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Ahmadinejad’s Crises: The Internal Uprising - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The real surprise would have been if a presidential candidate other than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the elections and became the new president of Iran. Ahmadinejad’s second term victory was expected and is only natural in light of the status quo. Vote rigging is the easiest thing to do for a security, religious regime that does not believe in opportunities but believes that it is its right [to rule]. It sees that winning the elections is a battle of destiny, for which it is ready to fight as well as rig.

We should not pin hopes on the growing anger of the Iranian masses as the confrontation between the government and the masses is failing and we already know what the outcome will be. This is at least for the time being, but in the future we should not ignore the fact that the bubble has burst. In spite of the regime’s endeavours to cut internet cables and to end telephone calls to hinder communication between members of the angry youth, the whole world is watching the regime’s ordeal as it truly faces an internal uprising.

Until now, the uprising is internal, but the Tehran regime is very likely to use the same methods as regimes that impose victory. Pushed beyond limits by its confidence in an illusory victory, we will watch Ahmadinejad’s government move its internal crisis abroad, in a similar way to Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Dictatorship of the mind is a crisis that lives off other crises.

What we have seen so far of the Iranian elections is nothing but a domestic conflict and, as usual, the party in control of the weapons ended up victorious. I fear that the future will be far worse than just the rigging of votes as we will witness people wanting to settle scores at a later stage on the pretext of confronting conspiracies.

Perhaps the elections have brought about internal and external confrontations quicker, which would mean that we are facing a new era in Iran’s modern history. It is a decisive time for the regime, as it is the first time for thirty years since the revolution that an internal uprising has erupted under the leadership of ruling figures such as Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

There’s not much difference between today and the recent past; when Mohamed Khatami was president, a position to which he held on tight and that he had won in a fair manner, they made a mere puppet out of him, and the protests of his supporters did not go beyond the university campuses. Whereas today, the leading opposition figures are stronger and the demonstrations have gone beyond universities and poured onto the streets of Tehran. Therefore, the regime’s golden era, when the youth served as the pillar of the revolution, has come to an end. The youth has now become a thorn in the side of revolutionists. The regime is going down the same road as its predecessor; the Shah’s regime. The Shah was not overthrown by armed battles, but by the growing angry masses until the prisons and the streets became overcrowded with people.

There are no great expectations that the masses will bring about change overnight because with an iron fist, the Revolutionary Guards controls all aspects of the state, claiming that this is the people’s choice. Yet the regime is facing a dangerous division with its people. Therefore, as I said at the beginning, we might see Iran accuse its opponents of being traitors and resort to external battles to consolidate its control.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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