[...] The rights and concerns of Iran's ethnic minorities are enjoying a prominence in this year's race far greater than during any previous election in the Islamic Republic. Both Moussavi and the other reformist candidate, Mehdi Karroubi, have traveled far and wide in Iran to court Lors, Kurds, Arabs, Turkomans, Azeris, Baluchis and other non-Persian minorities who together make up almost half of the population. Under Ahmadinejad's government, there has been greater repression of political and media activity among the minorities, a fact the state justifies by citing U.S. government efforts to undermine the Islamic Republic by funding opposition activities among minorities in the border regions. Despite the country's patchwork of intertwined ethnicities, religions and languages, Iranians from all backgrounds harbor a strong sense of national identity. Still, the central government has historically been wary of the minorities who mostly inhabit Iran's peripheral provinces. [...]
The Azeris in particular have held influential positions high up in government. Mousavi himself had been prime minister in the 1980's, when Iran was at war with Iraq and his is credited with helping overcome crippling shortages. Amadinejad has mismanaged the economy, causing intolerable price increases. Mousavi has a proven track record of doing a better job, even under trying circumstances. I'm hoping he trounces Amadinejad, but how fair the election will be remains to be seen.
Reformist Azeri Couple Challenge Iran's Amadinejad in Upcoming June Elections