by Ardeshir Ommani
The latest election for the Eighth Iranian Majlis (Parliament) took place on Friday, March 14, 2008, and according to Iran’s Interior Ministry, 65 percent of the nation’s 43 million eligible voters cast their ballots without the slightest disturbances or mishaps that are so common in many places during elections, not to mention the debacles in Florida’s 2000 and Ohio’s 2004 elections. Iran’s turnout was 14 percent higher than in the 2004 Parliamentary elections when 51 percent of the voters participated, said Hassan Khanlou, the chief of the ministry’s election committee.
Both President Ahmadinejad and Supreme leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called on the Iranian nation to take part in the election and by doing so show to the world and particularly the United States and its western allies that the nation is in support of Iran’s domestic and foreign policies, including in defense of the independence, sovereignty and development of nuclear energy for civilian purposes.
The massive turnout and energetic participation of overwhelmingly young people in this election shows that the new round of United Nations Security Council sanctions and massive U.S. anti-Iran propaganda beamed at the youth of Iran, especially the wealthy strata in northern Tehran and other metropolitan centers, did not affect the nation’s clarity of purpose. Interior Minister Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi said on election day that “…the world had the opportunity to take note of the Iranians’ response to [the U.N.] resolution.” According to IRNA (the Islamic Republic News Agency), the tens of millions of dollars spent by the U.S. on satellite TV and radio programs, such as Radio Farda, BBC, and Voice of America, to undermine the ruling faction of the Iranian government, headed by President Ahmadinejad, and at the same time, prop-up the so-called reformist faction, served in fact as a booster to the Iranian people’s sense of responsibility and patriotism. “Whenever the western powers increase their pressure on the Iranian nation and government, our people are more strongly motivated to show up at the polling station,” said Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, Iran’s Interior Minister.
Addressing a large number of ordinary people, not searched and hand-picked as in the case of President George W. Bush’s town meetings and supposed public addresses, Ayatollah Khamenei said, “By voting for the most efficient and devout candidates who believe in social justice, defend Iran’s national interests and have a clear stance against the enemies, the determined Iranian nation will elect a powerful Majlis, loyal to Islamic principles.”
Until recently, the imperialist countries, headed by the U.S., were hoping to be able to bolster the liberal bourgeois reformists against the radical faction in the government. But after the election, when it became clear that the reformists could not claim more than 40 out of the 290 seats in the Parliament, they have contented themselves with a new spin that President Ahmadinejad’s faction would be confronted with a newly-hatched and imaginary group called “moderate conservatives.” The U.S. and its allies must be desperate to settle for a conservative group nick-named “moderate”. No wonder that in Afghanistan, the U.S. is trying to appease the “moderate Taliban” and in Iraq bribe the “moderate Baath Party” members. Apparently Bush, Cheney, and now McCain will go to bed with anyone in order to oppose the true Patriotic forces in any country in the world.
Returns from across the country show that the pro-Ahmadinejad radical faction, which is also supported by Ayatollah Khamenei, has won a clear-cut majority of the votes in both the cities and the countryside that are populated by the working class mass, i.e., the workers and peasants who could not even dream of living in the luxurious high rises of northern Tehran, where a few million wealthy families that aspire to imitate the fashion models in New York and Paris, and as a hobby chatter about human rights.
In Washington, the State Department’s mouthpiece Sean McCormack, dared to criticize the Iranian elections, spewing “in essence the results…are cooked. They are cooked in the sense that the Iranian people were not able to vote for a full range of people.” The facts show that Mr. McCormack is either ignorant of the facts that for 290 seats, the Iranian people had more than 4,500 candidates to choose from (that is over 16.2 candidates per seat), or intentionally misrepresents the reality. On the basis of this ratio, there would have to be 1,620 candidates running for the seats in the U.S. Senate. Has the United States ever had numbers in that magnitude running for the seats in the U.S. Senate? Secondly, Mr. McCormack, who feels free to interfere in the domestic politics of Iran orders “Iranian leaders to end interference in future Iranian elections, including the 2009 presidential election.” What a farce! A junior White House official like McCormack has the audacity to admonish Iranian leaders of a great country with a long history of civilization. One must ask who is really interfering in the domestic elections of other countries, President Ahmadinejad or President G.W. Bush? One has only to look at the crimes that the United States has committed in the last seven years, in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon. The U.S. is famous for wanting to oversee other peoples’ elections all over the world, so that their elections would pass the “standards” reached in Florida in 2000, and in Ohio in 2004.
Now that the results of the Parliamentary election have proven that the Iranian government has its deep roots in the entire population, and has the support of a great majority of the Iranian people, with regards to its domestic and foreign policy, particularly in the arena of the civilian nuclear industry and uranium enrichment, it sees no necessity to continue meeting with the members of the Security Council and Germany, which was an artificial construct by the U.S. to influence public opinion in Iran and around the world. The 5+1 Group was designed to bring extraordinary pressure on Iran via Russia, China and the EU states. Iran has long stated that its nuclear issue has to be resolved within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency, its proper place, and not through the Security Council and imposition of punitive sanctions.
--Mathaba author Ardeshir Ommani is a political commentator on Iran-U.S. Affairs. He can be contacted at: