Shlomi Eldar writes: It’s time we admitted the truth. Despite all the enormous efforts by the international intelligence community directed toward Iran in recent years, we really don’t know much about what is going on in the Land of the Ayatollahs.
The United States, Israel and other Western nations have launched sophisticated cyber-attacks against the nuclear reactor systems in Bushehr. Intelligence agencies know the exact role of every nuclear scientist in Iran, and where they can be found at any given moment. But despite all that abundant intelligence, there is one basic thing that they didn’t understand about this enormous country: the public state of mind.
Some 18.6 million Iranians (50.7% of all eligible voters!) proved this by casting their ballots for the moderate reformist, newly elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The popular unrest over outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s policies was even greater than estimated, and it was this that motivated millions of Iranians to say “No” to the country’s spiritual leader, Ali Hosseini Khamenei, and to vote for what was good for them. By the way, this shows that there is something else we should admit, even if it ruins the image of Iran that we have long since etched in our minds: Despite everything else, the Land of the Ayatollahs has some modicum of democracy. True, Iran is not a liberal country. It receives no high marks for its record on human rights. Nevertheless, the elections there proved that the people exercised their right to replace their leaders. [Continue reading…]