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June 4, 2009 2:53 PM   Subscribe

40 million Iranians watched a "remarkable, no-holds-barred" and nationally televised debate between President Ahmadinejad (blog) and his rival, former Prime Minister Mousavi (Facebook).

Mousavi said Ahmadinejad was moving toward dictatorship, and that his Holocaust denial had hurt Iran's dignity; the President said Mousavi had conspired with former presidents Hashemi Rafsanjani and Khatami against him. Ahmadinejad then pulled out a dossier on Mousavi's wife, saying she didn't have proper qualifications for graduate school. Mousavi replied "This is typical of your government. Instead of finding solutions, you send your deputies to make files on the people."

The election is June 12th. There will be several more debates among other candidates including Ahmadinejad, Mohsen Rezai and Mehdi Karroubi .

This all raises the bigger question: how democratic is Iran? Radio Free Europe says "Less than Iraq." DilbertBlog says "As much as America is." The Guardian says "Complicated."
posted by msalt (48 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Youtube: Debate clips

Reactionon the streets after the debate: 1 2 3
posted by msalt at 2:59 PM on June 4, 2009


Can someone clarify for me whether or not M. Ahmadinejad actually has a blog?
posted by gagglezoomer at 3:05 PM on June 4, 2009


Sure: Ahmadinejad's jihad blog.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:07 PM on June 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Joe Kline says Ahmadinejad scored more points with the typical Iranian voter.

Fortunately, Joe Kline is an idiot.
posted by delmoi at 3:08 PM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


"If you are new to The Dilbert Blog, I remind you that I have no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to world affairs."

Word.
posted by walrus hunter at 3:09 PM on June 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I gotta go with the position that dossiers on wives isn't appropriate fodder for a Presidential debate.
posted by GuyZero at 3:11 PM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not having George Bush around is going to be a big plus for Ahmadinejads opponent.
posted by Artw at 3:11 PM on June 4, 2009


Can someone clarify for me whether or not M. Ahmadinejad actually has a blog?

Yes, he does. It's been discussed before in the Blue: 1 2 3
posted by msalt at 3:18 PM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


msalt: thank you
posted by gagglezoomer at 3:23 PM on June 4, 2009


I like how the top of Ahmadinejad's blog has a picture of him... writing with a pen.
Next question: Does Obama have a blog?
posted by dunkadunc at 3:26 PM on June 4, 2009


dunkadunc: "Next question: Does Obama have a blog?"

Better question: does Ahmadinejad have a flickr photostream?
posted by mullingitover at 3:28 PM on June 4, 2009


msalt: thank you

Sure. More than Ahmadinejad's blog, I'm amazed by Mousavi's Facebook. (His interests include معماری
and
نقاشی آبستراکت) His "25 Favorite Things" are lame though.
posted by msalt at 3:34 PM on June 4, 2009


No holds barred? Then I hope someone busted out the German Suplex.
posted by klangklangston at 4:24 PM on June 4, 2009


From what I understand, the urban middle class stayed home in 2005, which allowed Ahmadinejad's smaller, rural base to put him in office. Now the urbanites are saying they're going to be out in force this time around, which could make things interesting.

Details in a self linked post on PoliticalFilter.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:26 PM on June 4, 2009


I can't hear about Ahmadinejad's blog without being reminded of this(page in Portuguese). (via Twitter :P)
posted by qvantamon at 4:36 PM on June 4, 2009


Via BB's blogpost, I guess Mousavi's Facebook is no joke. 1/3rd of Iranians use the Internet, and the government actually blocked Facebook on May 24th -- but was forced to reopen it 3 days later, as Ahmedinejad denied he was trying to crimp access to Mousavi's FB page.
posted by msalt at 4:59 PM on June 4, 2009


And yet here in the UK the largest TV udience was for a face off between a dance troop and a midle aged singer with possible mental health issues. God help Iran if Simon Cowell ever gets over there.
posted by ciderwoman at 5:17 PM on June 4, 2009


Iranian polls, Mousavi ahead 38-34.

