In the wake of economic turmoil for which many Iranians attribute to the disastrous rule of Ahmadi-Nejad, and the historic opening that the US has offered, the 30-year-long reign of the Islamic Republic appears to be drawing toward a fateful shift, away from the rigidity of the recent past and toward a Khatami-like reformation in its politics toward the West, its own grappling with social values, and its place in the region.
The challenger, Mir Hussein Moussavi, is a former premier. And the incumbent is a clownish demagogue who has borne so many parallels with our own preceding leader that many commentators have seen echoes of the Obama campaign in that of Moussavi, who has tapped into the energy and organizational acumen of the youth (who comprise the strong majority of the population).
Iran has a long way to go, and so does my own country, although we have more formally democratic institutions and do not vet our candidates by a board of theologians (one could argue about the Republican primaries in certain states). Four years ago, the forces of reaction were victorious in both Iran and the United States. Now, after so much, maybe the tides are finally shifting, if just by a bit, one small step toward a better place for these two nations to repair relations after the mutual bitterness and suspicion of the recent past.