Support Our Persian Brothers and Sisters

28

June 13, 2009 by J. Madson

The election results are official and once again an election has been stolen. The people’s desire for Mousavi has been overturned by the Mullahs and other powerbrokers in Iran.6a00d83451c45669e2011571084d88970b-500wi 
The real govt (mullahs) declared a winner with predetermined numbers not even attempeting to count the votes. Mousavi has declared himself the winner, in spite of the govt. official line, and there are riots in the streets. The govt has shut down many internet services, but twitters and youtube seem to still be working. We hear now that Moussavi has been put under house arrest and Rafsanjani has resigned or been detained. There’s also a report that Sianat az ara, the election monitors approved by all candidates, has declared the result a fraud. About 200 police forces have surrounded the newspaper offices of Etemademelli and Green Word, holding at least 30 journalist inside.
The fate of the journalists is not known.

There are riots in the streets chanting “freedom! freedom! death to our govt.”

bbc news has great footage here

follow flickr streams here and here:

you can follow live blogging of the events here

Nikahang Kosar, Iranian leading cartoonist and blogger
6a00d83451c45669e2011570134563970c-500wi

Update:
form one of Andrew Sullivan’s readers:

I talked to my brother who is inTehran a couple of hours ago. YouTube is apparently down (filtered). The satellite TV and international radio stations (SW) are also jammed. But apparently a VOA satellite TV station has started to broadcast on a new frequency and so they have access to that. They had also lost the cell-phone service. (The phone system is operated by the Ministry of Technology and Communications; so it is state run.) It really is feeling like a coup.

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28 thoughts on “Support Our Persian Brothers and Sisters

  1. Grégoire says:

    Thank you so much for posting this.

    I found the reactions interesting when I read them this morning. I don’t think they’ve hit the English language press yet, but in LeMonde there’s a big article.

    http://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2009/06/13/reactions-internationales-prudentes-a-la-reelection-de-mahmoud-ahmadinejad_1206718_3218.html#ens_id=1190750

    Only three supporters of Ahmadinejad exist. Hamas in Gaza, Syrian Dictator Bashar Al-Assad, and, most amazingly, the so-called “socialist” president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. Astounding!

    Le président Hugo Chavez a appelé au téléphone son homologue iranien pour le féliciter de sa réélection, saluée comme la “victoire pour un monde nouveau”. M. Chavez a souligné, lors de cet entretien, que cette victoire démontrait “l’engagement du peuple iranien pour la construction d’un monde nouveau”, selon le communiqué. Il s’agit d'”une victoire très grande et importante pour les peuples qui luttent pour un monde meilleur”, a estimé le président vénézuélien.

    President Hugo Chavez phoned in to congratulate President Ahmadinejad on what he called a “Victory For A New World”. Chavez emphasized in the call that he saw the election as a “Victory for the People” and emphasized that he expected Iran’s help in building a “New World”. He specifically called it a “large and important victory for the people who fight for a world of justice”.

    Don’t speak French perfectly, but you get the idea. This is a pathetic bit of flattery motivated only by distaste toward the status-quo. Chavez is indulging in flagrant ass-kissing here, in my opinion. He is completely betraying the people he claims to champion.

  2. J. Madson says:

    Gregory, more news is coming in

    I pray they hold strong. This will likely determine the future of Iran, Israel, and US involvement militarily. We now know the following

    Gary Sick:

    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.

    All of this had the appearance of a well orchestrated strike intended to take its opponents by surprise – the classic definition of a coup. Curiously, this was not a coup of an outside group against the ruling elite; it was a coup of the ruling elite against its own people.

    There are also people on the rooftops and streets still protesting into the next day. At 4 am in Iran there is this

    One person wrote into Sullivan’s blog:

    “My next door neighbor is an Iranian immigrant who came here in 1977. He just received a SAT phone call from his brother in Tehran who reports that the rooftops of nighttime Tehran are filled with people shouting ‘Allah O Akbar’ in protest of the government and election results. The last time he remembers this happening is in 1979 during the Revolution. Says the sound of tens of thousands on the rooftops is deafening right now.”

    Apparently when most media was shutdown twitter survived. Here’s the Twitter from a Moussavi supporter:

    ALL internet & mobile networks are cut. We ask everyone in Tehran to go onto their rooftops and shout ALAHO AKBAR in protest #IranElection

  3. Grégoire says:

    J: Thanks. Things don’t seem to be slowing down there.

    http://revnost.blogspot.com/2009/06/re-election-day.html

    My friend Said in Tehran gave me a few photos and encouraged me to share them. Most of these are ‘day two’ photos, according to him. The national communications apparatus has been shut down and these photos are something of a precious commodity right now, as the IRI would like to project the image of a happy population and a successful election.

