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Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Iranian resignations 

The NYT headline reads "Top Iran Aides Threaten to Quit in Vote Crisis." The lede tells a different story:

TEHRAN, Jan. 21 — Several ministers and vice presidents in Iran have handed in their resignations to protest the disqualification by the anti-reformist Guardian Council of nearly half of the candidates for Parliament, a senior government official said today.
Emphasis mine. So the headline says that some top officials are threatening to resign, and the lede says they have already resigned. This helps to clear things up:

"A number of ministers and vice presidents have resigned but they are waiting for the outcome" of the revision by the Guardian Council, Muhammad Ali Abtahi, a vice president, told reporters after a cabinet meeting. "All those who have resigned, including the governors and governor generals, are very determined," he said.
Okay. I don't understand the concept of kind of resigning. Does this mean they have tendered their resignations, but they might withdraw them if enough reformist candidates are reinstated? Looks that way. I'm not really sure how much pressure that puts on the Guardian Council, since the hardliners would rather have these officials out of government and out of the way.

But won't the resignations of reformist officials, coupled with the mass disqualification of thousands of reformist candidates, bring the people out into the streets? They might, but from the Guardian Council's perspective, the people have done that before and the regime has always had enough power to nip an uprising in the bud.

The Iranian people are losing faith in the reformists already. This could be a death blow, and the beginning of a consolidation of power by the conservative mullahs.

Or it might be a temporary setback. But from the cheap seats, it looks like a struggle the hardliners will ultimately win this time around.

Then again, Bahman Batmanghelidj and Kamal Azari seem a little more optimistic than me. I wish I could share their optimism.
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