(Tehran Bureau) | February 24, 2010
by ALI CHENAR in Tehran
[ comment ] The month of Bahman, the 11th in the Iranian calendar, has ended. Politics will pause for a moment while Iranians turn their attention to their beloved Norouz, the New Year, which starts March 21st. Stores will advertise holiday sales, housewives will turn their attention to spring cleaning, and families will plan their vacations. To any outside observer, it may seem that the turmoil of the past eight months has all but disappeared. Many are commenting on the end of Green Movement. Some did not even wait for the sun to set on the anniversary of the Revolution, 22 Bahman, to consign the movement to the annals of history.
After the large-scale protests that had been hoped for failed to materialize, some blamed poor tactics. Others put forward a more sweeping analysis, pointing to the supposed radicalization of the Green Movement. Those offering critiques included a diverse range of veteran political analysts. Among them, the comments of Abbas Abdi, a longtime observer of Iranian affairs, struck an old chord–placing blame for the stalemate on people asking too much, rather than the political establishment’s stubbornness in refusing them. He told reporters that the Green Movement set expectations too high, thus missing an opportunity to reach a compromise over the election results. He emphasized that it was irrational to increase expectations when the movement failed to persuade the authorities to conduct a recount. Another observer, USC’s Dr. Muhammad Sahimi, wrote in a piece for Tehran Bureau of the necessity for “dynamic tactics” and “strong organization.” He suggested that hardliners had learned from previous demonstrations and preempted Green Movement supporters from gathering on the anniversary.
These critiques draw the conclusions one usually does in evaluating past events. However both perspectives focus excessively on the shortcomings of the Green Movement and not on the political establishment and its supporters. It must be remembered that since day one, the primary slogan of the movement has been “Where is my vote?”