Iran’s young and more educated voting electorate is executing a peaceful mutiny aimed at overthrowing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad using the power of democracy.

The country’s 42.5 million-strong voting population is turning out in record numbers, sparked by the political agenda of reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi and a public distaste for incumbent Ahmadinejad.

We all know Ahmadinejad is a little wired. He’s essentially alienated his country because of his vampire-like blood thirst for nuclear weapons and hate for Israel.

But Mousavi also favors continuing the nuclear program and doesn’t recognize Israel as a state. Neither do conservative Mohsen Rezai and reformist Mehdi Karoubbi, the other two candidates currently in the running.

What’s the difference between Mousavi and Ahmadinejad then? Well, Mousavi has publicly criticized Ahmadinejad’s incompetent, foolish and irresponsible behavior on the international stage. He says he wants to increase positive relations with neighboring countries and the United States. Mousavi also claims his effort to advance the nation’s nuclear program will be for “peaceful purposes.”

He’s promised to battle Iran’s “extremist” image. He’s advocated more personal freedoms in Iran and wants to reverse the ban on private television channels.

He has experience too; he served as prime minister from 1981 to 1989 and presidential adviser from 1989 to 2005, leaving just as Ahmadinejad was elected.

Mousavi is taking an Obama-like approach to Iranian politics, promising a reform of current political agenda that has so severely restricted Iran’s young electorate from freely expressing themselves. As an architect, a painter and president of the Iranian Academy of Arts, Mousavi is a strong advocate for freedom of expression.

However Mousavi was prime minister in the 1980s, during a time when some horrible human rights violations were taking place in the country.

Still, his followers are mainly young voters and the more educated elderly. His young supporters, as Obama’s did, openly support him in the streets, but instead of donning branded merchandise they dress head to toe in brilliant green. Some even paint their faces.

But this election represents the need for freedom in Iran. Freedom of a tyrannical government and freedom under an oppressive leader.

At this point, many believe anyone would be better that four more years of Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad’s woes

Ahmadinejad’s public support is slipping. At home, he has been lambasted for largely ignoring the economic woes of the country. He’s also been criticized for what many see as an attempt to provoke the U.S.

“Our nation’s dignity has been harmed. We’ve been degraded. There has been increasing tension”¦is it in our interests?” Mousavi said to Ahmadinejad during a televised debate. He also criticized Ahmadinejad’s questioning of the Holocaust and accused him of moving the country toward “dictatorship.”

Ahmadinejad has accused his rivals of spreading unfounded lies and insults.

Internationally, we all know of Ahmadinejad’s antics. Most recently, his Israel-based racist rhetoric caused a 30 country walkout during a UN meeting in April of this year.

Despite all of this, BBC reports Ahmadinejad has a strong support base in the country’s military and state-owned media, which would make him hard to overthrow.

Will there be change?

The CBC reports that even though the two candidates draw largely different support bases at home, it’s expected international relations with the country will go largely unchanged no matter who is victorious, despite Mousavi’s claims of intending to increase positive relations with the U.S. and neighboring middle-eastern nations.

On a domestic level however Mousavi will, as a reformist, change many of Ahmadinejad’s freedom-preventing policies. His candidacy and professional background has sparked hope within millions of Iranian youth.

Just days ago, supporters of the two candidates gathered in scores in the streets of Tehran. In an example of free expression, angry young Mousavi supporters accused Ahmadinejad of creating a negative worldwide view of the country and for running the economy into the ground.

Mousavi’s supporters communicate largely through text messaging, a service which was down on voting day. Mousavi accused Iran’s government-owned communications system of purposefully shutting the system down in an effort to decrease conversation between young voters. An example of, if the allegation is true, Ahmadinejad’s free expression restriction.

Mousavi also claims some of his representatives were blocked from entering polling stations to oversee voting, CBC reports. Many fear the election could be rigged to ensure Ahmadinejad’s victory.

Voting time for Iran’s direct vote election has been extended by two hours to 11:30 a.m. EST. If none of the candidates achieve a 50-plus per cent majority, a runoff election will be held on June 19 between the top two candidates.

About The Author

Sachin Seth is the Blast Magazine world news reporter. He writes the Terra blog. You can visit his website at http://sachinseth.com or follow him on twitter @sachinseth

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