Iran: Massive protests in response to Ahmadinejad sweeping elections.

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by thakur_ritesh, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    Ahmadinejad wins second term in Iranian elections - Middle East - World - The Times of India

    13 Jun 2009, 0953 hrs IST, AFP

    TEHRAN: Hardline incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad registered a thumping victory in Iran's fiercely-contested presidential race, official results showed on Saturday, in a major upset for his moderate rival.

    "Doctor Ahmadinejad, by getting a majority of the votes, has become the definite winner of the 10th presidential election," state news agency IRNA declared as his jubilant supporters took to the streets in celebration.

    However, his main challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi -- who pledged to improve relations with the outside world during the most heated election campaign since the Islamic revolution -- also declared himself the victor, suggesting a tense battle lay ahead.

    Ahmadinejad won 65 percent of the vote against more than 32 percent for war-time premier Mousavi, with almost 90 percent of ballot boxs counted, said election commission chief Kamran Daneshjoo, highlighting the massive turnout.

    The international community has been keenly watching the election for any signs of a shift in policy after four years of hardline rhetoric from the 52-year-old Ahmadinejad and a standoff on Iran's nuclear drive.

    Mousavi, who was aiming for a political comeback on a groundswell of support among the nation's youth, complained of irregularities in the vote, including a shortage of ballot papers and attacks on his campaign offices.

    "In line with the information we have received, I am the winner of this election by a substantial margin," said Mousavi, who had pledged to ease restrictions particularly on women, and fix Iran's ailing economy.

    But as the official results showed Ahmadinejad would be back for a second term, his supporters began pouring on to the streets of Tehran, honking their horns and waving Iranian flags.

    "Where are the greens? -- in a mousehole," the crowds mocked, referring to the campaign colours of Mousavi, whose supporters thronged the streets in mass rallies during the campaign.

    "I am happy that my candidate has won -- he helps the poor and he catches the thieves," said sandwich seller Kamra Mohammadi, 22.

    The election underscored deep divisions in Iran after four years under Ahmadinejad, who enjoyed passionate support in rural towns and villages, while in the big cities young men and women threw their weight behind Mousavi.

    Iran has been at loggerheads with the West as Ahmadinejad delivered a succession of fiery tirades against Israel, repeatedly questioned the Holocaust and vowed to press on with nuclear work, denying allegations Tehran was seeking the atomic bomb.

    Passions ran high during the campaign, with Ahmadinejad and his challengers hurling insults at each other in acrimonious live television debates while their supporters staged massive carnival-like street rallies.

    Ahmadinejad, portraying himself as a man of the people, pledged to stamp out corruption and help the poor while his rivals accused him of mismanaging the economy of one of the world's top oil producers and damaging the nation's international standing.

    The election was a clear two-horse race, with results showing former Revolutionary Guards chief Mohsen Rezai coming a distant third with 2.5 percent of the vote and ex-parliament speaker Mehdi Karroubi fourth with less than one percent.

    Ahmadinejad's campaign manager Mojtaba Samareh Hachemi dismissed the rival camp's claim of victory, insisting the incumbent remained "the president of all Iranians."

    "According to the votes counted so far, the distance between Ahmadinejad and his rivals is so great that any doubts cast on this victory will be treated as a joke by the public," he was quoted by the Fars news agency as saying.

    Daneshjoo said turnout was estimated at a record of between 75 and 82 percent of the 46.2 million electorate, with long queues forming at polling stations across the country.

    "Historic Turnout on the Nation's Great Day," was the headline in the state-run Iran newspaper.

    US President Barack Obama, who has called for dialogue with Iran after three decades of severed ties, said he saw the "possibility of change" in relations with the Islamic republic.

    "Whoever ends up winning the election in Iran, the fact that there's been a robust debate hopefully will help advance our ability to engage them in new ways," Obama said.

    Even if 67-year-old Mousavi had won, it was doubtful there would be any major shift in Iran's nuclear and foreign policy as all decisions on matters of state rest with all-powerful supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

    In the United States, home to the largest Iranian expatriate population, opponents of the regime condemned the election as a "sham."

    The vote has nevertheless highlighted a call for change after 30 years of clerical rule in a country where 60 percent of the population was born after the revolution.

    The economy was also a key election issue, with the country battling inflation at 24 percent, rising unemployment and plunging income from crude oil exports.
     
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  3. tharikiran

    tharikiran Regular Member

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    opposition is cryin foul. let's see what happens.
     
