“Pro-reform political activist Elahe Rastgou told the Mehr News Agency on Saturday that former president Mohammad Khatami voted in the March 2 parliamentary election to tell the foreign-based opposition that the pro-reform camp will continue its political activities within the framework of the Islamic system. Rastgou said, “With participation in the election, we wanted to prove to everyone that the reformist current is still alive and is doing political activities within the framework of the system of the Islamic Republic.”………..” Mehr News (Iran)
Many reformers in Iran were disappointed that former reformist president Khatami voted in these elections. The opposition, the true reformists in Iran, had been squeezed and demoralized since 2009. Many of their candidates, had they decided to try running, would probably have been disqualified by the regime. Their supporters saw no reason to vote, nobody acceptable, from their point of view, to vote for. This showed in the turnout in the large cities, especially Tehran, where early voter turnout was reportedly about 52%.
It was a battle between the partisans of the president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and those of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. They have different visions of the future of Iran, although both seem uncompromising vis-a-vis the West on the nuclear issue, as is the real opposition inside Iran. The more conservative party, the Khamenei side, seems to have one against the less conservative party, the Ahmadinejad side. Even the president’s sister lost her election bid. Ahmadinejad will most likely be replaced by someone more conservative after his term expires in 2013. But it is not a foregone conclusion: Iranian politics, even now, are quite complex. In the elections of 2005 the favorite candidate of the clergy lost to Ahmadinejad. In 2009 Ahmadinejad was widely reported to be the favorite candidate of Khamenei, yet within months there was a power struggle between the two sides.
The tighter Western blockade are as likely to weaken the opposition further as they are to weaken the regime. But the blockade will be tightened because the Obama administration is squeezed between the Israeli regime and their American extreme right wing lobbyists. Between them, they’ve got the Obama administration in a tight vise by the cojones.