LobeLog on Facebook   LobeLog on Facebook











The Collaborationists

by John Feffer In the middle of September, Harvard University announced that...

Iran Rouhani-Iran-Election-Crowd

Published on June 21st, 2013 | by Guest

1

Iran’s People of the 90th Minute

by Mehrnaz Samimi

Iran’s national soccer team won a thrilling match against South Korea on June 18, landing them a spot in the 2014 World Cup. With the excitement and joy over Hassan Rouhani’s presidential victory still in the air, people gathered in the streets for the second time in less than a week to celebrate.

Political demonstrations are often a daring feat in Iran. Sports celebrations, however, are welcomed.

During these gatherings, folks warm up to each other. Some hand out candy or pastries in the streets to strangers. People become familiar with one another within hours.

Mohammad Khatami’s first-term election was the first time in nearly two decades that people were ecstatic that a cleric had come to power. His presidential rival at the time — Ali-Akbar Nategh Nouri — was a cleric as well.

This time, people demonstrated strong support for a single cleric running against five non-clerics, thanks to Rouhani’s moderate views and his competitors’ conservatism.

Iranians are known as “the people of the 90th minute”, an expression rooted in a soccer analogy.

The official length of a soccer match is 90 minutes, and Iranians are likened to some professional soccer players who seem to wait until the very last minute to play extraordinary offense.

Iranians might also agree that they generally wait until the last minute to make a decision or take action, even on important issues.

Planning trips months ahead isn’t the norm among many Iranians living inside Iran. Similarly, Iranians might wait until the final days before voting officially opens to decide on their presidential candidate.

This culture of minute-90 was similarly in place at the time of the candidates’ debates.

It took a long time for the debates’ broadcast schedule to be announced, and the final debate was aired only a few days before the big day.

A high turnout was not anticipated for this year’s presidential election.

Most people also doubted that Rouhani stood a chance, especially since many Iranians seemed reluctant to vote.

The people’s lack of enthusiasm gave way to some excitement following an endorsement of Rouhani from centrist leader Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and reformist leader Khatami.

After Rouhani received their public backing, many people — almost at minute-90 of the election — became decisive.

Many members of Iran’s middle class, upper middle class, educated professionals and former reformists (including Green Movement supporters) decided to participate by voting for Rouhani.

Some still seemed like they would refrain from voting, joking that they would vote for themselves and even discouraged friends and relatives from voting.

But being the last-minute people, most of Iran’s eligible voters ultimately did exercise their constitutional right.

Some people even came out during the evening of voting day, which resulted in some voting stations receiving a surge of voters not long before they closed.

The Ministry of the Interior almost always extends the deadline for voting due to the all-too-familiar phenomenon of minute-90 decision-making. That happened this year too.

Rouhani wasn’t considered a favorite or even a front-runner until the last week of the election.

The support he received from the centrist-reformist alliance catapulted him into the spotlight, but he owes his victory to Iran’s people.

Without the last-minute surge of voter support, Rouhani wouldn’t have won.

Iran’s people of the 90th minute have come through and surprised us yet again.

— Mehrnaz Samimi is an Iranian-American journalist based in Washington, DC. She can be reached at mehrnazsamimi@gmail.com

— Photo Credit: Mona Hoobehfekr

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


One Response to Iran’s People of the 90th Minute

Show Comments >



  1. avatar Bigan Saliani says:

    Excellant analogy, being Iranian I can understand the 90 minute decision making move.


About the Author

avatar

Articles by guest writers.



Back to Top ↑
  • Named after veteran journalist Jim Lobe, LobeLog provides daily expert perspectives on US foreign policy toward the Middle East through investigative reports and analyses from Washington to Tehran and beyond. It became the first weblog to receive the Arthur Ross Award for Distinguished Reporting and Analysis of Foreign Affairs from the American Academy of Diplomacy in 2015.

  • Categories

  • Subscribe

    Enter your email address to subscribe to our site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Popular Posts

  • Comments Policy

    We value your opinion and encourage you to comment on our postings. To ensure a safe environment we will not publish comments that involve ad hominem attacks, racist, sexist or otherwise discriminatory language, or anything that is written solely for the purpose of slandering a person or subject.

    Excessively long comments may not be published due to their length. All comments are moderated. LobeLog does not publish comments with links.

    Thanks for reading and we look forward to hearing from you!