History in the making today in Iran with the first potential loss by an incumbent first term President post the revolution thirty years ago.
Ironically, Ahmadinejad’s challenger Mir-Hossein Mousavi may win not because the country has a 30% unemployment rate and double digit inflation rate but rather his ace in the hole, wife Zahra Rahnavard. The most respected and revered woman in Iran, she has galvanized the women of Iran in such an unprecedented way that for the first time ever, they become the pivotal swing vote.
The only question – Are they enough to get him the necessary decisive majority 50+% to be declared winner? Note there are more than two candidates running (actually 4), potentially siphoning critical votes from Mousavi. Think what Ross Perot did (taking 20%).
If not, a runoff election (June 19, 2009) between he and Ahmadinejad will happen and then all bets are off.
To be clear, Mousavi is no panacea change for the West. While he wishes to improve the relationship with the western world, he is not publicly willing to suspend Iran’s nuclear ambitions or recognize the right of the state of Israel to exist.
The difference or perhaps gain for the West with a Mousavi win is that at least it would now have a rational intellect in Tehran to begin constructive dialogue on all these critical issues.
Bottom-line, the women of Iran are positioned today to teach a profoundly chauvinist society a real lesson in girl power. Let’s hope enough women risked it all to vote – today….when it counts.
You go girl!