Page last updated at 12:31 GMT, Tuesday, 9 June 2009 13:31 UK

Iran election: Diaspora views

With just a few days campaigning left ahead of Iran's presidential elections, several Iranians living outside their country tell the BBC News website who they are supporting and why.

Golrokh Nafisi

Golrokh Nafisi, Delft, Netherlands


Ramin, Los Angeles, US

Arash, Austin, Texas, US

Karim Pakravan

Karim Pakravan, Chicago, USA

Mehdi Jalili, London, UK

Shahpour Safari

Shahpour Safari, London, UK

Golrokh Nafisi, illustration student, Delft, Netherlands
Golrokh Nafisi

I came to the Netherlands a year ago because I wanted to experience a culture totally different to my own. And it is!

I hope Mir Hossein Mousavi will win. I really like [former president Mohammad] Khatami and he is supporting Mousavi, so that's one of my reasons for backing him.

I also like the fact we see his wife campaigning with him. This is unusual in Iran. For me, it means the candidate is honest and transparent with his life - and I like his wife's style.

I watched that terrible TV debate between Mousavi and Ahmadinejad. I became furious! Ahmadinejad has no moral authority. I really liked the way Mousavi ignored Ahmadinejad's behaviour - he was cool.

I think Mousavi's support base includes right wingers. We need a good manager who can sort out our economy, this is more important than right or left.

Mousavi has talked about the need for a free media and I agree. We must focus on local media and local issues: traffic, the city, buildings. These are our problems, not just the big issues all the time.

See Golrokh's illustrations on her blog

Ramin, lawyer and dentist, Los Angeles, USA

Last year was my first visit to Iran in 15 years. It was better than I expected, even if the girl on the front desk was too busy watching Obama's speech on TV, to check my flight home!

I'm hoping a moderate will win - that's what I hope for in every election. I believe change and reform has to be incremental.

I have my Iranian passport, so I could vote. But after a quarter of a century not there, I'm not sure I'm really entitled to.

Here in LA almost all my friends are Jewish. I'm Muslim, but religion doesn't matter. Then you hear these speeches from Ahmadinejad and it portrays an image that Iranians are anti-Semitic which is not true.

Fox TV focuses on Ahmadinejad being anti-Semitic and Iranian TV focuses on how the West talks about free speech, but leaves the room when the president opens his mouth.

At least [former president] Khatami could smile and portray a softer image. He has publically endorsed Mousavi - so I guess he has better credentials than the others.

Arash, student, Austin, Texas, USA

I came here from Iran in December. I miss Iran, but if Ahmadinejad gets in again, he will simply destroy the country, so I won't go back.

I'm on the reformist side, so I want either Mir Hossein Mousavi or Mehdi Karroubi to win. Because Khatami is supporting Mousavi, it has to be him.

But he's making promises he cannot keep. He says he will abolish police interference in people's lives - but the fashion police are controlled by the supreme leader, so he simply can't do that.

People expect a lot. They want everything to change overnight, that's why they got so frustrated with Khatami. The president's powers are limited.

I know a lot of people who voted for Ahmadinejad four years ago. One of them is my aunt, who is a professor and a reformist. Back then, he presented himself as down to earth, not corrupt, the right man for the job. She has told me she'll vote for Mousavi this time.

I don't like his foreign policy speeches or his management of domestic policy. He changed bank interest rates against economists' advice and house prices have doubled in the past few years.

Karim Pakravan, academic, Chicago, USA
Karim Pakravan

If Ahmadinejad is re-elected it will increase the brain drain, especially among women.

Universities in Iran are producing large numbers of highly educated people - with no job prospects. I think if they don't get the result they want with Mousavi there will be big problems.

If Ahmadinejad wins, I won't trust the result. He only won the first round last time by half a million votes and they kept the ballot box open for an extra six hours in cities where he was popular.

I will not be voting, I don't think this regime has legitimacy. I just hope whatever the outcome, there will be some improvement for Iranians.

The supreme leader doesn't have the charisma of Khomenei, he has to deal with a lot of constituencies: the religious leaders in Qom, public discontent over the economy.

Ultimately the Iranian government wants US recognition and I think this will be easier to achieve with someone like Mousavi.

Mehdi Jalili, 40, London, UK

I came to London 20 years ago as a student, and I've stayed here ever since.

I support Ahmadinejad because I find him the most sincere, educated and convincing of the candidates. He works for the benefit of Iranian people.

If young people want more freedom in Iran, Ahmadinejad does not have all the say in that area
Mehdi Jalili

I don't vote for hardliners automatically, so, yes I did vote for Mohammad Khatami.

To people who criticise the impression he gives abroad, well, as long as Iran wants to stay an independent country, whatever the leader says will not go down well with western powers. Ahmadinejad is clever, he is only responding to the hard words from western countries.

Yes, there is a new, softer tone coming from the White House now. I think personally Obama is a good man. But he may have a hard job persuading those around him. We'll have to see what really happens.

If young people want more freedom in Iran - Ahmadinejad does not have all the say in that area. I support the whole system in Iran.

I do think he has the best plans of all the candidates for Iran's economy. Ahmadinejad is focusing on the welfare of poor people, others are focusing on the industrialised economy. He has laid good ground work for a recovery.

He also won the TV debates that I saw. He was right to attack the qualifications of his opponent's wife - he has received worse insults himself. I think campaigning with your wife is a good idea though, it may bring in more women!

Shahpour Safari, sales/stand up comedian, London, UK
Shahpour Safari

If I could vote it would be for Mehdi Karroubi. Neither of the reformist candidates can take on the Guardian Council, but I think Karroubi would manage it the best. He has a well-organised support group and promises action.

He can fight for the future step by step. That's the only way we'll get change. Ahmadinejad was a backwards step, several steps backward!

I don't think the result was fair last time, and I think the election authorities will do all they can to give Ahmadinejad victory again.

I left Iran in 2000. I had written some poems against the Islamic government, it was just a joke. But a friend who published the leaflet was arrested. When they released him, I thought it was time to leave. These days, I think that was a mistake.

I haven't seen my elderly parents in nine years. Friends tell me it's safe to return, but my family thinks I'm safer here.

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