Re: Keynes: Marx and the Koran

On Sep 21, 2007, at 1:49 PM, Chris Doss wrote:

Yoshie can speak for herself, but I think her opinion is the that best that contemporary Iran can realistically do is its current government. Which may or may not be true, I don’t know.

That’s a pretty gloomy POV. We’ll see what happens come 2009.

Why are there no credible opinion polls in Iran?


Financial Times - September 21, 2007

Khatami plots comeback By Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Tehran

Iran’s reform-minded former president, Mohammad Khatami, is
considering running for the 2009 elections in the apparent hope that
he will be seen as a saviour who can extricate Iran from domestic and
international troubles.

While cautioning that it is still early days, close allies of Mr
Khatami say he remains one of the rare personalities in Iran who has
enough appeal to wrest the presidency from fundamentalists. “He is
willing to run and we think he’ll win in a landslide if elections
were held today. But we still have to wait and test the waters in due
time,” said one ally.

Another ally said Mr Khatami had become increasingly pessimistic
about Iran’s prospects, with the escalation of the nuclear dispute
with the west and the deterioration of relations with Europe under
the radical President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad.

Diplomats from the five permanent members of the United Nations
Security Council will meet in Washington today to discuss further
action against Iran over its refusal to suspend its uranium
enrichment activities.

“He thinks both domestic and international developments will go in
such a wrong direction that the regime [leaders] will askhim to run
to help the survival of the system,” said the ally.

Whether this proves to be more than wishful thinking remains to be
seen. Mr Khatami, who governed in 1997-2005 with a reformist agenda
that advocated “religious democracy” at home and detente with the
west, ended his second term disillusioned and facing accusations that
he had disappointed his support base.

While hardliners blocked some of his key reforms, including attempts
to expand the powers of the presidency, his followers became
disenchanted with his inclination to compromise rather than confront
his opponents.

His government’s emphasis on political reform - overshadowing
attention on social and economic problems - also proved costly,
facilitating the rise of a populist Mr Ahmadi-Nejad.

In the absence of credible opinion polls, it is difficult to gauge
the popularity of either man.

But Mr Khatami has joined forces with the so-called conservative
pragmatists - the moderate conservatives close to Akbar Hashemi
Rafsanjani, also a former president - to undermine Mr Ahmadi-Nejad.

They are hoping that within two years, the president’s populist
economicpolicies - to reduce inflation and tackle unemployment -
would have sufficiently backfired and provokedan erosion of popular

The first test of their political weight will be in the parliamentary
elections in March. Radical forces in the regime, however, are
already mobilising against Mr Khatami.

The conservative media posted a video in June showing him shaking
hands with Italian women during a visit, something considered taboo
by the clergy.

His denial of the incident did not stop young radical clerics in the
holy city of Qom from taking his case to the Special Court for Clergy
and calling for him to be defrocked.

Analysts said the case showed that radicals might be looking to
disqualify Mr Khatami from the presidential poll.

According to the constitution, the Guardian Council has to vet
presidential candidates for their belief in Islam and the principles
of the regime.

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