That Iranian Election

June 10, 2009 4:29 p.m.

This morning we discussed Friday’s presidential election in Iran. Iran lacks the saturation coverage of fairly reliable public polling data. But there are signs — based on anecdote and some polling data — that the race between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and reformist Mir-Hossein Mousavi has tightened dramatically in recent weeks and that Ahmadinejad might actually lose. At a minimum it seems like there’s decent chance that he’ll be forced into a run-off later this month.

We must note all the standard caveats — that ‘reformists’ and hardliners in Iran both operate within the consensus supporting the country’s theocratic regime, that the country’s internal politics operates on a lot that has nothing to do with Obama or Israel or most of the other things we tend to think in terms of. In fact, Ahmadinejad’s management of mismanagement of the country’s economy seems to be playing a major role creating dissatisfaction with this government.

That said, a significant part of Mousavi’s campaign has been the charge that Ahmadinejad has needlessly isolated the country with confrontational stance vis a vis the West. And Ahmadinejad’s defeat, whatever its mix of domestic causes, would shake up most of the big crises and problems facing the Mideast — and the US.

So, with that in mind, I want to share two links with you. First, our slideshow of images of the campaign, which has been particularly raucous and is just now coming to a conclusion. And next is Laura Rozen’s discussion of official Washington’s silence, as policymakers and administration officials wait to see the outcome of Friday’s vote.

Late Update: And as MJ Rosenberg notes, some neocons seem to be in something like a panic that Ahmadinejad could actually lose.

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