May 18, 2017

THE US SHOULD JOIN THE AYATOLLAH IN CALLING FOR MASSIVE TURNOUT:

Taboo-breaking election tests how much dissent Iran can handle (Scott Peterson, MAY 18, 2017, CS Monitor)

Incumbent President Hassan Rouhani accuses his hard-line opponent, cleric Ebrahim Raisi, of knowing only "death and imprisonment" - an oblique reference to Mr. Raisi's role in ordering the execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, an event usually taboo to talk about in Iran - and charges that victory for Raisi will stymie budding freedoms and return Iran to a dark period of isolation.

Raisi, in turn, accuses Mr. Rouhani - who championed the 2015 nuclear deal with Western powers as providing a path to prosperity - of "deceiving" Iranians with unfulfilled promises, "starving people" by neglecting the poor, and betraying Iran's revolutionary credentials by selling out to the West. Raisi's supporters chant, "Death to the liar!" at campaign rallies.

The blunt violation of taboos dramatizes the knife-edge balance demanded of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as he seeks to simultaneously allow and contain dissent, ensuring enough democratic expression to validate the regime with a majority-accepted choice for president, while stopping short of undermining it.

Posted by at May 18, 2017 5:46 PM

  

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