Leading article: Beyond the Islamic revolution

Share
Related Topics

Iranians go to the polls tomorrow after one of the most lively and keenly fought campaigns since the Islamic revolution. The main choice, between the populist incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose rabble-rousing rhetoric brought him victory last time around, and Mir-Hossein Mousavi, a former prime minister hailed by Western observers as a reformist, suggests that the revolution has come of age.

Two-thirds of Iran's population, and one third of the electorate, are under 30; the only world they have known is that of the Islamic Republic. But that does not mean that they are not interested in change or aware of other possibilities. The campaign has shown the extent of their engagement – on both sides of the argument. The campaign has brought hundreds of thousands out on to the streets in rival rallies.

Mr Ahmadinejad has on his side the young cohorts of the revolution, and the country's poor. Mr Mousavi has attracted a following among the middle class and women, thanks in part to his promise to reform laws that are, as he put it, unfair to women and the high profile taken by his wife. The position of women has become an issue in this campaign, but so has economic management. Mr Ahmadinejad has, not unreasonably, been challenged about why the economy is not in better shape, given the high oil prices of recent years. Mr Mousavi has traded on his reputation as a competent economic manager.

The Presidential election in Iran matters. That Iran is a theocracy, with Ayatollah Khamenei as Supreme Leader, does not alter the fact that when Iranians go to vote, they will have a real choice, and one that will determine much about where Iran goes from here. The enthusiastic campaigning is a good sign.

A victory for Mr Mousavi would be welcomed abroad, especially in the United States, as easing the rapprochement President Obama has offered. But Mr Ahmadinejad showed, by publicly supporting a retrial for the US journalist (who was subsequently released), that he was tempted by Mr Obama's overtures. The election offers a chance for whoever wins to use his mandate to re-engage Iran in the wider world. It is a chance he should not pass up.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Tony Abbott: A man most Australian women would like to pat on the back...iron in hand

Caroline Garnar
Australian rapper Iggy Azalea performs in California  

Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting

Yomi Adegoke
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there