A Thumpin' for Ahmadinejad


Iran's rascal president discovers what he could have figured out from Americans six weeks ago—bellicose warmongering ain't the electoral gold people think it is.

Early results from last Friday's election suggested that his Sweet Scent of Service coalition [emphasis mine] had won just three out of 15 seats on the symbolically important Tehran city council, foiling Mr Ahmadinejad's plan to oust the mayor and replace him with an ally.

The outcome appeared to be mirrored elsewhere, with councils throughout Iran returning a majority of reformists and moderate fundamentalists opposed to Mr Ahmadinejad.

Compounding his setback was the success of Hashemi Rafsanjani, an influential pragmatist and fierce critic of the president's radical policies. Mr Rafsanjani—whom Mr Ahmadinejad defeated in last year's presidential election—received the most votes in elections to the experts' assembly, a clerical body empowered to appoint and remove Iran's supreme leader. By contrast, Ayatollah Mohammed-Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi, Mr Ahmadinejad's presumed spiritual mentor, came sixth.

The handsome fellow on the right is Tehran Mayor Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf, a possible candidate for the presidency, who racked up wins as Ahmadinejad crapped out. In a few years the Islamic Republic might replace a radical president who looks like Spencer Ackerman with a conservative-but-sane president who looks like William Hurt.

I don't know much more about Iran's electoral system, but in retrospect doesn't the week the president spent toasting guys like Robert Faurisson look like it would have been better spent, uh, campaigning?