Sunday, 14 June 2009

Stolen Election


Has anyone seen what's happening in Iran? You want to go the Huffington Post, who are blogging with live updates; CNN, apparently, is a bit of a fail.

So, as far as I can tell - and I don't have anything but a sketchy-at-best and recent understanding of this - the incumbent candidate for presidency, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, claims to have won the vote in a landslide. However, there seem to many reasons why this is improbable and unlikely, and supporters of Mir Hussein Mousavi, ex-Prime Minister, presidential candidate and his biggest opposition because he is widly popular with young/students, activists, journalists, women and minories of Iran, are out on the streets to protest what some are calling a "soft coup." With no word from Mousavi, it is suspected he is under house arrest.


In short, "it’s impossible to be sure, but Ahmadinejad’s victory looks extraordinarily suspicious. If he won by that margin, he would be the most popular Iranian president ever — which he certainly isn’t. And it seems exceptionally unlikely that he won in Moussavi’s hometown, as the government claims. That’s the problem with dictators — they don’t just try to steal a squeaker of an election, they try to steal a landslide. In the process they lose plausibility and legitimacy."


On the basis of what we know so far, here is the sequence of events starting on the afternoon of election day, Friday, June 12.

* 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 Khamene`i 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.


Iran is now a tinderbox. The right is tenaciously consolidating its control over the state and refuses to yield. There is a split among the mullahs and significant dismay with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. A gaping hole has been ripped open in Iranian society, exposing the contradictions of the regime and everyone now sees that the democracy that they believed that they had in Iranian form is a "charade."

...This "coup by the right wing" has created pressures that cannot be solved or patted down by the normal institutional arrangements Iran has constructed. The Guardian Council and other power nodes of government can't deal with the current crisis and can't deal with the fact that a civil war has now broken out among Iran's revolutionaries.


This news inspired two things in me:

1) shock. How can something so blatently wrong be allowed? Obviously Iran is a corrupt country, but this is unacceptable, unbelievable; it's just so utterly awful...much respect for all those brave enough to "take to the streets their deepest dissatisfactions with every aspect of life in Iran -- from the lack of the freedom expression during non-election season and poor economic conditions to the flawed political structure of the Islamic Republic that places all the major powers of the state in the hands of an unelected Ayatollah. Most Iranians who are so enthusiastic about Mousavi will tell you that they, by no means, believe he is the best Iran can do; they believe there should be no Guardian Council of clerics who decide who can or can't run for office based on their loyalty to Islamic values to begin with," only to be faced with this:

Ali, a university student, went to the take a final exam today but ended up in an alley all beat up and bloody after he decided to attend the protests in the Fatemi Square. His friends found him in back streets near the Fatemi Square where thousands of people gathered to protest the results of the election. Ali’s family said, “There is not a spot on his body what was not beat including his head and face.” Ali’s real name has been changed to protect his identity.


[More photos from Tehran Live]

2) this is the kind of journalist I want to be, opening the world's eyes to injustice and fraud; I want to take photos like this, that say something about the state of the world we live in. I want to report on news that matters, and make the world think.

[More photos]

[New York Times]




anahita said...

*sighs* yep. not completely surprised though. I mean...well yeah. I didn't really feel the election would be fair. And the thing abotu iran that worries me, especially now that that twerp's been re elected is - america and everyone are like, we want to repair relations with iran. and although that sounds very postive, it's actually not. why would you WANT relationships with such a dictator?? I mean, I know it's dangerous for iran to have america and that be pissed at it. but somehow, the idea of obama trying to understand ahmadinejad and his insane points of view is even more horrible. he's an arse. the democratic natiosn of the orld oughtn't be in any sort of league with him.

urgh. this really sucks. I just want everything to be ok, but it's not. and it's like - four more years of this. yay.

Ryan.A.Nash said...

Eye-wash. Everywhere. Every single democratic nation has it too. The point is, it is covered up.