Iran's latest decision to increase voting age from 15 to 18 tells us that Ahmadinejad's biggest fear is not the U.S. but his own restive youth.
Nearly three quarters of Iran's population is under the age of 30 but these youngsters make an unhappy lot. The rising generation of Iranian youth is more democratic, more liberal, more secular and more positively disposed toward the West than ever before. The future offered by the regime is bleak. The education system is largely inadequate or inappropriate to the modern age; unemployment is high, even before the next large cohort enters the job market; the economy is floundering.
By barring from voting almost 5 million Iranians between the ages of 15 and 18, many of them cast their ballot against him in local elections last month, causing him a humiliating defeat, Ahmadinejad hopes to fare better in the next legislative elections in February 2008, and the presidential ones in 2009. But be sure that when this youth reaches the new voting age they will not like Mr. Ahamadinejad and his ilk more than they do now.