With an over 80% turnout and apparently a real alternative to the incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in the person of the former prime minister and moderate “green” candidate, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, it would appear that the current election in Iran proves that Teheran most certainly does not have to look to Washington when it comes to lessons in democracy. Nevertheless, “Uncle Sam’s” expectations would be slightly out of place if he were to expect that this real democracy is going to work completely in his favour. Mousavi has promised direct talks with the US if he is elected president but he appeared to rule out a halt to Iran’s nuclear programme.(1) Moreover, while the issue of detente with the West will not be completely lost on the millions who are coming out in favour of a change, it is Ahmainejad”s management of the economy that might lose him the election. What we can all hope for is that, should there be a change, the economic reforms promised by Mousavi will lead to a pragmatic economic detente that will have positive political spin offs. Neither, however, will happen if “Uncle Sam” thinks that he has found his “Uncle Tom”.
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