[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/07/20/iran.clerics.referendum/art.iran.khatami.gi.jpg caption="YFormer president Mohammad Khatami backed reformist candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi in the June 12 vote."]
Special to CNN
Whatever the end result of the current electoral crisis in Iran, the dramatic rise of national politics has already cast a long and enduring shadow over the geopolitics of the region. No country can go back to business as usual. The climate has changed - for good.
Before the June 2009 presidential election, the realpolitik of the region had placed Iran, Syria, the Palestinian Hamas, the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Iraqi Mahdi Army on one side of the geopolitical divide, and U.S. and its regional allies on another. With an extended foot in Venezuela, Iran had even a claim on the backyard of the United States.
In this precarious condition, the Islamic Republic emerged, not out of its own capacities, but by virtue of serious follies that President George W. Bush had committed in its neighborhood as a regional "superpower." The presidential election of June 2009 suddenly has made that geopolitics something of an archeological relic.
With the commencement of the civil rights movement in Iran in June 2009, the moral map of the Middle East is being changed right in front of our eyes, with the democratic will of one nation having thrown a monkey wrench into the geopolitics of the region. The moving pictures of Iranians flooding colorfully into the streets have forever altered the visual vocabulary of the global perception of "the Middle East."
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