We’ll soon find out how willing the Iranian people are to take those first crucial steps towards normalizing their relationship with the West and the United States.
The last time I got this excited, for the middle east, was way back in 2005 during Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution.
And now that same excitement coupled with anticipation is killing me.
Last year, young people in the US finally stepped up and put their votes where their mouths and hearts have been for a very long time. Young people all across the United States worked their butts off, convinced their friends, families and in some cases coworkers to vote for and support a candidate that many pundits had declared as having a snow ball chance in hell of winning the American presidency.
But most importantly millions of those young people showed up at the polls on voting day showing that with unparalleled determination, hard-work and just a bit of luck change is indeed possible even at the highest levels of power.
And for the past few weeks we’ve been watching a replay of that same process in Iran.
Iran’s young people have catapulted their version of Barack and Michelle Obama unto the world stage by openly displaying their support for underdog presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife Dr. Zahara Rahnavard.
Obama won the election because he was able to harness and direct the energies and passion of millions of young people. Mousavi is hoping that their efforts coupled with the current economic conditions in Iran and the desire for positive changes amongst the Iranian people will be enough to topple the country’s current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Can Mousavi accomplish the same thing? Maybe. It’s certainly looking like he has a real shot at winning but it is a long shot. Nevertheless I’m willing to argue that his chances are much better than Obama’s were that’s for sure..lol
And what happens if he does? Would a Mousavi win have any influence on Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hoseyni Khamenei the ’real’ leader of Iran? Maybe. According to some reports it appears Ayatollah Khamenei is willing to work with Mousavi although the two men were once fierce rivals for the affections and adulations from the previous and first Supreme Leader Ayotallah Khomeini.
However it appears Khamenei is willing to put the past behind him and Mousavi appears to be a realist and if elected he intends to pursue a pragmatic approach on the international stage and he’s even said it!
So should Mousavi win we could finally see direct talks, (remember what Obama said during the election?) or we could see multi-lateral talks but chances for constructive and significant diplomacy undoubtedly increase with a Mousavi presidency.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you should start planning a trip to Iran or that President Obama will be visiting Iran anytime soon but should Mousavi win we can definitely expect a thaw in US-Iranian relations.
How significant a thaw? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see…