Even the fact that the national TV and news agencies reflected the parliamentary elections as yet another victory for the Islamic Republic (See some examples here) did not shock or sadden the Iranians. (It has been a common practice of the Iranian government to manipulate images of the empty voting polls and the low percentage of turnouts for a while.)
A broken promise, however, is what shocked the Iranians who identified with the Green Movement and other reformists or opposition groups. Such Iranians who voted and protested in 2009 had called for the boycott of this year’s parliamentary elections. However, the former reformist president, Mohamad Khatami, who had also urged his followers to not to got to the polls, participated in the election.
Facebook comments and Twitter feeds, as well as reformist news websites such as Kalameh News and Jaras News, were denying the news. And as I mentioned earlier, they blamed the typical photoshoping and manipulating tactics of the regime. However, the moment his voting became official, a sudden wave of shock and feeling of betrayal went through Iran.
A friend of mine, overwhelmed with emotions cried out and said at that moment, "I just hate him [Khatami] for the false trust he had planted in us all these years." Lengthy op-eds or short commentaries were published on social networks and blog to try to make sense of why Khatami voted. “He is a reformist, not an anarchist” or “He is under a lot of pressure” were some of the claims they tried to justify his act. Others simply called him a “shameless trader.”
Well, I wish I knew why Khatami voted too. That way, I could offer some comfort to my fellow heart-broken Iranians, but that’s how we “heart” Iran since nothing is certain. While the pro-government groups are celebrating their victory, many are still trying to figure out the logic behind Khatami’s voting. While some Iranians are trying to hold on the last bit of joy left from the Oscars, others are bitterly letting go of another chapter in Iran’s politics.
An image of former president Khatami circulated Facebook this week saying Khatami's vote felt like he was sticking his tongue out at the Iranian people.