Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Iranian Election: L'Etat, C'est Moi

The Iranian media today provided a fascinating window onto the Iranian presidential election campaign, noting:

With only weeks left to the June 12 polls, President Ahmadinejad said that his election rivals have resorted to lies, insults and exaggerations in their presidential campaigns to smear his image ahead of the elections.

"The baseless claims that some of the candidates make against the government are an insult to the people's intelligence," said Ahmadinejad.

He warned that he is running out of patience and is considering to take necessary action against their accusations. "If the insults to the nation continue, the government will reconsider its approach," he said.

President Ahmadinejad came under harsh criticism after a National Audit Office report, issued in February, revealed that more than one billion dollar of surplus oil revenues in the 2006-2007 budget had not been returned to the treasury.

So, from Iran's official media, we learn:

1) Ahmadinejad is under criticism;
2) Ahmadinejad is threatening to use his power as incumbent to interfere in his own country's campaign, in which he is a candidate;
3) the government has already officially criticized Ahmadinejad for a cool $1 billion in missing funds.

"M. Ahmadinejad, l'etat, ce n'est pas toi."

If Ahmadinejad plans to turn to dictatorship to preserve his hold on power, perhaps he should start by getting control of his own media, so when his own audit office criticizes him for corruption, the world won't find out. More seriously, while this Iranian media report may make Ahmadinejad look pretty bad, it makes the state of Iranian democracy look, in comparison with that in "advanced" countries, pretty good. I wonder if the other candidates will pick up on this media hint about Ahmadinejad's potential vulnerability.

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