Monday, June 20, 2005

The rumor mill

Itchy's comments on a recent post made me decide it was time for a post on Iran's well-oiled rumor mill. Many Iranians, for instance, still believe that the earthquake in Bam was the result of underground nuclear testing.

Rumors get spread from family-to-family, friend-to-friend, and taxi driver to passenger. (Taxi drivers are the source of most of my favorite rumors…) Rumors are the way that Iranians deal with their distrust of official sources of information.

As Itchy pointed out in his comments, there is currently a rumor going around that the mayor of Tehran made it to the 2nd round in order to solidify the country's voters around Hashemi. So far, this rumor is being spread by Westerners. The Iranians we know are still too shocked to spread rumors.

Before last Friday's elections, there were rumors of plans for dirty tricks. The rumors were not specific, but there was certainly an expectation.

Recently, Fox News reported a popular Iranian rumor and called it a "well kept secret." This particular Fox News piece claimed that it is a well-kept secret that Iran is harboring Al Qaeda members including OBL. K and I have heard this rumor from ever other taxi driver since our first day in Iran. I would hardly call that a well-kept secret. I would call that a "rumor."


Anonymous said...

Actually I have never heard this conspiracy theory anywhere else. It just struck me the other day that Karrubi vs. Hashemi would have been boring and dull with the winner picking up a less than moderate share of the votes.

So to spice up the election, get the people worked up and make them vote for Hashemi, they may have actuualy tweaked the results by bumping out Karrubi to let Rafsanjani redeem himself and take an avenge on those who loathe him by making them crawl back in their knees to ask him to save them from Ahmadinejad.

It is a very sticky political situation out there. I don't think the Iran's leaders would let an inexperienced Ahmadinejd who stirs things up internationally to grab the presidency. They are looking for someone like Rafsanjani to save their butt by smoothing thing over as far the the nuclear activties go.

Plus rafsanjani wouldn't have thrown his hat (turban in this case) in the race without assuring that the leader is behind him.

It is too conspiracy-oriented, but the fact is that no body can tell how the factions inside the system are truely divided, and no body can simply sit back and take the risks for granted now.


ET said...

Itchy, You may not be blogging anymore, but thanks for the comments. It's great to hear from you.

People in Tehran are really nervous now. While some calm themselves by believing that this is a well-planned conspiracy, others believe that it is evidence of the deep divisions inside the inside of Iran.

There are so many insides in Iran. It's like one of those Russian dolls.

Anonymous said...

"People in Tehran are really nervous now."

ET, they should be. Voting for someone they loathe is the price they have to pay for their dumb way of showing their dissatisfaction --doing nothing.

They keep saying Khatami did nothing (I said that too). But sooner or later we will learn it hard way that even Rafsanjani can't keep the kind of social freedoms they have been enjoying for the last 8 years.

As an example, during his father's presidency, Rafsanjani's daughter was encouraging women back on bikes' saddles. She faced a lot of confrontations from the hardliners. She was even criticized by his father for being a bit too flamboyant! Is he the guy they expect to enshrine the little freedoms they gained during the past 8 years and stick up for them?


ET said...

Yes, Iranians are stuck on a passive aggressive rollercoaster. Many people *are* very nervous. Others think that nothing will change no matter what happens.

Has nothing in Iran changed? It seems to me that a lot has changed. Why does it seem to Iranians that nothing has changed?