control a ruthless and rabid team of bikers who used to beat up people. Remember?

Whenever someone from within the system dared to try to challenge the status quo they were out there to intimidate people while they were busy stabbing that attempt from inside.

Now that they have the full house, do they really want to do what others could have given us much earlier if it hadn't been because of them? Isn't it because they want to take the credit for it?

People who put their own interest ahead of their country and sabotaged everybody's effort to change and made us miss a lot of opportunties here and there. That's what I call them. They shouldn't be cause for celebration.

Even if hypothetically they run the country based on their new people-friendly agenda, and make the people happy, I'd say poor us that we get satisfy with the people who caused us so much loss.

Am I too far off, Rahaa?

Rahaa at June 28, 2005 03:11 PM [permalink]:

Hi

You are right about the people around him, but I am not sure if he can afford to give them too much power. If he does, it will not look good for the whole system and it would actually be a disaster for the country. I think they are clever enough to know. Now they have the whole system and they can not blame anyone else. So if they make a mistake, the leader himself is the responsible person. SO this is on positive point about this election.
Let us just wait and see what Iran will look like in 4 years.

itchy_thoughts at June 28, 2005 04:03 PM [permalink]:

"...but I am not sure if he can afford to give them too much power."

That's why I am still cynic. The guys around him and above him (e.g. Mesbah) are lunatics, and quite frankly if AN has the best intentions, he is just too powerless. And that's too much of optimistically looking at him.

Still I see a big contradiction between what his cultural aide had to say and what Mesbah has been cooking for us for so many years.

In a nutshell, if AN genuinely means well, he can't do much with Basij and Mesbah and people like them around him. We have to wait for when he is blowen up in an accident or something then.

If not, he and his team are just a bunch of liers.

BTW, don't count too much on the leader's powers. He also gets his credibility from people like Mesbah and others behind the stage.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at June 28, 2005 06:18 PM [permalink]:

Sorry I posted it in the wrong thread. So again:
Here is an interesting article. I wonder what others think about it:
Strategy of the ruling faction (in Persian)

Armin Shams at November 16, 2005 07:33 PM [permalink]:

in the name of GOD,

I read here (by itchy_thoughts): "The guys around him [Ahmadinezhad] and above him (e.g. Mesbah) are lunatics"

It seems that when we talk about someone like Mr. Mesbah, we have different information sources with different variety and also we have different levels of negligence in deduction that totally yield different results (e.g. of personality of political figures). I do not share the same image with the pessimists, however in the other hand I do not feel very optimistic about most of key political figures in post-revolution Iran (let alone the pre-revolution ones).

Please take a look at this PDF:

http://www.mcc.org/respub/pon/Peace_Office_01_07_09.pdf

From page 7 you can see a beautiful interview with Mr. MesbahYazdi. Compare it to the begginning of this article that indirectly shows Iran and US as enemies while as Mr. MesbahYazdi says, our real enemy is an evil minority abusing the power (including the media) in the US and outside.