  4. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    Iran's election result staggers analysts- Hindustan Times

    Iran's election result staggers analysts

    Reuters
    June 13, 2009
    First Published: 10:29 IST(13/6/2009)
    Last Updated: 10:31 IST(13/6/2009)

    Hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took an unbeatable two-to-one lead over moderate challenger Mirhossein Mousavi in Iran's presidential election on Saturday, official results showed. Mousavi cried foul and claimed victory himself.

    Here are some analysts' initial views on the outcome of Friday's election:

    Karim Sadjapour, analyst at carnegie endowment for international peace:

    "I don't think anyone anticipated this level of fraudulence. This was a selection, not an election. At least authoritarian regimes like Syria and Egypt have no democratic pretences. In retrospect it appears this entire campaign was a show: (Supreme Leader) Ayatollah (Ali) Khamenei wasn't ever going to let Ahmadinejad lose."

    Elliott Abrams, former senior Bush administration official now with the council on foreign relations:

    "Both the apparent victory and the apparent fraud greatly complicate the Obama strategy. My advice is that they had better be thinking about more sanctions. The one hope might be that if a new Ahmadinejad government is viewed as illegitimate by many Iranians, that government might be anxious to avoid further economic distress. In that context, sanctions that bite might be a powerful tool and might push the regime into a serious negotiation. But it is more likely that the engagement strategy has been dealt a very heavy blow.

    "At this point one has to wonder about vote fraud. The two-to-one margin for Ahmadinejad may well appear to millions of Iranians as bizarre and unlikely, and meant to avoid a run-off he might lose. If that's what millions of voters think, especially young voters in this very young country (70 per cent of the population is under age 30), there could well be large demonstrations. And the legitimacy not only of an Ahmadinejad second term, but of the whole regime, would be in question in the eyes of many Iranians."

    Trita Parsi, President of national Iranian American council:

    "I'm in disbelief that this could be the case. It's one thing if Ahmadinejad had won the first round with 51 or 55 per cent. But this number ... just sounds tremendously strange in a way that doesn't add up ... It is difficult to feel comfortable that this occurred without any cheating.

    "If there is a fight in Iran and there are accusations of fraud and Mousavi declares himself a winner and you have numerous leading clerics and other figures recognising Mousavi, you are going to have paralysis and significant infighting in Iran. That will complicate (US President Barack) Obama's engagement. It will be more difficult to deal with Ahmadinejad because he has been discredited at home. He may not be able to deal with anyone because there is paralysis in Iran. It will cause the Obama administration to lose very precious time. Obama is already trying to win time within Washington and from Washington's allies. There are already pressures from Congress, from pro-Israeli corners, from Israel itself, from some of the Persian Gulf Arab states, for a strict timeline for these efforts. Their patience for how long Obama can pursue this is strictly limited.

    "For this year, the Democrats in Congress will give him the benefit of the doubt, but that means he needs to get things started. Already under normal circumstances, you wouldn't have the new President take power until August. He would need to get his cabinet approved by parliament. You are talking already early October before the Iranians are really ready to deal. That's under normal circumstances, which gives Obama very little time. The last thing he needs is indecisiveness in the election result that will cause things to be delayed even further."

    Shibley Telhami, professor at the university of Maryland

    "The most important element in this election is in domestic politics. People may interpret it as a rejection of international pressure, but I don't think that is correct."
     
  5. 1.44

    1.44 Member of The Month SEPTEMBER 2009 Senior Member

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    Most probably rigged.
    Unless the Iranians are as defiant of the world opinion as Indians.I can't see them staking their economy on the hard line policies of Ahmedinejad
     
  6. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    For a country that is so important to our relations with the Islamic world not to mention our energy and strategic needs, I see too little awareness about our relations with Iran in the public discourse and in the media.

    There seems to be little awareness at the public level of what our relations with Iran are, why they are important and what direction we want them to take.
     
  7. Known_Unknown

    Known_Unknown Devil's Advocate Stars and Ambassadors

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    Wow. Well, besides his fanatic views on Israel (which, by the way are shared by many middle-eastern people, they just don't say them out loud), he is known as a very good administrator and has a "Mr. Clean" image. All he needs to do now is not give any speeches on foreign policy for the next 5 years....let the foreign office deal with that, and Iran should be fine.
     
  8. 1.44

    1.44 Member of The Month SEPTEMBER 2009 Senior Member

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    Indeed one can easily say the US bought our support against Iran with the nuclear deal.The general public seems relatively clueless about our thousand year relationship with Iran.Visiting some Iranians forums I'm under the impression that the Iranians were initially taken aback by our vote against them but haven't taken it too hard.
    Just hope India keeps working to help bring about a diplomatic solution.
     
