Monday, June 15, 2009

Iranian Citizens Demand a Recount

Following the stunning results of this weekend's presidential election in Iran, many pundits are finding it difficult not to raise an eyebrow at their validity. Hard line incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was announced winner over his popular, reformist opponent Hossein Moussavi in a landslide victory.

Iranian citizens all over the world are crying foul and taking to the streets in protest of the alleged 30% margin by which Ahmadinejad is purported to have beat Moussavi--crying chants for freedom and fair elections. Many of them are asking for their votes back since they feel they were never really counted.

The Obama administration, recently extending a diplomatic hand to Iran, despite its stubborn nuclear ambitions and near 3 decade stand off with the U.S., now has an even more complicated situation on its hands. How does an administration continue talks with a country many feel has made a mockery of democracy with its sham elections?

One possible solution? A recount. Many countries including Germany and France are asking for some level of transparency concerning the Iranian election process. They would like Iranian officials to clear up this controversy by explaining exactly how they arrived at the results and perhaps to count the votes again.

The clerics that make up Iranian government, including supreme leader Ali Khamenei say that accusations that the Iranian elections have been rigged and that the Ahmadinejad was not fairly elected are unfounded and completely untrue. President Ahmadinejad himself stated over the weekend that all of the disappointment regarding the elections was completely fabricated by western media, stating that no one was disputing his rightful election--despite the images of thousands of protesters in the streets of Tehran being on televisions around the world.

President Moussavi has yet to address his supporters as he is being detained for "running a red light" which some people worry is a euphemism for something far worse--in an effort to keep him from stirring the pot and engendering more opposition fervor agains the election results.

Teaching with the Constitution:

Have students read Article II section I of the constitution. Discuss the manner in which presidents are elected in the United States. Discuss the difference between the United States' representative democracy and Iran's direct democracy. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?


Discuss the controversial election of 2000, an American example of voter uncertainty Examine the ensuing supreme court case. Ask students to compare and contrast the present siuation in Iran with the Bush/Gore controversy. Based on their findings, have students come up with a course of action for Iranian officials concerning their current election crisis.

No comments:

Post a Comment