Absolutely Not Expected

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is of course smart, too. Hassan Rouhani’s victory was inevitable. At 50.7% it would have been a so often exercised easy task to give clandestine orders to the Interior Ministry to round down his votes a bit and let him run next Friday against Tehran’s mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, something which had functioned very well in 2005 when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad captured a landslide victory of 64% in the second round. His competitor then was Hashemi Rafsanjani; and then number three Mehdi Karroubi spoke openly of election fraud.

But this time, the Grand Ayatollah saw plenty advantages of not interfering, not yet. The high turnout in excess of 72%. The clear result with its large margin (Qalibaf got just 16%, Saeed Jalili only 11%). That Iran may be portrayed, from now on and forever, as shining democracy. Well, the only democracy in the Middle East. (Who considers apartheid Israel a democracy any longer?) Disciplined citizens have expressed their determined will, even somehow in opposition to the hardliners’ establishment. The world looked at Tehran today with pleasure. Will the nuclear issue eventually be solved? The future can only be better. A great day for everybody. That’s what Ali Khamenei had probably in mind.

The question remains, what Barack Obama may make of this. He has just considered a no-fly zone for Syria, Iran’s strongest ally in the Middle East. It may now be president-elect and former nuclear negotiator Hassan Rouhani’s turn to reach out for better relationships between the arch enemies. No kidding, isn’t it high time to actually go to Tehran?

15 June 2013 @ 8:35 pm.

Last modified June 16, 2013.

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