13 June 2009

Iran

After an election marked by widespread ballot irregularities and mysterious disruptions of internet communications, the Iranian regime has declared Ahmadinejad the winner by an almost two-to-one margin. Scattered violence has broken out in Tehran.

This is a situation that bears watching.

Update 1 (4:56 Oregon time): It's hard to get a picture of what's going on across a city as vast as Tehran, never mind the whole of Iran, but the Telegraph is reporting that the street violence is the worst in a decade. In a sign that the regime anticipated an angry response, communications within Tehran have been disrupted since Friday:

At the same time, the nationwide text messaging system stopped functioning, the mobile telephone network seemed blocked, and several pro-Mousavi websites were blocked or difficult to access. Text messaging is frequently used by Iranians – especially young opposition supporters – to spread political news.

"Losing" candidate Mousavi appears to be encouraging the people to resist:

"I'm warning that I won't surrender to this manipulation," read a statement on his website. "The outcome of what we've seen from the performance of officials... is nothing but shaking the pillars of the Islamic Republic of Iran's sacred system and governance of lies and dictatorship." He added that "people won't respect those who take power through fraud."

Again, this is a situation that bears watching.

Update 2 (14 June): Rioting continues; protesters are denouncing the real ruler of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who endorsed the claimed Ahmadinejad victory (note: "35C" is about 95 Fahrenheit). Michael Totten is providing a continuously updated report on Iran, including videos.

The regime may be playing with fire. Aside from the parallels with the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, this is how Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos fell -- when an election flagrantly rigged to keep him in power triggered popular outrage.

2 Comments:

Blogger Nancy said...

How very reminiscent of the Bush v Gore election of 2000.

Mousavi's Web site states, "The outcome of what we've seen from the performance of officials ... is nothing but shaking the pillars of the Islamic Republic of Iran's sacred system and governance of lies and dictatorship."

He warned "people won't respect those who take power through fraud."

The situation does bear watching.

13 June, 2009 09:18  
Blogger Matt Osborne said...

The clergy is not unified. Rafsanjani and the reformist clerics are not going to accept the election. Khamenei's power relies on their support -- he wasn't even an ayatollah until Qom granted him that status. The question "whither Iran?" will be answered in that forum.

13 June, 2009 19:29  

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