Saturday, June 15, 2013

So Iran Went Purple

That's okay.  I can do purple.

Has it really been four years since the tragedy of the last Iranian election?  Time flies, I guess, when you're distracted by job-hunting and Scott-raging.  So it's got to be 2013, time for the Iranian people to take the moment when the ayatollahs pretend it's not a theocracy and vote for a President.

And they still openly voted for the most moderate candidate allowed to run.  The apparent winner, cleric Hassan Rouhani, is so far garnering just over 50 percent of the vote, avoiding the need for a run-off election.  Rouhani may be a cleric but politically he was positioned as a moderate, and got pretty much every endorsement of the "Khamenei-Can-Kiss-Our-Persian-Butts" crowd.  The preferred candidate for the hard-line crowd - Saheed Jalili - placed a distant third (and by distant I'm talking from-here-to-Pluto range).

Realistically this doesn't change much.  As Grand Ayatollah, Khamenei still holds all the real power (the military and the street enforcers).  But Rouhani can affect significant change and possibly do a lot to end the economic turmoil that years of corruption have created.  Presenting a more moderate leadership might help ease some of the economic sanctions half the globe has placed on Iran over their questionable nuclear program.

If anything, Rouhani's win as the openly accepted "reformer" candidate is a huge extended middle finger aimed in Khamenei's direction.  He did his best to keep real reformer candidates - Rafsanjani especially - off the ballot... and still got slapped in the face by a majority of Iranians.  Four years of bullying has not broken the spirit of the Iranians: they remain defiant.

The buzz is that the candidates from 2009 still under house arrest may be released any minute now.  The streets are filled with celebrants.  Here's hoping this stays peaceful and joyous.

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