  4. J. Madson says:

    more news Im pulling from some of the minute to minute blogs:

    It has been confirmed that 120 faculty members at Sharif University have resigned in protest of the election, and are gathering in front of the university for a demonstration

    Over 100 reformists, including Mohammad Reza Khatami the brother of former president Khatami, were arrested on Saturday night, leading reformist Mohammad Ali Abtahi told Reuters on Sunday.

    “They were taken from their homes last night,” said former vice president Abtahi. He said more arrests were expected.

    Ghalamnews (Mousavi’s newspaper) reports Mousavi is calling for a peaceful march along Valiasr street in Tehran and in 19 other cities on Monday and a national strike on Tuesday. Before the election, Mousavi supporters formed a chain down the entire 18 kilometer length of Valiasr.

    unconfirmed, but these are the numbers allegedly coming from journalists in Iran under arrest
    Unofficial news – reports leaked results from Interior Ministry:
    Eligible voters: 49,322,412
    Votes cast: 42,026,078
    Spoilt votes: 38,716
    Mir Hossein Mousavi: 19,075,623
    Mehdi Karoubi: 13,387,104
    Mahmoud Ahmadi-nejad (incumbent): 5,698,417
    Mohsen Rezaei (conservative candidate): 3,754,218
    hundreds of parents have gathered by a police station in Yousef Abad, now known as Seyyed Jamal Aldin Asad Abadi, with their hands raised to the sky saying “Obama, please help us, they are killing our young children.” They were gathering there because their kids are missing and they were trying to find out where they are.

    Reformist candidate Mehdi Karroubi has taken off his clegry robe in protest.

    Grand Ayatollah Sanei in Iran has declared Ahmadinejad’s presidency illegitimate and cooperating with his government against Islam. There are strong rumors that his house and office are surrounded by the police and his website is filtered. He had previously issued a fatwa, against rigging of the elections in any form or shape, calling it a mortal sin.

    richard cohen:
    “Here is my country,” a young woman said to me, voice breaking. “This is a coup. I could have worked in Europe but I came back for my people.” And she, too, sobbed. “Don’t cry, be brave,” a man admonished her. He was from the Interior Ministry. He showed his ID card. He said he’d worked there 30 years. He said he hadn’t been allowed in; nor had most other employees. He said the votes never got counted. He said numbers just got affixed to each candidate. He said he’d demanded of the police why “victory” required such oppression. He said he’d fought in the 1980-88 Iraq war, his brother was a martyr, and now his youth seemed wasted and the nation’s sacrifice in vain. Quoting Ferdowsi, the epic poet, he said, “If there is no Iran, let me be not.”

    Ibrahim Yazdi, “a leading Iranian dissident and Iran’s foreign minister in the early days of Islamic republic”:
    A coup d’etat? They’ve already made one! They’ve created a dictatorship, in fact. Do you know that last night the security forces occupied the offices of many newspapers, to make sure that their reporting on the election was favorable? They changed many headlines. They fixed the election.
    The Guards are taking over everything, including many economic institutions. The ministry of the interior is increasing its control in all the provinces.
    We have information that Ahmadinejad is thinking about changing the Constitution to allow the president to serve more than two terms, to make his presidency more or less permanent. Of course, there are strong voices in the establishment that will challenge him. It is not clear that he and the Sepah (the Revolutionary Guard) will be strong enough to overcome them. But there will be clashes over this.
    The scariest analysis is this:

    [T]he scariest point he made to me that I had not heard anywhere else is that 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.

    My contact predicted serious violence at the highest levels. He said that Ahmadinejad is now genuinely scared of Iranian society and of Mousavi and Rafsanjani. The level of tension between them has gone beyond civil limits — and my contact said that Ahmadinejad will try to have them imprisoned and killed.

    Likewise, he said, Rafsanjani, Khatami, and Mousavi know this — and thus are using all of the instruments at their control within Iran’s government apparatus to fight back — but given Khamenei’s embrace of Ahmadinejad’s actions in the election and victory, there is no recourse but to try and remove Khamenei. Some suggest that Rafsanjani will count votes to see if there is a way to formally dislodge Khamenei — but this source I met said that all of these political giants have resources at their disposal to “do away with” those that get in the way.

