Thursday, June 09, 2005

Disillusioned Iran students turn backs on election

Whether cowed by crackdowns, pacified by an increase in social freedoms or simply resigned, Iran's students are no longer the force that once spearheaded a revolution or agitated for liberal reform.

With just over a week to go before a presidential election in which the Islamic state's clerical leaders have said it is a national and religious duty to vote, student leader Abdollah Momeni is calling -- quietly -- for a boycott.

It appears the last resort of a group whose hopes for reform through the ballot box have all but vanished, at least for now.

"Voting in this situation would be an approval of the current system," said Momeni, 28, the secretary of the largest pro-reform student movement, the Office to Consolidate Unity.

"With the current international situation, the Islamic Republic more than ever needs people's votes to demonstrate its legitimacy. By boycotting the vote, we want to show that there is a legitimacy problem."


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