News Release

Iran at a Big Crossroads

The runoff election in Iran’s presidential race, coming up this Friday, has profound implications for the future.

SIMIN ROYANIAN
Royanian is co-founder of Women for Peace and Justice in Iran. She said today: “President Bush had proclaimed the elections in Iran undemocratic and a hoax from the beginning. … Mr. Bush, by claiming that the Islamic Republic has no legitimacy, undermined the attempts of the reformist candidates at opening the possibility of normalization of relations. The people of Iran demonstrated that they are involved in deciding their destiny and they are a force to be reckoned with. The fact that the votes were spread among the candidates, necessitating a runoff, is another sign that the voters were not forced into voting for one pre-selected candidate. The result of the runoff election next Friday is very important since the frontrunner Rafsanjani promotes more liberalization and attempts to normalize U.S./Iran relations, while the second candidate represents the hardliners with no interest in open dialogue.”

KAVEH EHSANI
Ehsani is a research scholar at the University of Illinois-Chicago. He is on the editorial boards of Middle East Report and Goft-o-gu (Dialogue) journal in Iran, and he is the author of a number of articles about Iran. Ehsani said today: “Despite some irregularities the election results in Iran probably show an accurate map of the political opinion in the country. These results show that conservative forces have managed to put together an effective nationwide political machine that consistently delivers voters. However, by the same token, the conservative vote has a maximum ceiling. As reformers, moderate conservatives, and formerly apathetic voters flock to support Rafsanjani against a ‘fundamentalist’ alternative, chances are that Rafsanjani will win with a strong hand, by posing as the savior of the nation against the dual threats of domestic extremism, and an effective international statesman able to neutralize the external military threats of the United States.”
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NORMAN SOLOMON
Solomon, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, was in Tehran for 10 days until yesterday. He spoke with hundreds of Iranians spanning the political and economic spectrum, including voters, reform activists, and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the front-running presidential candidate. Solomon said today: “The Bush administration has been eager to dismiss the Iranian presidential election as meaningless, even though the election has included significant elements of democracy. The White House seems to be primarily interested in setting an agenda for military confrontation.” Solomon is the author of the new book War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
David Zupan, (541) 484-9167