  5. J. Madson says:

    It looks as if the military is trying to take over an institute a secular military regime. There are also some rumors that Rafsanjani is trying to get enough votes to oust the ayatollah.

    It will be interesting to see how this pans out. If any sort of democratic rule will come to the middle east, this is how it will come, from within and not by us or any outside nation.

  6. J. Madson says:

    This video shows how technology is playing a big part in the protests. http://vimeo.com/2139754?pg=embed&sec=

    I wonder if Tianemen would have been different with todays communication abilities. Many in China still know little about their own past.

  7. theradicalmormon says:

    Excuse me for butting in here folks, but I think that all of this talk of a stolen election is a bit premature. I have found it good policy to take a lot of grains of salt with any cause the US media has taken under its wings with regards to foreign elections. I would advise all here to wait for the dust to settle before getting too excited.

  8. J. Madson says:

    Most of the info I have heard and read is coming out from Iran via twitters, photos, etc. From what I have seen the US media has been largely indifferent.

    I understand the desire to be cautious and what I have posted may turn out just to be one side of the story. However, it seems to me that the fact that millions of Iranians feel so outraged that they are willing to risk life and limb merits some support.

  9. theradicalmormon says:

    I beg to differ on the statement that the US media has been indifferent. Every single story I’ve seen on this subject has been slanted towards the reform candidate and his followers. This is not a suprise as Ahmadinejad has gotten nothing but bad press in the US ever since we have known about him. He has been made out to be the devil himself because of the bold statements he has made towards Israel and his defense of the Iranian nuclear program in defiance of the US.
    Our reporters cry out fraud with no specific allegations put forth. It reminds me of when Chavez of Venezuela was elected by a landslide and the opposition press cried out fraud immediately, but every international observer organization there certified it as a much cleaner election than what we see in the US.
    There may be fraud in the Iranian elections, but I have yet to see any concrete proof.
    We must remember that the US government uses media organizations to propogate untrue stories on a regular basis. Let’s see what the real story turns out to be when the dust settles.

  10. J. Madson says:

    I actually think there is alot of evidence surfacing that points to fraud. I have seen much analysis of the numbers as well as eyewitness statements that make it hard to believe this was a “fair” election as if such a thing can ever exist in Iran where religious authorities determine who is allowed to run in the first place. Concrete proof? Well yes there may be none of that yet. There are of course Iranians claiming they were hired to destroy ballots, others claiming they have truck loads of spoiled ballots, newspapers and Mousavi claiming they were called an informed they won at first.

    Regardless, there are hundreds of thousands and it looks to be millions now taking the streets and asking for more freedom. I think we should be wary to equate Chavez with what happened in Iran particularly given those in Iran’s feelings and impressions on the matter. I care less about our sentiment but the fact that Iranians believe its a fraud speaks more to the matter. Lets not forget the violence being taken against these protesters. Many who have been killed. I find it very hard to make Ahmadinejad into a good guy here, regardless of some of his statements. They are arresting opposition, have brought in foreign mercenaries to attack and kill their own people.

    The top reformist cleric, Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, said this today

    In the name of God
    People of Iran
    These last days, we have witnessed the lively efforts of you brothers and sisters, old and young alike, from any social category, for the 10th presidential elections.
    Our youth, hoping to see their rightful will fulfilled, came on the scene and waited patiently. This was the greatest occasion for the government’s officials to bond with their people.
    But unfortunately, they used it in the worst way possible. Declaring results that no one in their right mind can believe, and despite all the evidence of crafted results, and to counter people protestations, in front of the eyes of the same nation who carried the weight of a revolution and 8 years of war, in front of the eyes of local and foreign reporters, attacked the children of the people with astonishing violence. And now they are attempting a purge, arresting intellectuals, political opponents and Scientifics.
    Now, based on my religious duties, I will remind you :
    1- A legitimate state must respect all points of view. It may not oppress all critical views. I fear that this lead to the lost of people’s faith in Islam.
    2- Given the current circumstances, I expect the government to take all measures to restore people’s confidence. Otherwise, as I have already said, a government not respecting people’s vote has no religious or political legitimacy.
    3- I invite everyone, specially the youth, to continue reclaiming their dues in calm, and not let those who want to associate this movement with chaos succeed.
    4- I ask the police and army personals not to “sell their religion”, and beware that receiving orders will not excuse them before god. Recognize the protesting youth as your children. Today censor and cutting telecommunication lines can not hide the truth.
    I pray for the greatness of the Iranian people.