  9. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Was watching CNN and BBC yesterday, and most of them predicted a thumping victory for Mousavi.
    But reading pieces by Indian analysts in newspapers, they said that while Mousavi had a good appeal with the urban voters, it was Ahmedinejad who enjoyed good support with the rural and semi urban voters. So its entirely possible that the current incumbent won it fair and square.
     
  10. 1.44

    1.44 Member of The Month SEPTEMBER 2009 Senior Member

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    As always the rural populations become the king-makers.I certainly hope Mr.Ahmedinejad intends to tone down his Anti-US and nuclear threats rhetoric for the good of his country.
     
  11. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Rioting in Tehran, Most of the Iranians and analysts are calling it a sham.
     
  12. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Around a fifth of Iran lives in Tehran alone.
     
  13. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Ahmadinejad 'wins Iran presidential vote'


    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been re-elected as president of Iran with a resounding victory, the electoral commission says.

    With more than 80% of results in, the commission said he won 64% support in an election marked by high turnout.

    Reformist Mir Hossein Mousavi also claimed victory, calling the result a "dangerous charade", as supporters vowed to appeal for a re-run.

    Police have sealed off Mr Mousavi's campaign HQ, preventing his supporters from holding a news conference.

    Mr Mousavi was hoping to prevent Mr Ahmadinejad winning more than 50% of the vote, in order to force a run-off election.

    However, the Iranian election commission said Mr Mousavi's share of the vote was around 32%.

    Earlier, the state news agency Irna declared Mr Ahmadinejad the "definite winner", and his campaign manager was quoted as saying "any doubts cast on this victory will be treated as a joke by the public".

    Danger of 'tyranny'

    Mr Mousavi issued a statement shortly after 1300 local time (0930 GMT) on Saturday, after the scale of the hardline president's victory became clear.

    The former prime minister dismissed the election result as deeply flawed.

    "I personally strongly protest the many obvious violations and I'm warning I will not surrender to this dangerous charade," the Reuters news agency reported him as saying.

    "The result of such performance by some officials will jeopardise the pillars of the Islamic Republic and will establish tyranny."

    Mr Mousavi has already said there was a shortage of ballot papers and alleged that millions of people had been denied the right to vote.

    His election monitors were not allowed enough access to polling stations, he added, saying he would deal seriously with any irregularities.

    The head of the Committee to Protect the People's Votes, a group set up by all three opposition candidates, said the group does not accept the result, alleging fraud.

    They have asked Iran's Guardian Council - a powerful body controlled by conservative clerics - to cancel the results and re-run the elections.

    The BBC's Jon Leyne, in Tehran, says the result has been greeted with surprise and with deep scepticism by many Iranians.

    The figures, if they are to be believed, show Mr Ahmedinejad winning strongly even in the heartland of Mr Mousavi, the main opposition contender.

    The scale of Mr Ahmadinejad's win means that many people who voted for a reformist candidate in the previous presidential election four years ago have apparently switched their votes to Mr Ahmadinejad, he adds.

    Police presence

    Although there were few signs of organised dissent on the streets, police in Tehran moved to prevent protests on Saturday.

    There was heavy security around Mr Mousavi's campaign headquarters and reports that at least one rally for Mr Mousavi was broken up by police using truncheons against small groups of people.

    The AFP news agency said police dispersed opposition supporters on Saturday morning, quoting a senior police official as saying: "The time of dancing and shouting is over."

    One opposition supporter who gave her name as Shirin, told the BBC she still had confidence Mr Mousavi would become president.

    "But he advised us, the supporters, not to do anything harsh or trying to... clash with Ahmadinejad's supporters," she said.

    Our correspondent says the reaction of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will be extremely important.

    BBC Iranian affairs analyst Sadeq Saba says the result means that hope for peaceful reform in Iran may die for a long time.

    Large turnout

    There had been a surge of interest in Iran's presidential election, with unprecedented live television debates between the candidates and rallies attended by thousands.

    There were long queues at polling stations, with turnout said to be higher than 80%.

    Four candidates contested the election, with Mohsen Razai and Mehdi Karroubi only registering a small percentage of votes.

    President Ahmadinejad draws support mainly from the urban poor and rural areas, while his rivals have support among the middle classes and the educated urban population.

    Iran is ruled under a system known as Velayat-e Faqih, or "Rule by the Supreme Jurist", who is currently Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

    It was adopted by an overwhelming majority in 1979 following the Islamic revolution which overthrew the autocratic Western-backed Shah.

