Pipes sees regime power play in Iranian '(S)election'

Mideast analyst Daniel Pipes  finds much unexpected good news in the outcome of the Iranian "(s)election," as he refers to it, with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the declared winner.  This is the choice of the real power in the country, Supremel Leader Ali Khamene'i.    

    • Ahmadinejad remains the lunatic face of Iran to the world, making it difficult to argue that the mullahs' regime is mellowing and its possession of nuclear weapons poses no threat. Had Mousavi won, policy would have remained roughly the same because, as one Iranian insider puts it, "the government of Iran executes foreign policy decisions made by Iran's supreme leader," yet the regime would have appeared much less threatening.

    • Ahmadinejad symbolizes the rejection of Barack Obama's overtures to Iran and, as such, his selection represents a slap in the face of the American president's pro-Islamist policies.

    • Ahmadinejad remains in charge of the Iranian economy, which he is progressively wrecking, thereby reducing the country's capabilities to make mischief abroad.

    • Ahmadinejad also determines the social mores, which he has tightened to the point of rebellion, assuring that his subject population grows more alienated from the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    • Supporters of the opposition candidates have not accepted the results, leading to riots in Tehran. In the description of the Los Angeles Times, "Searing smoke and the smell of burning trash bins and tear gas filled the night sky. Protesters poured into key squares around the capital, burning tires, erecting banners and hurling stones at riot police on motorcycles, who responded with truncheons."

    • Yesterday's sham election may be a turning point, the moment when the much-suffering population found its collective voice against the regime. It bears noting in this regard that the Iranian population in 1978-79 mounted what was perhaps the largest-scale rebellion ever against a government. It could do so again.

As Pipes explained earlier, religion and state are not separate in Iran; the Supreme Leader Ali Khamene'i

controls key institutions (foreign policy, the military, law enforcement, the justice system) of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In contrast, the president primarily concerns himself with the softer domains such as economics and education. 

And Mousavi, the loser is not really the good guy; he is the architect of Iran's nuclear program, an individual who also hates Israel--but not as loudly--and the United States.  To paraphrase the late Menachem Begin, Israel's Prime Minister, who when asked who he preferred to win--Iran or Iraq--wished them both the best of luck.  And so I wish both Ahmadinejad and Mousavi both the best of luck.