The conservatives in Tehran and in Washington as well as the Iranians, who dream of the fall of the Islamic Republican system, celebrate the victory of new Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Had we have been witnessing the victory of Rafsanjani to presidency; he probably would have removed all obstacles that lie in the way of Iran”s international relations with his pragmatic policies. He supported Prince Abdullah”s Middle East peace initiative and believed that Hezbollah should be disarmed as soon as the Shebaa Farms issue is settled. He also advocated more personal freedom for the Iranian youth. All of these were hopeful signs.
Ahmedinejad”s success has installed a president who is more ideological than pragmatic. He works with slogans more than with real life situations, which may compromise Iran”s reputation, subjecting it to embarrassment both nationally and internationally. His victory may further lead to opposition both at home and abroad.
A substantial number of Iranians did not vote, as they were certain that the leadership of a hardliner or moderate leader would make no difference in Iran. If somebody as strong as Khatami failed to accomplish reform, then Rafsanjani would also be as unsuccessful. Now, with the new president in office, this portion of society may be able to have an impact.
The religious establishment, the guardians of the revolution as well as other parts of society battled for in the Iranian elections on behalf of the "Purity Model" represented by Ahmadinejad rather than the "New Shah” who would sell Iran to America. The strong arrangement of this front saw Rafsanjani out of the race. The majority of the Iranian youth aspired for more liberty and less domination by the religious authorities of public life and personal freedom. The public elections, however, came and destroyed these dreams. Other regional and international powers hoped that Rafsanjani, with his realistic policies, would be successful in the election. He would have made it easier for Iran to manage frozen issues such as that of nuclear weapons. The results, however, have contradicted these expectations.
The coming days will require close observation of the political scene in Iran. Reactions to the new leadership both inside and outside of Iran will be equally as important. It seems that Iran is moving towards more complications and as illustrated by the surprise victory of Ahmedinejad, an ambiguous future lies ahead for Iran.