Take it with a more than a pinch of salt of course.
posted by sien at 5:37 PM on June 4, 2009


From the Dilbert blog:

How’s that worse than the American version in which big money interests only allow people named Clinton or Bush to get elected president?

Let's think about that.....
posted by wildcrdj at 5:45 PM on June 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Next question: Does Obama have a blog?

Sort of: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/

Better question: when will Ahmadinejad get a YouTube channel? Obama's ahead of him on that one.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:48 PM on June 4, 2009


when will Ahmadinejad get a YouTube channel?

About 33 days ago.

There's also this, which has more subscribers and goes back to 2006, but the first one appears to be official.
posted by msalt at 6:23 PM on June 4, 2009


"If you are new to The Dilbert Blog, I remind you that I have no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to world affairs."

Word.


And, especially, about US politics. The Supreme Court has its moments in the sun, but it is not a "Supreme Council" for America, and with few historical exceptions the justices are much less important than the top elected officials. (And they are appointed by elected officials in fiercely political contests.)
posted by grobstein at 6:32 PM on June 4, 2009


(His interests include معماری
and
نقاشی آبستراکت)


In case anyone's wondering, the Farsi terms mean architecture and abstract painting (art).
posted by Devils Slide at 6:48 PM on June 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Mousavi replied "This is typical of your government. Instead of finding solutions, you send your deputies to make files on the people."

Oh fucking snap!
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:12 PM on June 4, 2009


Although I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's really indicative of their political system in general, the debate does look to be more lively and substantiative than the milquetoast Presidential debates here in the States. At least theirs are better theater.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:01 AM on June 5, 2009


( I had been working a little on an Iranian Political post so I might as well insert what I have into msalts informative post. Thank You ).
For some background here is an interview with Mir-Hossein Moussavi whom some consider "a shot in the dark"
His wife, Dr Zahra Rahnavard is taking an unprecedented role in his campaign in a bid for women's vote. This is what is upsetting Ahmadinejad, who definitely qulifies for a "batshitinsane" tag.
posted by adamvasco at 1:42 AM on June 5, 2009


A couple of weeks before these debates there was a televised debate featuring Dr Sadeq Zibakalam (more in Persian) where he looked at Obama's first 100 days...Nothing like this has happened since the Tudeh/Mojahedin/Abdolkarim Soroush/clerics televised debates just after the Iranian revolution.

As an Iranian friend said, Zibakalam was making the kind of comments that would normally get him a one-way trip to Evin prison. I'm surprised this hasn't had more coverage in the Western media.
posted by xpermanentx at 3:32 AM on June 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


Couple of things...

Ahmadinejad isn't insane. He's just deeply religious, but his hope for the return of the Mahdi, whilst being on the more religious side of Shi'ism (and Iranian politics) is not too dissimilar to the desire for the second coming of Jesus Christ. In his New Year message for Channel 4 in the UK Ahmadinejad said he hope the Mahdi would come and bring Jesus and all the other prophets with him.

On the nuclear issue and Ahmadinejad's anti-Israel rhetoric, maybe he believes this, maybe he doesn't. What can't be denied is that it's part of a strategy to curry favour with segments of the population in Arab countries so they will overlook Iran's Shi'ism/non-Arab majority and support it's nuclear aspirations. This support is essential in it's powerplay with Israel and the United States. It also makes it difficult for Arab governments to oppose Iran if they are out of step with their populace.

Want to find out more about power in Iran? Here's a couple of good podcasts/videos...posted by xpermanentx at 3:54 AM on June 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


From the sub-head of the Guardian article:

Rafsanjani at head of new alliance focusing on corruption...

Which is funny whichever way you read it.
posted by atrazine at 3:54 AM on June 5, 2009


His "25 Favorite Things" are lame though.

