I certainly expected Ahmadinjad to win but figured the regime would play out the game. He'd either genuinely gain victory in the second round or they'd change just enough votes to ensure his victory. What no one expected is that the regime would tear up the whole process like this. Their brazen way of doing so--if you don't like it you can go to hell, we're going to do whatever we want, and we don't care what anyone thinks--signals to me that this ruling group is even more risk-taking and irresponsible than it previously appeared.
This is the key point: the problem with Iran's regime isn't just that it is a dictatorship, it's that it is such an extremist, aggressive dictatorship.
The only logical explanation for why the regime did this is that Ahmadinejad's opponents got so many votes that it frightened the regime. It also shows that the regime is wedded to Ahmadinejad and his approach.
Is a regime that just committed itself irrevocably to the most extreme faction, most radical ideology, and most repressive control over the country going to compromise with the West on nuclear weapons or anything else?
Of course not, like Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1960s, Syria's rulers in the 1970s, and Iraq's Saddam Hussein in the 1980s (and many examples elsewhere in the world) it is going to use foreign adventurism and mobilizing hatred against the West and Israel to consolidate its hold on the country.
Remember all those people who've said that Iran can be entrusted with nuclear weapons because the regime was so cautious in practice and its rhetoric should be disregarded?
And there's more. It isn't just a stolen election but the imposition by the ruling group of the most extreme, adventurist, nuclear-weapon waving, Holocaust-denying candidate. I would have been pleased if either of the two less radical candidates had won, not because they are super-moderate but that would have signalled a government less likely to go (or blunder) into war or use nuclear weapons.
Again, though, the significance of events in Tehran is the triumph of both the most extreme elements of the regime and of the advocate of the most far-out policy. Can any sane person think this group--intoxicated in the belief they are winning victories everywhere and will win more in future--is going to compromise with America and Europe?
Remember, too, before taking this step, the regime's leaders calculated they had nothing to lose internationally. What could that mean except that they hadn't planned on making nice with the West in the first place and also that they don't take Western pressure--at a time when there's so much talk of engagement, apology, and appeasement in the air--as a serious threat?
So now are we going to see an all-out effort to conciliate with the Islamist regime which has just signalled its intentions in the clearest possible terms? For goodness sake, is there truly no limit?
We can be sure the Eurotard cowards will continue to dawdle and pussyfoot with these out-and-out rogue criminals. Will Obama also follow the Juan Cole simper and hem-of-robe-plucking that a James Earl ["Jimmy"] Carter took with North Korea, with such notable success during the ClyntOOn regime?
Is Obama an Obambi? Keep tuned, won't take long to find out....