February 04, 2004

Iran and Elections

If you haven't been following what's going on in Iran, you should be. Short summary: the mullahs banned thousands of candidates for parliament because they were a risk to the nation. People objected, staged sit-ins and appealed to the council of clerics. The council allowed a few people back on the list, but refused to reinstate them all (I think there are still like 6,000 banned). Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, told the council of clerics to reconsider, but they defied him. They also refused a request to postpone the elections until the issue could be settled. This weekend, about a third of Iranian members of parliament resigned in protest and there is concern that the reform parties will urge people to boycott the elections. There is concern that paramilitary groups, including the Basij, will carry out coercive polling if reformists try to interfere with the election. Students asked for permits to protest but their requests were refused.

Civil war is obviously a concern, particularly given the fragile situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the current status of Iranian nuclear programs.

See a round up at OxBlog. Also, this most recent article at Albawaba.

Posted by richard at February 4, 2004 12:24 AM