If you think that's bad you should see Ahmadinejad's Online Dating Profile:

Nicknames: Old Moudy, Sonny Crockett
Age: 53
Turn ons: yoghurt with cucumbers, poetry, nuclear power, taking "hostages", long walks by the Caspian
Turn offs: jews, neckties, body hair, "camel breath"
posted by Pollomacho at 4:54 AM on June 5, 2009


FREE HODER!
posted by PenDevil at 5:13 AM on June 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ahmadinejad isn't insane. He's just deeply religious

Yeah, in the same way that George Bush was "born again." 12er Shia Islam calls for a distinct seperation between politics and faith because any government of this earth is illegitimate, the mullahs controlling politics and their use of Ahmadinejad as the mouthpiece/figurehead of the "secular" state goes against this principal even in atempting to establish an Islamic State. To a deeply religious 12er, the concept of an Islamic State is oxymoronic.

Further, and this is a different can of worms, if he were genuinely "deeply religious" as you contend he wouldn't have done things like take hostages or violate people's human rights or dignity.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:54 AM on June 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ahmadinejad isn't insane. He's just deeply religious,
posted by xpermanentx at 5:54 AM on June 5


Um... Where's the distinction?
posted by dancestoblue at 9:57 AM on June 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


if he were genuinely "deeply religious" as you contend he wouldn't have done things like take hostages or violate people's human rights or dignity

I honestly don't see how the one follows from the other. There are endless examples of "deeply religious" people doing horrific things to other people. Indeed, they often justify their atrocities by claiming that it is religiously correct.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:27 PM on June 5, 2009


I honestly don't see how the one follows from the other. There are endless examples of "deeply religious" people doing horrific things to other people. Indeed, they often justify their atrocities by claiming that it is religiously correct.

Sure, it's done, but by people that are hypocrits and full of shit. When someone is "deeply religious" they actually take the religious teachings to heart. There is no room for atrocities if someone is truly, a deeply religious muslim. You can't honestly greet everyone you meet by wishing them God's peace and then turn around and torture them. The only way to do that is to be a fake (see reference to George Bush above) or insane.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:54 PM on June 5, 2009


Photos from the Iran election campaign - you can question whether Iran is all that democratic, but these people certainly give far more of a shit about their Elections than anyone in Europe does.
posted by Artw at 2:56 PM on June 9, 2009


Tens of Thousands Rally for Mousavi in Tehran
posted by homunculus at 3:57 PM on June 9, 2009


Iranians dare to dream of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad losing his job
posted by Artw at 2:41 PM on June 10, 2009


Iranian Revolutionary Guard won't tolerate 'velvet revolution'
posted by homunculus at 10:06 AM on June 11, 2009


NBC is reporting that both candidates have declared themselves the winner with 60+%

Could start to get 'interesting'
posted by empath at 12:09 PM on June 12, 2009


Al-Arabiya correspondent in Tehran: "Moussavi received a call from Khatami congratulating him for winning elections."
posted by empath at 12:32 PM on June 12, 2009


Apparently, with 20% of the voting counted, Ahmadinejad now has a 40-point lead. CNN
posted by jabberjaw at 3:07 PM on June 12, 2009


Now a 30-point lead with 72% counted.
posted by jabberjaw at 7:12 PM on June 12, 2009


Ahmadinejad's Numbers WAY TOO HIGH: Problems Ahead?

Headed toward a recount?
posted by homunculus at 8:56 PM on June 12, 2009


Ahmadinejad wins Iran presidential election
posted by homunculus at 8:03 AM on June 13, 2009


Bummer.

Though TBH f it had been any other way it would have been a bit of a shock.
posted by Artw at 8:10 AM on June 13, 2009


Iran SMS networks "mysteriously" fail right before elections
posted by homunculus at 9:47 AM on June 13, 2009


Juan Cole: Stealing the Iranian Election

Ahmadinejad reelected under cloud of fraud
posted by homunculus at 12:17 PM on June 13, 2009


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