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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/17/10

Iran's Presidential Election One Year Later -" Why the Greens Failed

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Message Ismael Hossein-zadeh
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One year after his feverishly contested reelection as the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seems to be standing on firmer political ground than any other time of his presidency. Having withstood all the relentless destabilization plots, both from within and without, his government is now more confident at home and more respected abroad. On a broader scale, that is, beyond Ahmadinejad and his administration, one could also argue that today the Islamic Republic of Iran is in many ways stronger and more stable than ever before--notwithstanding the continued demonization of Ahmadinejad and/or Iran by the wicked forces of global domination and their angry and frustrated allies at home and abroad.

Even on economic ground, where relentless pressures of sanctions, sabotage and psychological warfare continue unabated, Iran has weathered those pressures much better than expected. In its May 2010 report on Iran, the IMF points out that while unemployment and inflation still remain high, they have stabilized and, in fact, begun declining. The report notes that, for example, "In the past two years . . . inflation stood at 25.4 and 10.3 [percent] respectively: however in 2010 this rate will fall to 8.5 percent for the first time." The report further predicts that Iran's foreign exchange reserves "will increase $5 billion and reach 88.5 in 2010." This healthy accumulation of foreign exchange reserves stands in sharp contrast with the depleted reserves and huge debts of many countries around the world.

Iran has been quite successful in extending transportation, communication and electrification networks to the countryside; providing free education and healthcare services for the needy; and reducing poverty and inequality. As I have pointed out in an earlier article, "Iran has also made considerable progress in scientific research and technological know-how. All the oppressive economic sanctions by US imperialism and its allies have not deterred Iran from forging ahead with its economic development and industrialization plans. Indeed, Iran has viewed imperialism's economic sanctions and technological boycotts as a blessing in disguise: it has taken advantage of these sanctions and boycotts to become self-reliant in many technological areas.

"For example, Iran is now self-sufficient in producing many of its industrial products such as home and electric appliances (television sets, washers and dryers, refrigerators, washing machines, and the like), textiles, leather products, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural products and processed food and beverage products (including refined sugar and vegetable oil). The country has also made considerable progress in manufacturing steel, copper products, paper, rubber products, telecommunications equipment, cement, and industrial machinery. Iran has the largest operational stock of industrial robots in West Asia.

"Iran's progress in automobile and other motor vehicle production has especially been impressive. Motor vehicles, including farming equipment, now count among Iran's exports. . . . Most remarkable of Iran's industrial progress, however, can be seen in the manufacture of various types of its armaments needs. Iran's defense industry has taken great strides in the past 25 years, and now manufactures many types of arms and equipment. Since 1992, Iran's Defense Industries Organization (DIO) has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, guided missiles, radar systems, military vessels, submarines, and a fighter plane. . . . As of 2006, Iran had exported weapons to 57 countries, including NATO members" [1].

In the international arenas of geopolitical and diplomatic challenges, too, Iran has recently scored a number of important points, and won significant new allies. While the recent Iran-Brazil-Turkey agreement on nuclear fuel exchange has proven Iran's willingness to reduce international tensions, it has also shown the U.S. and its allies as being utterly unreasonable by callously dismissing this important agreement. Likewise, the U.S. opposition to international calls to hold Israel accountable for the atrocities committed against the Gaza aid flotilla has further exposed the arrogant attitude and unilateral foreign policies of the United States and its allies. As these events have, once again, exposed the U.S. as an international bully, they have also given further legitimacy and credibility to Iran's arguments against the bully. Iran is perhaps the only country in the region that determines its own economic, political and military policies independently of foreign powers' advisors, guidelines and dictates--something that many people in other countries in the region (and beyond) are envious of.

While the political standing of President Ahmadinejad, as well as the economic and geopolitical status of Iran, seems to have improved since his June 2009 reelection, the political fortunes of his major adversaries such as Mousavi, Rafsanjani, Karroubi and Khatami have significantly declined; and their "green movement" is in confusion and disintegration. Indeed, Mr. Rafsanjani, the Godfather of the Greens, is so discredited and politically weakened that he has been forced to swallow his purported pride of power and independence of yesteryear and, instead, pay homage to Ayatollah Khamenei as the undisputed leader. Mr. Mousavi, the main challenger of President Ahmadinejad, is also notably marginalized and his influence of a year ago evaporated. His banal and hollow political statements, occasionally posted on his Website, Kalemeh, are often ridiculed not only by the government/Ahmadinejad supporters but also by many of his former supporters, who have gradually abandoned him.

The question is why? How do we explain the disintegration of the "green movement" and the tragic decline of the political fortunes of its leaders?

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Ismael Hossein-zadeh is a professor of economics at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. He is the author of the newly published book, The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism His Web page is http://www.cbpa.drake.edu/hossein-zadeh
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