Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Another take on Iranian politics

In an interview with Professor William Beeman, chair of the University of Minnesota's Anthropology Department who has written several books about Iran, most recently, The Great Satan vs. the Mad Mullahs, reporter Sharon Schmickle wrote on MinnPost,

"Foreign journalists typically focus on Iran's upper classes and connect with those who tweet, blog and frequent Facebook. But that is not by any means a cross section of the Iranian electorate. It leaves out Ahmadinejad's base: the poor and the rural residents who are less connected with the world and less inclined to talk with strangers.

"Within his more pious and conservative constituency, Ahmadinejad is respected as a straight arrow, the rare politician who abhors corruption and even declines to take the salary that comes with the presidential office. Over the years, Ahmadinejad and Iran's higher powers have differed, but he now stands as the leader who could salvage and solidify the Islamic Republic's control. In that regard, many Iranians see him as the man for this troubled time.

"'Polling and reporting did not take into account huge sectors of the population that who were supporting Ahmadinejad,' Beeman said..."

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