Iran could be "on a path to becoming America's most important partner" in the Persian Gulf region, said Leslie H. Gelb in The Daily Beast. Mir Hussein Mousavi, a reformist and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's main challenger in Friday elections, is coming on strong. Even if Ahmadinejad steals the election, or Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei overturns the result, the world will see that the "crazies, even if they hold on to power this time, are losing their grip."
The vote won't be the chance pro-democracy Iranians were hoping for to "express their enchantment with religious dictatorship," said Con Coughlin in The Wall Street Journal. "The guardians of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's revolution will remain deeply entrenched." No matter who wins, President Obama should expect Iran's threats against Israel and its refusal to abandon its dreams of building nuclear weapons to continue.
"Certainly, the next president, whoever he may be, will be better than Ahmadinejad," said Jameel Theyabi in Lebanon's Dar Al Hayat. Even some in Iran's religious establishment have soured on the incumbent president, leaving his rivals free to accuse him of establishing a dictatorship and "implementing rash policies." It will take a long time to stop Iran's interference with its neighbors and restore trust, but getting rid of Ahmadinejad is a start.