Roger L. Simon

The Return of the "Moderate Fundamentalists"

It was good news, I guess, but I still shook my head in wonder when I read this sentence in The Guardian’s coverage of Ahmadinejad’s apparent electoral setback in Iran Friday: “The outcome appeared to be mirrored elsewhere, with councils throughout Iran returning a majority of reformists and moderate fundamentalists opposed to Mr Ahmadinejad.”

Moderate fundamentalists? Isn’t that something like being half pregnant? But I suppose we should be grateful for the success of the reputedly pragmatic Rafsanjani and the repudiation of that most fundamental of fundamentalists (no moderate fundamentalist he) Ayatollah Mohammed-Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi, Ahmadinejad’s presumed spiritual mentor, who came in a humiliating sixth. As I recall Yazdi was the fellow deemed too fundamentalist for even Khomeini and banned , for a while anyway, from public life.

With Ahmadinejad (for the moment) mildly in eclipse the man to watch is apparently Tehran mayor Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf, a “pragmatic conservative,” according to The Guardian. They don’t actually explain what that means in Iranian terms. In any case, the “expert” who tipped The Guardian on Qalibaf’s rising star requested anonymity, a smart move, I would imagine, where he comes from. [Maybe he works for Seymour Hersh.-ed. Could be.]

MEANWHILE: Regime Change Iran has been covering these elections with a lot more perspicacity than I have or could… and a lot more than The Guardian as well.