Is Mousavi Trying to Force Neo-Liberalism on Iran?

Seumas Milne seems to think so:

While Mousavi promised market reforms and privatisation, more personal freedom and better relations with the west, the president increased pensions and public sector wages and handed out cheap loans. So it’s hardly surprising that Ahmadinejad should have a solid base among the working class, the religious, small town and rural poor – or that he might have achieved a similar majority to that of his first election in 2005. That’s what one of the few genuinely independent polls (the US-based Ballen-Doherty survey) predicted last month, when the Times reported Ahmadinejad was “expected to win”.

But such details have got lost as the pressure has built in Tehran for a “green revolution” amid unsubstantiated claims that the election was stolen. The strongest evidence appears to be some surprising regional results and the speed of the official announcement, triggered by Mousavi’s declaration that he was the winner before the polls closed. But most official figures don’t look so ­implausible – Mousavi won Tehran, for instance, by 2.2m votes to 1.8m – and it’s hard to believe that rigging alone could account for the 11 million-vote gap between the main contenders.

If Ahamdinejad was in fact the winner, then there is an attempted coup going on in Tehran right now, and it is being led by Mousavi and his western-backed supporters.

An odd analysis to put it mildly. I’ll admit I was bemused at the thought of a Mousavi win possibly leading to the future wholesale entry of neoliberal economics into Iran, but remember Mousavi’s candidacy wasn’t offering a repudation of the theocratic regime. Milne’s position doesn’t hold water – he oddly dismisses the fact that Ahmadinejad really is a holocaust-denying fanatic, who thinks nothing of killing innocent girls or gay men, he ignores how the push for Western style ‘freedom’ is coming directly coming from the people, and the Ballen-Doherty survey came up in a previous post – their conclusions are spurious to say the least. How the spontaneously occurring pro-Mousavi peaceful demonstrations and resistence can be painted as a ‘coup’ is a complete mystery to me, when the margin of Ahmadinejad’s ‘victory’ in Mousavi’s home region was laughably obscene, when the results came out faster than votes could possibly have been counted, when extreme violence has been unleashed to impose the results. The people (who have hardly demanded neoliberal economics in the past) are convinced their votes were stolen, and are fighting merely for the small excuse of a democracy they thought they had. For a so-called leftwinger not to see that is quite frankly a disgrace.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a petty fascist stooge, whose limited understanding of economics have run the livelihoods of the voters who used to be his constituency into the ground. This isn’t a 20th century class war. He beat Mousavi by over 30%? Nah.

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