  11. Joseph says:

    It’s going to be difficult to prove election fraud, but it’s clearly pretty problematic. Results were announced too quickly for there to be a legitimate count.

    I also disagree that the media is indifferent, but not the way that radicalmormon views it. I think mainstream American media is having difficulty dealing with Iran having a potentially more vibrant democracy than we have in America. I mean, we had pretty clear voter fraud back in 2000, and Americans were too busy with their televisions to get out and do anything about it. This situation could go either way, but this is clearly a big and important thing that is happening in Iran. Ultimately, like our own elections, neither candidate is ideal, but Iranians seem to be sending a very clear message that they are tired of the hard-liners running their country.

  12. theradicalmormon says:

    Your points are well taken J and I don’t wish to counter them. One thing I do wonder about is the level of protest outside of Tehran. Does anyone have an idea of what things look like outside of Tehran? It seems likely that Mousavi may have won Tehran, but I hear little of protest in other parts of the country. Could it not be that Ahmadinejad took the more conservative rural parts of the country by a landslide? especially when he was instrumental in providing insurance coverage for poor women etc.

    Anyway, time will tell if there was fraud here or not. I wish they would allow international observers as other nations allow in their elections.

    One intersting point is seeing the totalitarian dictators of the Arabian nations calling for an investigation into the election!! I kid you not.

  13. theradicalmormon says:

    Though the jury is still out for me, circumstantial evidence does begin to accumulate for the position of a stolen election. Juan Cole has this good analysis of the situation:

    http://www.juancole.com/2009/06/stealing-iranian-election.html

  14. theradicalmormon says:

    And then there are articles such as this one that seemingly refute Juan Cole’s points:

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0609/23745.html

    I’m glad the Gospel is easier than figuring out who to believe in this mess. Let the dust settle.

  15. Joseph says:

    theradicalmormon asks:

    “Does anyone have any idea of what things look like outside of Tehran?”

    I’m going to have to look this up now, but I know I read that there were huge anti-government protests all over Iran, and certainly in all the major cities!

  16. Joseph says:

    Here’s one:

    Clashes outside Tehran
    Protests also spread across the country. Witnesses told the AP that pro-Mousavi demonstrators clashed with police in the historic city of Esfahan and the northeastern city of Mashhad, a conservative bastion with one of Iran’s most holy Shiite shrines.

    from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31365097/ns/world_news-mideastn_africa

  17. Joseph says:

    Jon Stewart isn’t one who typically gets swept up in media frenzies, but he also questions the validity of the Iran elections (humorously, of course):

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/16/daily-show-on-iranian-ele_n_216057.html

  18. Forest Simmons says:

    I’m sure that the neocons that are itching to wage war on Iran are happy to have one more reason to demonize Ahmadinejad: “He’s in league with communist Chavez, he steals elections, he bad mouths Israel, He has uranium enrichment, etc. Let’s nuke him!”

    I wonder if the CIA encouraged him in this election stealing as part of their destabilization operations that they have been carrying out, and his vanity carried him right into their trap.

  19. theradicalmormon says:

    That’s the thing. I agree that things look horrible in Iran right now. It does seem like Ahmadinejad has stolen the election. However, given the USA’s proven track record of dividing nations against themselves (as they successfully did with Fatah and Hamas in Palestine for example), and then the media hysteria and violence and imprisonings etc. in Iran… how much of this is going according to the plans of the secret combination powers that be, that have always been involved in regime change and getting nations to subserve them so that they can profit and get the gain and glory of the world?

  20. Forest Simmons says:

    Here’s an article entitled, “Are You Ready For War with a Demonized Iran?”

    http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts06162009.html

  21. theradicalmormon says:

    Great article by Roberts. He is giving voice to the things I’ve been thinking all along. This whole event just seems a little to scripted and emotional with little care for the facts for me to swallow the official viewpoints on the legitimacy of this election. Roberts makes good points. I’d recommend the above article to all. Thanks Forest.

  22. J. Madson says:

    In reading the article, we should be aware that it relies heavily on Ballen-Doherty article that may have flaws. Here are some articles just to give some balance. Time may tell what the truth is in all of this but I think we should certainly condemn violence being taken against people regardless of the election’s credibility.

