is on June 12.
There is an interesting article in today's Los Angeles Times to the effect that both liberals and conservatives have turned against President Ahmadinejad. The politically powerful Council of Guardians, i.e. the ayatollahs, formerly Ahmadinejad supporters, is supposed to have gone neutral.
The article proposed an image of Ahmadinejad as a radical populist, a Shi'ite Huey Long, an Iranian Mussolini. One hopes not. Neither left on account of losing an election. Long left office by assassination and Mussolini by lynching. One might say Benito stepped down because he was unable at the last to step down.
The problem with the LA Times article is that, like all pre-election predicting, it is hard to distinguish between analysis and wishful thinking.
The Iranian election matters hugely to Israel, the Middle East, the US and the world. Imagine how much nicer the world would be were there no threat of an Iranian nuclear holocaust.
I wonder if the nearness of the Iranian election was not some or all of the reason for the timing of Mr. Obama's 'New Beginning' speech in Cairo? Mr. Obama may be doing what he does best - campaigning. Having bested John McCain at it, he may now be running against Ahmadinejad as well.
How much better would it be for everybody, to deal with Iran not with sanctions and air strikes but with speeches and elections? If that is what is going on, then Mr. Obama's strategy morphs from a bold and risky new foreign policy to f___in' brilliant. Especially if it works.
Would Israel trade a settlement freeze for Iran not developing a nuclear weapon? Instantly.
They did emphasize how many languages it was being translated into... And, believe me, they did NOT rely on simultaneous translation. For sure, the translations were prepared in advance and vetted in detail. One guesses that the translation into Farsi, the Persian language, was near the top in care and effort.
The President of the United States making a conciliatory speech just before the election could make Ahmadinejad's truculence seem puerile and counter-productive to Iranian voters. One can hope.