Now it's Iran's turn to hold an election and this time the US has a lot at stake. The outcome of the election could dramatically change the US's options in withdrawing from Iraq, stabilizing Afghanistan, reducing the money and effort we expend on policing the oil shipping lanes in the Persian Gulf, and allowing US firms to invest in Iran's oil industry.
Americans may no longer be on our way to the mall, and few realize we care about the election, but I personally am holding my breath to see what the outcome is next week. I love these photos of the campaign by Zohreh Soleimani, because they show a stark contrast in values and class between the supporters of President Ahmadinejad and Mir Hussein Moussavi.
But how far apart are they really?
At noon today, my New America Foundation colleagues Steve Clemons and Flynt Leverett are hooking up with Ken Ballen of Terror Free Tomorrow to release a poll on Iranian attitudes towards the election. They show a potential win for the President, but they also show an enormous desire to engage with the US. 70 percent favor investment by the US, and 69 percent say that the most significant way the US could improve relations would be to create a free trade treaty between the two countries.
Of course, Americans won't get to vote in Iran's election, but we will have the option of acting in our common interests.
I hope we have as much guts as those women in green.
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