Monday, December 04, 2006

Iran's Patience With Ahmadinejad Running Thin

Hat Tip: Hot Air

It's not news that not everyone in Iran is happy with Ahmadinejad, but the numbers of those opposed to him are growing:
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's popularity at home is sinking. In a recent survey by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, 65 percent of Iranians said they were not satisfied with Ahmadinejad's administration. A pretty dramatic drop if you compare his popularity numbers to last year. Then, 60 percent approved of the president's performance.
More information on the numbers can be found here.

The same page has a short video that claims that Ahmadinejad's decline in popularity is due to unfulfilled promises he made 14 months ago. Back then, he promised to use oil revenues to combat massive poverty, unemployment and corruption. Instead Ahmadinejad has been busy rolling back freedoms gained over the past 10 years--placing restrictions on music and women's clothing, while curtailing Internet and satellite television use. The video goes so far as to suggest the possibility that perhaps the economic and political problems might lead not only to unrest but maybe even--Ahmadinejad's resignation.

Ahmadinejad might not be resigning in the near future, but there are efforts to point him in the right direction: Iranian lawmakers approved by an 80% vote to move up the presidential elections by 18 months, which would effectively cut short Ahmadinejad's term.

All that is left is for the bill to be ratified by the Iranian constitutional committee--which is headed by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Ahmadinejad's arch-rival. The ratification of the bill is thus seen as assured.

Where does that leave Israel? Would replacing Ahmadinejad make any difference in the relations between Iran and Israel? Well, it probably couldn't hurt.

In an article in Time Magazine, Azadeh Moaveni claims that:
most Iranians don't share Ahmadinejad's anti-Israel worldview. They have no blood feud with Israel, and would cheerfully accept better relations if it meant their daily lives would improve. It's worth remembering that under the Shah, Iran had relations with Israel and no one much minded. Besides, Iranians are no dummies. Millions of middle-class Iranians travel to Turkey on vacation and see the shiny cars, international banks and consumer bounty that come along with a policy of accommodation. They want that for themselves. Sadly, their government wants to share its bounty with Hizballah.
It would be nice if she were right about the potential for good relations between the two countries, the government is more than just Ahmadinejad--and Iranians are unlikely to give up on acquiring nuclear energy, or weapons, just because Ahmadinejad is out of the picture.

Then again, without Ahmadinejad to issue his regular predictions of Israel's demise, perhaps there could be hope for the future.

Update: Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad is having more problems--this time with his fanatic base.

Thanks to Memeorandum for the link

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