The rural view of #iranelection

In my last post on the Iranian elections I asked:

[W]hat is going on in the countryside? Because it is those people that got Ahmadinejad elected in the first place. Are they rioting?

@Mutantfroginc linked to this article by Eric Hooglund, author of a recent article in MERIP entitled “Thirty Years of Islamic Revolution in Rural Iran”. He mulls over the following:

Is it possible that rural Iran, where less than 35 percent of the country’s population lives, provided Ahmadinejad the 63 percent of the vote he claims to have won? That would contradict my own research in Iran’s villages over the past 30 years, including just recently. I do not carry out research in Iran’s cities, as do foreign reporters who otherwise live in the metropolises of Europe and North America, and so I wonder how they can make such bold assertions about the allegedly extensive rural support for Ahmadinejad.

I guess I have been called out. However, the article does not provide any hard numbers, and furthermore, the scope is only around Shiraz — a city where your correspondent was once lost alone with only three American dollars to his name. But the viewpoint is based on the experience of a longtime researcher (I’ll have to read his full article in MERIP) and provides some insight into the rural perspective and the issue at the heart of the protests, which some may be surprised has nothing to do with building better relations with the West. Summed up:

[The] political elite is divided over how Iran should be governed: a transparent democracy where elected representatives enact laws to benefit the people or a ‘guided democracy’ in which a select few make all decisions because they do not trust the masses to make the right ones. This astute political insight is one that is prevalent in Iran but seems to have escaped the notice of the Western reporters who are trying to explain Iran’s political crisis with resort to simplistic stereotypes.

About Younghusband

Sir Francis Edward Younghusband (1863-1942) was a British explorer, army officer, military-political officer, and foreign correspondent born in India who led expeditions into Manchuria, Kashgar, and Tibet. He three times tried and failed to scale Mt. Everest and journeyed from China to India, crossing the Gobi desert and the Mustagh Pass (alt. c.19,000 ft/5,791 m) of the Karakoram mountain range in modern day Pakistan. Convinced of Russian designs on British interests in India, Younghusband proactively engaged in the nineteenth century spying and conflict over Central Asia between the British and the Russians known as the Great Game. "Younghusband" is a Canadian who has spent a number of years bouncing back and forth between his home country and Japan. Fluent in Japanese and English with experience in numerous other languages from Spanish to Georgian, Younghusband has travelled throughout Asia. He graduated with an MA from the War Studies Department at the Royal Military College of Canada, where he focussed on the Japanese oil industry and energy security issues. He has recently returned to Canada from Japan, and is working in the technology sector.
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2 Responses to The rural view of #iranelection

  1. Adrian says:

    Broken link (but I went through Mutantfrog to find it).

  2. Younghusband says:

    Link duly fixed. Thanks Adrian.