June 15, 2009
Ayatollah Khameni today came out for the Grand Council to investigate irregularities in the election process. This of course is a ploy, considering that many of the paper ballots have been destroyed, and that the Ayatollah’s own people would not grant Mousavi’s request to guard the ballots over the weekend.
Mousavi arrived to a huge rally in Tehran, which reporter said numbered in the hundreds of thousands.
UPDATE: Protests continued through out the day all over Iran, especially in Tehran. Moussavi has made a couple of moves. He requested the votes be sequestered so a recount could proceed, and was denied by the government. He sent a letter to the Grand Council requesting a repeat of the election. He has also requested the right to hold a large protest on Monday; this will likely be denied. However, in a very clever move, he has said that if he is not permitted to hold his protest, he will proceed the Ayatollah Khameni’s mausoleum in Tehran. By Iranian law, any person can seek refuge in the mausoleum without threat of arrest or persecution…so he can have the equivalent of a protest, under the protection of Islamic Law.
June 14, 2009
Protests continue through out Iran, especially in Tehran. Reports are scattered, and ironically Twitter has become the sole source of news, with the blocking of internet and cell phones. Some people have satellite access, but even twitter access appeared to have been cutoff through the night, though it now seems to be active.
Jim Sciutto of ABC News is reporting at least 100 reform leaders have been arrested overnight, and there is still doubt if Mousavi himself will be or has been arrested. Some have said he is under house arrest. Amid all of that, Ahmadinejad had a victory march today. In the speech, he basically insulted the Mousavi forces, and would not promise to keep Moussavi safe.
Some are suggesting that there is now a movement to remove Khameini from power. That is highly unlikely, since he has the support of the highly trained Republican Guard.
June 13, 2009, 9 PM
The ridiculousness of what Iranian’s call an election is growing. Here are the sequence of events as we can best tell:
- Near closing time of the polls, mobile text messaging was turned off nationwide
- Security forces poured out into the streets in large numbers
- The Ministry of Interior (election headquarters) was surrounded by concrete barriers and armed men
- National television began broadcasting pre-recorded messages calling for everyone to unite behind the winner
- The Mousavi campaign was informed officially that they had won the election, which perhaps served to temporarily lull them into complacency
- But then the Ministry of Interior announced a landslide victory for Ahmadinejad
- Unlike previous elections, there was no breakdown of the vote by province, which would have provided a way of judging its credibility
- The voting patterns announced by the government were identical in all parts of the country, an impossibility (also see the comments of Juan Cole at the title link)
- Less than 24 hours later, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei publicly announced his congratulations to the winner, apparently confirming that the process was complete and irrevocable, contrary to constitutional requirements
- Shortly thereafter, all mobile phones, Facebook, and other social networks were blocked, as well as major foreign news sources.
First of all, some facts show what a sham this election was. Mousavi supposedly lost his hometown. Does anyone believe that? Or that the hird candidate, Mehdi Karoubi, received less than 1 percent of the total vote, even though polls showed him in the mid teens in popularity.
Turnout appears to have reached 82 percent, an all-time high. But when asked if the turnout figures should be considered suspect, given the “not credible” counts for Mousavi and Karoubi, the official said the turnout clearly was questionable.
Before the final results were announced Moussavi addressed the people of Iran in a sharply worded letter. “I recommend to the authorities that before it is late to stop this process immediately, and to return to the path of the rule of law and the holding of the public trust through the votes of the people,” he said.
It was also reported Saturday that former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani resigned from all of his official positions in protest against the results of the election, which Mousavi denounced as rigged.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, called the voters’ turnout a show of Iran’s “pride” and “honor.” He also warned citizens not to protest the vote, with some ill-foreboding. Thosuands of protesters have poured into the streets of Tehran, but with the government blocking most lines of communication, so far the protests do not appear to be concerted. However,thousands of people have moved into the streets, despite lack of cell phones or internet access. Roaming battles with security forces also have been reported. Twitter ironically has become the communication of the day…
Does this remind anyone of Tiananmen?
I guess the difference is, in 1989 George H.W. Bush spoke out in favor of the protesters…Barack Obama’s White House has so far been silent.
http://www.iran101.blogspot.com/ has a good site showing videos and pictures.
June 13, 2009
Barack Obama has been getting a lot of credit from the mainstream media for the fervor and excitement for reformer Hossein Mousavi’s campaign in Iran. Over the last few days, we have heard commentators on CNN, MSNBC, and CBS among other state that Obama deserves much of the credit for the victory if Mousavi wins, because of his ‘ground-shattering’ speech in Cairo.
Earlier in the day, State media declared President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner of Iran’s election but challenger Mirhossein Mousavi alleged irregularities and claimed victory for himself. With 70% of the votes in, Ahmadinejad appears to be headed for an easy victory…shocking all western media outlets.
What now? Ultimately the Mullahs are in charge of Iran. I have said this from the beginning…democracy only goes so far in Iran. Yes, the Mullahs don’t micromanage life there, but the major decisions (military, nuclear weapons, dialogue with the West) is ultimately made by them. The smaller day-today decisions will be left to the President, such as taxes, economic aid, etc.
So now that Ahmadinejad appears to be re-elected, is Obama to blame? Media pundits, from Chris Matthews, David Gregory, Andrea Mitchell, Wolf Blitzer and others asked if Obama deserves the credit if Ahmadinjead loses. Well, if you deserve the credit, then you deserve the blame, don’t you? We will see if the media is willing to show some credibility, but I doubt it. But this shows the ludicrous nature of the liberal media. Give Obama credit where not credit was due in the first place, and then ignore the utter failure on the other side. I don’t blame Obama; but I would certainly not have given him any credit if Mousavi has won either.
Frankly, if someone as insane as Ahmadinejad wins in a landslide after acting like a buffoon, with a bad economy, there is no chance of change by diplomatic means in Iran for a long, long time. There was a huge turnout this year. People had been depending on the large turnout to help the reformist…instead, it appears that it helped the hardliner. This will embolden Ahmadinejad and the Iranian nuclear program. That will make things much tougher for Obama, and Isreal is much more apt to attack with someone like Ahmadinejad in power.
Now, the reality is that the vote likely was rigged…but what surprise is that? People who have argued that Iranians enjoy democracy have long been delusional. Whether true or false, Ahmadinejad is going to be the Iranian President for the foreseeable future.
The world just got a little scarier tonight.