By Jeremy Gillick
What will change if Mirhossein Mousavi, a former Iranian Prime Minister, a “moderate,” and the primary challenger to reigning Iranian president and rabble-rouser Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, wins this Friday’s much-hyped Iranian election? Will Iran abandon it’s nuclear program or change its position vis-a-vis Israel or the United States? Will the country undergo a “velvet revolution,” as Saeed Laylaz, editor of an Iranian business daily, told Ha’aretz it would? Or might Ahmadinejad’s cult-like supporters, backed by the Basij paramilitary and the Revolutionary Guard, revolt, a possibility considered by Robert Dreyfuss at The Nation?
The answer, of course, is that we don’t know. In addition to knowing very little about how Iranian politics actually work–even many of the foremost American experts on Iran concede this unfortunate deficiency–Mousavi himself is a mysterious candidate.
Writing in The New Republic, Laura Secor calls him “a wartime prime minister who has kept near total silence about politics since 1988,” who “lacks charisma” and who “calls himself both a reformist and a believer in revolutionary ‘principles.'” During the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, “he was seen as a wise manager at a time of crisis,” she adds, and had the singular advantage of being a “particular favorite of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.” In short, she suggests, he appeals first and foremost to “people who might otherwise vote for Ahmadinejad” but also to some liberals who believe that, in Iran, no platform is the best platform. Continue reading