    But the constitution also stipulates that the people are the source of power and the country holds phased presidential and parliamentary elections every four years.

    All candidates are vetted by the powerful conservative-controlled Guardian Council, which also has the power to veto legislation it deems inconsistent with revolutionary principles.

    BBC NEWS | Middle East | Ahmadinejad 'wins Iran presidential vote'

    In the battle b/w Mullahs and Democracy the Mullahs won it seems, again.
     
  14. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    iranians can still prosper totally avoiding the west by having trade with india,russia and china, i don't think sanctions have hurt them or ever will.
     
  15. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Iran's inflation is 25% pa.
    Subsidies are putting a strain on the govt.
    Unemployment levels are high and Upto a fifth of Iranians are into hard drugs.
    There is a shortage of refinement capacity, making Iran dependent of foreigners to sell them processed gas and oil.
    India and others are not showing willingness to deal with the untrustworthy penny pinching mullahs.

    The last thing Iran needs is Ahmedinejad who puts the blame of all evils on zionists-west, actively promotes extremism, and to top it all has absolutely ruined his country's image internationally. The record 83% turnout wanted change, and not the person who has taken there country backwards rather than forward.
     
  16. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    it will take atleast a generation to change this mindset and with them acquiring nukes the shiite sunni division will be pursued even more vigourously by the west.
     
  17. 1.44

    1.44 Member of The Month SEPTEMBER 2009 Senior Member

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    Agreed the people turned out to vote for a change,Or as the US says the elections were 'cooked'


    U.S. says Iran election results are 'cooked'


    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States, at loggerheads with Tehran over its nuclear program, cast strong doubt on the fairness of Iran's parliamentary elections on Friday and said any outcome of the poll would be "cooked."

    "In essence the results are cooked. They are cooked in the sense that the Iranian people were not able to vote for a full range of people," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said of the poll.

    Iranians voted on Friday in an election likely to keep parliament in the control of conservatives after unelected state bodies barred many reformist foes of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from the race.

    "They are given the choice of choosing between one supporter of the regime or another supporter of the regime," McCormack told reporters. "They were not given the opportunity ... to vote for somebody who might have had different ideas."

    Ahmadinejad has shrugged off criticism about the election.

    After the polls closed, McCormack released a statement saying Iran had "once again failed to meet international standards on the conduct of democratic elections."

    He urged Iran's leaders to stop what he said was interference in future elections, including the 2009 presidential poll and increase transparency by allowing independent monitors.

    "The Iranian regime again used ideological grounds to disqualify candidates for parliament, imposed severe restrictions on the ability of journalists and media outlets to cover the elections, limited the ability of candidates to campaign and refused to allow independent election monitors access to polling stations on election day," McCormack said.

    he told reporters the real power in Iran was held by an "unelected few" with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at the top.

    "These are not constituent elements of a thriving democracy and that is a shame for the Iranian people that they are denied the ability to choose truly who will lead them and be able to freely express their choices through the ballot box," added McCormack.

    Last week, the United Nations Security Council passed a new round of sanctions against Iran for its refusal to give up sensitive nuclear work that the West suspects is aimed at building an atomic bomb. Iran argues it is for the generation of electricity.

    The United States and other major powers are expected to meet in the coming weeks to discuss how to proceed against Iran, with Russia and China urging greater incentives to get Tehran to change its behavior.

    U.S. says Iran election results are 'cooked' | Reuters
     
  18. 1.44

    1.44 Member of The Month SEPTEMBER 2009 Senior Member

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    Ahmadinejad wins Iran election, Mousavi cries foul



    TEHRAN (Reuters) - Hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won re-election by a thumping margin, official figures showed on Saturday, but his moderate challenger rejected the tally as a "dangerous charade" that could lead to tyranny.
    The scale of Ahmadinejad's victory -- he took nearly twice as many votes as former Prime Minister Mirhossein Mousavi with counting almost complete after Friday's poll -- upset widespread expectations that the race would at least go to a second round.
    Mousavi protested against what he said were many obvious violations in the high-turnout presidential election.
    "I'm warning I will not surrender to this dangerous charade. The result of such performance by some officials will jeopardize the pillars of the Islamic Republic and will establish tyranny," Mousavi said in a statement made available to Reuters.
    He had been due to hold a news conference, but police at the building turned journalists away, saying it was canceled.

