Iran’s 11th presidential election since the Islamic Revolution 34 years ago produced a stunning victory. With nearly 73 percent of the electorate turning out last Friday to vote for six presidential candidates perhaps the real winner to emerge was Iran – its people and its democratic system.
Hassan Rohani takes pride of place as the new president of Iran having won over 50 percent of the votes. Mr. Rohani’s election surprised many observers. What his triumph and the turnout in the polls indicate is that Iran has a free and fair democracy, which has a massive mandate from the people.
Six candidates had free and equal access to Iranian media to present their manifestos, and the people then decided; as it turns out they decided for a surprise winner.
Contrast that vibrant and free exercise in people power with the lassitude of many Western states, where voter turnout is often as low as 50 percent; and where the electorate is presented with an empty “choice” between two candidates or parties, all controlled and vetted by the corporate ruling elite. The United States of America is perhaps the most salient exponent of this moribund and oxymoronic state of Western so-called democracy.
In the US, no-one can run for election unless they are bankrolled by billions of dollars. The top one percent of corporate and financial rulers makes the shortlist of presidential candidates from which the electorate is permitted to “choose”. The US system is the antithesis of democracy and that’s why almost half of the electorate – more than 100 million people – don’t even bother going to the polling stations. They know it is a waste of time and vote – because the result is pre-determined by the ruling elite; and that’s why there is never any change in America’s plundering, criminal policies at home and abroad.
The other noteworthy aspect of the Iranian election was the high turnout among young people. Many of these younger voters would not have been born during the Islamic revolution of 1979; many more of the voters would not have had personal experience of the horrible US-backed dictatorship of the Shah (1953-79). That means the active participation of the younger Iranian generation in the latest election is a further sign of genuine popular support for the Islamic revolution, the constitution, the electoral system and the country’s leadership under Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
This confounds the Western political and media propaganda, which purports to disparage Iran as somehow less than democratic. Their precise aspersions are not worthy of being repeated here. But the main point is that those Western pundits who insinuated that the Iranian people would boycott the election have been proven spectacularly wrong. The Western propaganda is seen to be so far from reality and ineffectual in its purpose. Its impotence and hollowness is a reflection of the death in Western democracy itself. The Western politicians and media pundits are living in a gilded bubble of unreality cut-off from the rest of the world and even their own people.
In short, the world has seen more than ever that Iran is a modern and thorough democracy.
The big question now is will this change Western foreign policy towards Iran? After all, the Western government and media mantra is that Iran is not a democracy. This mantra is invoked to justify the application of draconian economic sanctions against Tehran. But this mantra has shriveled up as a pathetic calumny under the glaring spotlight of the flawless Iranian election.
What becomes apparent – more than ever – is that the economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the US and European Union are aimed at hurting Iran’s 80 million civilians – the vast majority of whom evidently love their country. These sanctions are therefore not only unjustified; they are despotic, criminal and barbaric, and, by any reasonable deduction, they must be halted immediately.
Coupled with this are the facts that the Iranian nuclear program is beyond any reproach. Not a whit of evidence either from the International Atomic Energy Agency or from Iran’s own foreign enemies can detract from the country’s noble intentions of harnessing nuclear power for civilian development. And the Iranian people who came out in huge numbers to vote – despite years of vindictive Western sanctions – have shown to the world, with rightful defiance, that it is their nation’s inalienable prerogative to pursue its nuclear ambitions.
The great Iranian election of 2013 is a supreme moment of truth. It is when the hypocrisy, deception and criminality of the American and European governments have become inimitably exposed.
Given the stunning triumph of democracy in Iran – the complete absence of even a semblance of Western-engineered dissent as in the previous election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009 – what possible excuse can these Western elitist powers now hide behind in order to “justify” their continuing punishment of the Iranian people with these barbaric sanctions?
The Iranian people have won. They have withstood the bullying of Western regimes, including the threats of war, to demonstrate that Iran is a democracy of immense civility. The Iranian people have won the argument and the cause for truth in the eyes of the world. It is now up to the Western regimes to fundamentally change their policy towards Iran and to treat the Iranian people with the democratic respect that they deserve.
However, that fundamental change – although necessary and right – will probably not be forthcoming. That is because the arrogant imperialist Western powers are set on a destructive and criminal course of regime change in Iran as they are in Syria and before that in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan. The Western regimes do not in reality have a problem with Iran’s nuclear industry or allegations of democratic deficiency – the latter is laughably illustrated by their cozying up with the most despotic dictatorships on the planet in the form of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The real grievance of the Western powers is that the Iranian people are independent and consummately dedicated to democracy. That “grievance” for the Western arrogant powers is only stronger than ever in the light of the Iranian election.
Given the criminal logic of the Western imperialist regimes, Iran’s democratic victory is even more cause for Western belligerence. But these corrupt Western regimes are crumbling into dust and so too is their has-been power.