Thursday, March 20, 2008
Iran Standoff: Running Out of Time
Most Iran-watchers agree that the recent parliamentary elections represent a mild setback for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Pragmatists led by Hashemi Rafsanjani and Ali Larijani roughly split the conservative vote, and even reform candidates, who were suppressed from the ballots in large numbers, managed to pick up some seats. The resulting tension has immediately made itself felt in the standoff that has galvanized world attention and divided the Iranian leadership: the decision on whether or not to pursue Tehran's controversial policy of implementing Daylight Savings Time:
Iran will again use daylight saving time this year despite earlier opposition from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government.
Iran stopped putting the clocks forward in spring 2006 because, although it aims to save electricity by lengthening evening daylight by an hour, the government said there was no evidence to show it cut energy use.
The government said it still opposed using daylight saving time, although parliament voted to reinstate the practice last year.
"The government will be implementing (parliament's) legislation regarding the change in the country's official timing," Government Spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham said.
On a more serious note, an earthquake registering 4.1 on the Richter scale hit roughly 50 miles south of the main uranium conversion facility at Isfahan. No reports yet on damage or casualties.
Cross-posted to World Politics Review.