    Iranian and Western analysts abroad greeted the results with disbelief. They said Ahmadinejad's re-election would disappoint Western powers aiming to convince Iran to halt work they suspect is aimed at making bombs, and could further complicate efforts by U.S. President Barack Obama to reach out to Tehran.

    "It doesn't augur well for an early and peaceful settlement of the nuclear dispute," said Mark Fitzpatrick at London's International Institute for Strategic Studies.

    A bitterly fought campaign generated strong interest around the world and intense excitement inside Iran. It revealed deep divisions among establishment figures between those backing Ahmadinejad and those pushing for social and political change.

    Ahmadinejad accused his rivals of undermining the Islamic Republic by advocating detente with the West. Mousavi said the president's "extremist" foreign policy had humiliated Iranians.

    On Friday night, before official results emerged, Mousavi had claimed to be the "definite winner." He said many people had been unable to vote and ballot papers were lacking.

    He also accused authorities of blocking text messaging, with which his campaign tried to reach young, urban voters.

    State election commission figures showed Ahmadinejad had secured a second four-year term with 61.6 percent of ballots against 32.5 percent for Mousavi with 39 million votes counted. It put the turnout at 80 percent of 46 million eligible voters.

    Trita Parsi, president of the Washington-based National Iranian American Council, expressed disbelief at the wide margin in Ahmadinejad's favor. "It is difficult to feel comfortable that this occurred without any cheating," Parsi said.

    Ali Ansari, who heads the Institute for Iranian Studies at St Andrews University in Scotland, said: "People will wake up today in Iran in shock, not that Ahmadinejad has won, but that he has won on such a dramatic scale.
    Western capitals had hoped a victory for Mousavi could help ease tensions with the West, which is concerned about Tehran's nuclear plans, and improve chances of engagement with Obama, who has talked about a new start in ties with Tehran.

    Now they must again deal with Ahmadinejad, who has refused talks with six world powers over Iran's nuclear program.

    The three-week election campaign was marked by mudslinging, with Ahmadinejad accusing his rivals of corruption. They said he was lying about the state of the economy.

    It was unclear how Mousavi's supporters, who thronged the streets of Tehran nightly during the campaign, might react to Ahmadinejad's victory. U.S. strategic intelligence group Stratfor called the situation "potentially explosive."

    Scuffles broke out overnight between police and chanting Mousavi supporters in a Tehran square, a Reuters witness said. Police said they had boosted security across the capital. All gatherings have been banned until final results are declared.

    Ahmadinejad draws his bedrock support from rural areas and poorer big city neighborhoods. Mousavi enjoys strong backing in wealthier urban centers, especially among women and the young.

    Two other candidates attracted only tiny voter support.

    Turnout was heavy after a campaign marked by heated debate over inflation -- officially 15 percent -- and unemployment.

    Ahmadinejad, 52, won power four years ago, vowing to revive the values of the 1979 Islamic revolution. He has expanded the nuclear program, rejecting Western charges that it is aimed at bomb-making, and stirred international outrage by denying the Holocaust and calling for Israel to be wiped from the map.

    Mousavi, 67, rejects Western demands that Iran halt uranium enrichment but analysts say he would have brought a different approach to Iran-U.S. ties and talks on the nuclear issue.

    Ultimately, however, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei controls nuclear and foreign policy.

    The United States has had no ties with Iran, the world's fifth biggest oil exporter, since shortly after the 1979 Islamic revolution. Obama said his country had "tried to send a clear message that we think there is the possibility of change."

    (Additional reporting by Hossein Jaseb, Hashem Kalantari, Zahra Hosseinian in Tehran and Alistair Lyon in Beirut; Writing by Dominic Evans and Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Alistair Lyon)
    View article on single page

    Ahmadinejad wins Iran election, Mousavi cries foul | Reuters
     
  19. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    I think at the end of it all, it will be the Ayotollahs who will take a call on this.
    No one in the middle east has been able to fight against the administration/clergy. So if the Ali Khamenei says the results are fair and there was no rigging, then that will be the end of that.
     
  20. 1.44

    1.44 Member of The Month SEPTEMBER 2009 Senior Member

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    It's starting to look as if the west will be stuck with Ahmedinejad for a time.
    Almost all western countries consider Iran a pariah and will not trade with it.Iran will only have a few friendly countries left to trade with, sure looks their economy gonna take a even bigger hit with sanctions and the current global economic crisis.
     
  21. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Things might change if the WOT goes from bad to worse and America most definitely wants an alternative supply route. Then all will be forgiven.
    America has a habit of dealing with pariahs if it suits its interests.
     

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