It is a bit of a stretch to call Friday’s events in Iran an
“election”. Proper elections are not held in a security climate where
opposition politicians, even those who are or have been part of the
regime, are exiled or in prison. They are not conducted where all
independent media has been muzzled or when reform-minded activists are
detained, exiled, or waiting at home, hoping they do not get arrested in
Some people — how many we do not know, we may never know — voted.
They had two main choices: 1) vote for the powerful because they are
religious or 2) vote for those who are religious for the sake of power.
On the one hand, there are Supreme Leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei’s allies
— the old guard of religious zealots. On the other hand, there are
those who may not be in accord with the Supreme Leader but who have
learned the game of currying his favour on a regular basis.
Some among the latter now may be trying to turn the theocracy into a
quasi-religious dictatorship. How far they will take their effort is not
clear. After all, when a reclusive neighbour closes its doors on
everyone, the only time you can learn anything about that neighbour is
when they come out to dump their garbage. Only then can we discover that
however small the differences may be between the two sides in Iran,
they are slowly separating them.