Campaigning has stopped in the presidential election in Iran — and voting begins in a few minutes.
I have no idea who will win, but if Ahmadenijad falls to former Prime Minister and reformist challenger Moussavi, then this is huge in a domestic context. No incumbent president in the Islamic Republic of Iran has ever lost a race.
On the broader strategic gaming between Iran and the US, I suspect that the differences between the two leading candidates are more stylistic than substantive — but I’m happy to start with a more constructive posture from Iran’s political leadership and see what policy options that might help trigger.
But as Keith Olbermann pointed out the other night, despite there being other fundamental dynamics that will drive the political outcome other than Barack Obama’s mesmerizing Cairo speech and overall sizzle — the Iran race will be cast as a function of his power and influence today — a so called “logical fallacy”.
Olbermann and I discussed such a logical fallacy with regard to Obama’s impact on the recent triumph of a Western-supported coalition in Lebanon over Hezbollah.
But in Iran today, If Moussavi wins, many will reference the power of an “Obama Effect.” If he loses, then others will say that Obama’s impact is self-indulgent hype and imaginary.
— Steve Clemons