Monday, June 15, 2009

Tense Times In Iran

The angry reaction to the official result of the election in Iran continues. Supporters of the opposition candidate Mirhossein Mousavi have called off a rally planned for today after government officials said it was illegal. They accuse the government of rigging the results of last week's poll, to make sure Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was returned for another term as president. Many of the Mousavi supporters are young students, and dark rumours are filtering through from the university of an alleged massacre last night. Reports say the campus is draped in black banners today.

From a western perspective, this is not a situation that anyone wanted. Sure, western leaders would generally have preferred a clear victory for the more moderate Mr Mousavi over the anti-American Mr Ahmadinejad. But another four years of President Ahmadinejad wouldn't necessarily be the worst outcome, because at least he would offer a certain stability in what is the world's fifth-largest oil exporter. And stability keeps the price of oil down. The disputed election result has led to this current crisis, which threatens to cause not just instability in the oil markets, but also a lot of bloodshed on the streets of Iran. Western leaders and the rest of us can do little more than wait, watch, and hope for the best.

No comments: