Positive development in Iran:
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's opponents were poised to secure a majority on Tehran's City Council, in the first political setback suffered by Iran's president since he won the office in June 2005.
...The results show that Ahmadinejad's ``populist'' rhetoric hasn't impressed Iranians as much as he may have expected, said Mohammad-Ali Abtahi, a vice-president under Khatami. After a year-and-a-half in office, Ahmadinejad's ``lack of delivery'' on promises to raise living standards and improve economic conditions had registered with voters, Abtahi said in a phone interview in Tehran.
...A failure by his supporters to win Tehran would represent a ``big blow'' to Ahmadinejad and a ``strong endorsement for the centralists,'' Ali Ansari, reader in Middle Eastern politics at St. Andrews University, Scotland, said in a phone interview Dec. 18. Ansari was referring to Iranian politicians seeking economic liberalization and a more conciliatory approach to the U.S....