    I would look at these two articles dismantling that analysis

    http://www.juancole.com/2009/06/terror-free-tomorro-poll-did-not.html

    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/06/did-polling-predict-ahmadinejad-victory.html

  23. theradicalmormon says:

    James Petras has written a good article with analysis of why it would be no surprise at all that Ahmadinejad could have legitimately won by a landslide:

    http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22868.htm

    The massive media circus demonizing Iran’s current government reminds me of the media circus demonizing Russia for fighting with Georgia. Of course we all know now that Georgia was massacring Georgian civilians and Russian peacekeepers in their sleep and that the reports in our media were a huge work of propoganda.

  24. J. Madson says:

    i think this is quite different in the sense that the govt is attacking and killing people protesting in the streets. Their own people, civilians, peacefully protesting. They are gunning them down, beating them to death, and reports now coming out indicate acid being dropped from helicopters.

    I think the Iranian govt is doing their best to demonize themselves today

  25. Forest Simmons says:

    I agree that Ahmadinejad and his government are easy to demonize, but Roberts’ main point is that although many other governments (like the Saudis) are at least as draconian in their suppression of democracy, they are not being demonized by the USA. Why not? Because we aren’t ginning up war against them.

    His secondary point is that we were quick to take as proven that which had arguably not yet been proven.

  26. J. Madson says:

    I agree that we are very inconsistent in our demonization of some countries (Iran) and not others (Saudi Arabia). Im sure some of this has to due with our bellicosity towards Iran. I also think much of it has to do with economic, read oil, ties to Saudi Princes.

    Having said that, I would be surpirsed if uprisings in the streets of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or other places of the scale and nature of Irans wouldn’t get moral support.

    Now as to whether the election was stolen. In some sense its not my call. The Iranian people have to decide that and apparently massive numbers of Iranians feel they are being treated unjustly. They may be wrong, but Im sure no one would deny their right to protest civilly as they have done.

    I have seen too many videos of Iranian military/police/etc murdering women and men in the streets to have any sympathy for the govt. There are certain things you just dont do regardless of election fraud or not. At this point, the govt has shown to its own people what they really are, despots and tyrants who will not hesitate to murder in order to keep their positions of power. To that end, I think they should be demonized. Perhaps not for the many reasons we have been told in the past, perhaps not for Iranian reluctance to go along with US policy, but simply because they refuse basic democratic rights and freedoms to their own people.

    I have read many neocons arguing that Ahmadinijad should have won and even rooting for his win so they could have a better excuse to go to war. I think that however we end up interpreting the events in Iran, we should be careful not to side with despots simply because our own govt is wrong. Often, if not always, both sides of conflicts are wrong.

  27. theradicalmormon says:

    Amen to that Josh. If I had the choice between Coriantumr and Shiz which would I choose (as Hugh Nibley liked to say). However, it is important to note that Ahmadinejad probably has very little say on the crackdown on protesters. He has no control over the military from what I understand. The behavior of the military and militias in Iran is horrendous. However, I question the assertion that the demonstrations are entirely civil. I’ve seen buses and cars lit on fire by the protesters and attacks on pro-Ahmadinejad types as well.

  28. Forest Simmons says:

    From the time of the Vietnam War to the present I have always felt that rather than doing our “humanitarian interventions” by bombing, it would be better to spend the money evacuating the threatened parties (if they felt they really needed the asylum) and providing them “an inheritance” in the USA, like the Nephites did for the People of Ammon. Alma and Helaman reported that they never were a burden, and they became a source of great strength to the Nephites in time of need.

    Combine this with the account from 3 Nephi 3:20&21
    “Now the people said unto Gidgiddoni: Pray unto the Lord, and let us go up upon the mountains and into the wilderness, that we may fall upon the robbers and destroy them in their own lands.
    But Gidgiddoni saith unto them: The Lord forbid; for if we should go up against them the Lord would deliver us into their hands; therefore we will prepare ourselves in the center of our lands, and we will gather all our armies together, and we will not go against them, but we will wait till they shall come against us; therefore as the Lord liveth, if we do this he will deliver them into our hands.”

    In other words, instead of going into attack mode when we see an injustice, why don’t we do what the Nephites did when they were listening to their prophets:

    Evacuate the threatened, and gather together with enough provisions to wait out the robbers, for example.

    When the Gadianton Robbers had to fend for themselves they started to starve.

    It is like when workers in solidarity have a general strike. The robber baron capitalists find out that they cannot fend for themselves.

    These protestors are sincere, and their plight is real, but all of our “humanitarian intervention” attacks have been disastrous, and I’m afraid that that’s what this mess in Iran is designed to provoke.

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