Thursday, May 26, 2005

Iran forward not back

With their unmistakably Islamic appearance and dress-sense, the three earnest young men working feverishly in a room festooned with charts and graphs did not look like apostles of New Labour.

But as they laid out the polling and campaigning methods aimed at securing the election of Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf, a religious hardliner standing in next month's Iranian presidential election, it became clear they had one overriding role model; Tony Blair.

"We have studied Labour's [recent] election manifesto in detail and we have created a combination of that and ours," said Seiyid Amir Hossein Mokaberi, the manager of the planning and control office at Mr Qalibaf's Tehran campaign headquarters.