Although it can be said of others too there is not probably not a despot (sorry I meant freedom loving anti-imperialist) that unreconstructed Stalinist Seumas Milne will not support.
In today’s Guardian he excels himself! It is an article that starts with a cheap shot, comparing the response in Iran to that of disgruntled Tories after Attlee’s resounding election victory in 1945 (apparently a Savoy diner declared "The country will never stand for it.").
In Milne World (where the red star shines brightly among the hammer and sickles) “the evidence so far coming out of Iran, something similar seems to be ¬happening on the streets of Tehran – and in the western capitals just as desperate to see the back of Iranian president -Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”
“Of course the movement behind opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi spreads far beyond the capital's elite, as did the supporters of Winston Churchill against Clement Attlee. In Iran, it includes large sections of the middle class, students and the secular. But a similar misreading of their own social circles for the country at large appears to have convinced the opposition's supporters that it can only have lost last Friday's election through fraud.
That is also reflected in the western media, whose cameras focus so lovingly on Tehran's gilded youth and for whom Ahmadinejad is nothing but a Holocaust-denying fanatic. (I don’t know about you but Holocaust-denying fanatic is enough to damn anyone in my books even if they are kind to animals and love their old mum)
The other Ahmadinejad, who is seen to stand up for the country's independence, expose elite corruption on TV and use Iran's oil wealth to boost the incomes of the poor majority, is largely invisible abroad..... But such details have got lost as the pressure has built in Tehran for a "green revolution" amid unsubstantiated claims that the election was stolen. The strongest evidence appears to be some surprising regional results and the speed of the official announcement, triggered by Mousavi's declaration that he was the winner before the polls closed. But most official figures don't look so ¬implausible – Mousavi won Tehran, for instance, by 2.2m votes to 1.8m – and it's hard to believe that rigging alone could account for the 11 million-vote gap between the main contenders.
If Ahmadinejad was in fact the winner, then there is an attempted coup going on in Tehran right now, and it is being led by Mousavi and his western-backed supporters... But for the demonstrators facing repression in Tehran, the conviction that they have been cheated has created its own momentum in what is now a highly polarised society. .. The article then goes on about Iraq, Israel, Lebanese elections (won with vote buying according to Milne)
In such a context, the neutralisation of Iran as an independent regional power would
be a huge prize for the US – defanging recalcitrants from Baghdad to Beirut – and a route out of the strategic impasse created by the invasion of Iraq. But so far, the signs from Tehran are still that that's unlikely to be achieved by a colour-coded revolution.
I wonder if it ever occurred to the likes of Milne that the men and women protesting in Iran are not “gilded youth” but people who are frustrated not only by what they see as a blatantly fraudulent election; they are frustrated by life in an oppressive society, frustrated at being second class citizens (in the case of many of the women, frustrated at high inflation, frustrated at high unemployment. They are angry and they want change.
The BBC is currently reporting that Iran’s Guardian Council is inviting Mousavi and the other two opposition candidates to discuss not 6, not 66 but 646 individual complaints arising from last week’s election.
As for being dupes of foreign powers, particularly the USA, if he were to ask the average protestor I am sure they would laugh in his face. Oh yes, I’m sure that the US would like a “defanged Iran” but this is not about pulling teeth of a local power, it is about people wanting a better Iran.