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

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Read Next
'Our media are suffering a new experience: not fear of being called anti-Semitic'  

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk
David Cameron (pictured) can't steal back my party's vote that easily, says Nigel Farage  

Cameron’s benefits pledge is designed to lure back Ukip voters. He’ll have to try harder

Nigel Farage
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices