politics | May 26, 2013

Imperfect, But Hopeful: Hooman Majd On The Upcoming Iranian Election

"It would be presumptuous to think of the election as simply a rubber stamp for the authority of the supreme leader and the Revolutionary Guards," politics speaker Hooman Majd writes in Foreign Affairs magazine. "Even if [Iranians] feel like holding their noses as they cast a ballot, they will, in all probability, still go to the polls." Despite the fact that the upcoming Iranian election may not be entirely fair or free, Majd is hopeful that Iranians will still treat it as important. "Iranians appreciate that there is a world of difference in politics between bad and worse," he adds. "Most Iranians have a very keen appreciation for the fact that the priorities and temperament of their president do matter, regardless of who has ultimate political power in Iran and despite the fact that presidential candidates are limited by an unelected governmental body."

Since the Guardian Council (the agency responsible for vetting candidates) only approved eight of the nearly 700 candidates who wished to compete in June 14's election, the public may be apathetic or hostile towards the process, Majd says. Just because there are flaws in the system, however, should not preclude Iranians from voicing their opinions at the ballot box. Born in Iran and raised and educated in America, Majd acts as a link between the two countries. He offers an erudite look at the often misunderstood political, economic, and social structure of Iran. In both of his books, The Ayatollah Begs to Differ (a New York Times bestseller) and his new work, The Ayatollahs' Democracy, he provides an insider look at the issues surrounding Iranian leadership. His talks are eye-opening, to say the least, and shed light on the often misunderstood nation.

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