I speculated earlier that the reported high turnout in Iran might be good news for the reformists, or rather the anti-Ahmedinejad forces. While I was in Iran we sensed and heard a very real under-current of dislike for Ahmedinejad not just among students and young people, but working class folks as well.
As I have written elsewhere, they found Ahmendinejad to be far too arbitrary. In one case he up and unilaterally decided to do away with daylight savings time. In Iran this is a serious deal because they have to go back a recalculate prayer times for two or three years in advance. That’s something we don’t think about, but the call to prayer, or azan, is a big deal. And it is a costly endeavor to re-do and reprint calendars for the government and business.
Another example is the two extra days of Ramadan holiday he declared while we where there that really irritated the business class, but played to Ahmedinejad’s base, the lower-middle class devout Shi’a voters who fled Tehran for a happy four-day holiday in the provinces. Meanwhile the government shut down and nothing in the city got done. This is important because Iran’s weekend is on Thursday and Friday, everything is shut down. No mail. No government offices open. No banks. And then their work week begins on Saturday. But it’s a problem for business people because the rest of the world–like China–has a weekend similar to ours. It creates financial problems, among the more obvious, especially trade settlement on oil contracts and the like (if you’ve ever done international finance you’ll know what I am talking about. His actions basically cut out almost a full work week. Great for some, but if you are engaged in international trade or commerce of any kind you lost money.
Anyway, it looks like the MSM is getting into the game of tentative prediction, especially with this NYT/AP headline (by Nazila Fathi who is a reliable reporter in Iran): “Big Voter Turnout Seen in Iran, Giving Reformers a Boost“. The results should be interesting when they start trickling in.