Tis the season…

…for elections, and Iran’s having a big one as I write this. Like most Iranians outside of the country I’m really eager to see what comes out of it considering a lot hinges on whether or not Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wins a second term and is able to continue his hardline stance or whether more moderate voices like Mir Hussein Mousavi will move in. There are tons of journalists in Iran right now and I think even the Daily Show sent a correspondent there, and I really wish I could be there now just to see the excitement and the tension.

There are lots of gorgeous photos coming out of the election process, but I think this one wins for just sheer badass-ness. Global Voices does a good job of analyzing the Iranian blogosphere and concludes that Mousavi has broader support than Ahmadinejad, whose support is mainly concentrated in conservative blogs. Of course, this is a poor indicator of who’s actually going to win since only a thin sliver of Iran’s population has regular access to the internet, but Iranian bloggers are particularly active so it’s good to know where they’re leaning.

It’s interesting being in an Arab country while Iran’s in the news. Sometimes I feel not exactly hostility, but a certain level of unease towards Iran among the people here, and a lot of it’s due to Iran’s involvement in Iraq and growing involvement in Lebanon. The friends that I’ve talked to maintain that they really love Iran and its people and culture, and I have no reason to think they’re not sincere, but Iran’s meddling in Iraq especially is a big sore point for them. It pops up as a semi-awkward conversation topic at random times and I think that’s just a testament to how concerned some Arabs are about Iranian influence. It makes me think that Iran can never really be a regional leader with Arab support, which I think they desperately want to be, as long as they insist on funding Shiite militias and trying to control politicians in both Iraq and Lebanon.

–June

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