Sunday, June 14, 2009

Riots erupt in Tehran over 'stolen' election.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is claiming victory in Iran as the streets around him explode in violence at the "stolen" election.

Tonight riot police in Tehran confronted thousands of demonstrators shouting "death to dictatorship" amid shock and confusion after the official result backed Ahmadinejad's claim to have won, made barely an hour after polls closed last night.

The moderate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who had been widely expected to beat the controversial incumbent if there was a high turnout - or at least do well enough to trigger a second round - insisted he was the victor and appealed against the result to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader. "I personally strongly protest the many obvious violations and I'm warning I will not surrender to this dangerous charade," said Mousavi, a former prime minister. "The result will jeopardise the pillars of the Islamic republic and establish tyranny."

But Khamenei replied that the election had been conducted fairly. He ordered the three defeated candidates and their supporters to avoid "provocative" behaviour. "All Iranians must support and help the elected president," he warned.

So, Khamenei is refusing to back Mousavi's claims and I also note that Hillary Clinton is being cautious in how she calls this.
The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said she hoped the election result reflected the "genuine will and desire" of Iranian citizens.
However, Juan Cole - who I do trust - has found evidence which he finds disturbing.
It is claimed that Ahmadinejad won the city of Tabriz with 57%. His main opponent, Mir Hossein Mousavi, is an Azeri from Azerbaijan province, of which Tabriz is the capital. Mousavi, according to such polls as exist in Iran and widespread anecdotal evidence, did better in cities and is popular in Azerbaijan. Certainly, his rallies there were very well attended. So for an Azeri urban center to go so heavily for Ahmadinejad just makes no sense. In past elections, Azeris voted disproportionately for even minor presidential candidates who hailed from that province.
And there are certainly political analysts in Iran who feel that Khamenei has decided that Ahmadinejad is the man he wants in charge of Iran for the next decade.
"The regime is making a decision to shape the direction of Iran for the next decade," Saeed Laylaz, a political analyst, said. "I'm sure they didn't even count the votes. I do not accept this result. It is false. It should be the opposite. If Ahmadinejad is president again Iran will be more isolated and more aggressive. But he is the choice of the regime."
More will come out in the next few days, but there's certainly a feeling that Khamenei may very well have got the result that he wanted.

Foreign diplomats scrambled to make sense of the reversal. Fraud had been expected but not on the apparently massive scale required to produce an outcome almost diametrically opposite to what had been predicted by the Mousavi camp and independent analysts.

Yesterday's excitement in the opposition camp gave way to fury. "It's shameful, they have rigged the polls," said technician Majidreza Askari. "What would you expect from the interior ministry of a liar president? Ahmadinejad lies in front of the whole nation on state-run TV."

Samaneh Younes, a nurse demonstrating in Vanak Square, Tehran, said: "How is it possible that Mousavi didn't even get good results in his own province? How is it possible that there were no blank votes? Why didn't the government provide enough ballot papers in big cities where Mousavi had a huge number of supporters?"

First, he gets lumped with Netanyahu, then he gets stuck with Ahmadinejad. Elections in the Middle East seem to have a habit of giving Barack Obama the opposite result to the one he craves.


Andrew Sullivan
Moussavi calls the election results "stunning" and in his words: "People who stood in long lines to cast their ballots and know for whom they have voted, are watching in astonishment to the magic being played by the election official and media".

He also calls the election a "big game", warning he will not concede to this "dangerous charade". Karroubi also calls the election results "comical" and void of any legitimacy, declaring he will not concede. He says: "This is just the beginning of the story".

I have never heard such hard language from anyone inside the government.

Here is some footage of people taking to the streets in protest. The people don't look as if they are going to accept this result.

Click title for full article.

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