Patterico has suggested that this photo might become iconic, like the famous photo of the brave Chinese protestor facing down a tank in Tianamin Square. Me, I don’t know: maybe the election was stolen and maybe it wasn’t, but there are riots in Iran over the announced results and the widespread perception that it was stolen.
The results of the Iranian election led me to pick up and reread parts of former President Carter’s memoir, Keeping Faith¹. Not the whole book, mind you — I read it 27 years ago, when it was published — but the sections on his Administration’s dealings with Iran.
It’s very instructive to read how helpless a president without cojones felt. I noted, in the margin on page 506 — yes, I’m obsessive-compulsive, and take notes in the margins of books — that President Carter finally decided to take military action against Iran 5 months and 1 week after the hostages had been seized, and even that taking of action was an attempt to rescue the hostages with a minimum of force and bloodshed. And when that action failed, President Carter again “sent their leaders reminders of my long-standing threats.” (page 526)
One of us wonders just how seriously the Iranians took Mr Carter’s threats. My guess is that they just laughed at him, and continued to play him for the fool.
There is a lesson in that book for President Obama, if he’ll read the damned thing.
Update: Monday, 15 June 2009 @ 11:44 AM EDT — Glad I’ve been on the cautious side on saying that the results were fraudulent. The Washington Post has a story up today which says that President Ahmadinejad’s claimed margin of victory is reasonably in line with a “nationwide public opinion survey of Iranians three weeks before the vote.”
The Iranian People Speak
By Ken Ballen and Patrick Doherty
The election results in Iran may reflect the will of the Iranian people. Many experts are claiming that the margin of victory of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the result of fraud or manipulation, but our nationwide public opinion survey of Iranians three weeks before the vote showed Ahmadinejad leading by a more than 2 to 1 margin — greater than his actual apparent margin of victory in Friday’s election.
While Western news reports from Tehran in the days leading up to the voting portrayed an Iranian public enthusiastic about Ahmadinejad’s principal opponent, Mir Hossein Mousavi, our scientific sampling from across all 30 of Iran’s provinces showed Ahmadinejad well ahead.
Independent and uncensored nationwide surveys of Iran are rare. Typically, preelection polls there are either conducted or monitored by the government and are notoriously untrustworthy. By contrast, the poll undertaken by our nonprofit organizations from May 11 to May 20 was the third in a series over the past two years. Conducted by telephone from a neighboring country, field work was carried out in Farsi by a polling company whose work in the region for ABC News and the BBC has received an Emmy award. Our polling was funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
The breadth of Ahmadinejad’s support was apparent in our preelection survey. During the campaign, for instance, Mousavi emphasized his identity as an Azeri, the second-largest ethnic group in Iran after Persians, to woo Azeri voters. Our survey indicated, though, that Azeris favored Ahmadinejad by 2 to 1 over Mousavi.
Much more at the link.
¹ – Jimmy Carter: Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President (New York: Bantam Books, © 1982) 596 pages