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June 13, 2009 8:34 AM   Subscribe

Ahmedinejad is declared victor in Iran presidential race. In spite of skepticism on the behalf of (among others) the Obama Administration, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday told all Iranians to respect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's victory.
posted by orville sash (581 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite

 
Iran: see Zimbabwe
posted by elfgirl at 8:39 AM on June 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


He should have at least made it close. That landslide thing looks mighty suspicious.
posted by UseyurBrain at 8:40 AM on June 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


Suspicious like the overwhelming adoration and gratefulness expressed by the people of Iran for their majestic president? I think so!*


* This comment has been previewed and approved by the Great Ayatollah.
posted by Atreides at 8:46 AM on June 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


He should have at least made it close. That landslide thing looks mighty suspicious.

Ya think? Graph representing vote results as they were announced.
posted by billysumday at 8:47 AM on June 13, 2009 [29 favorites]


Can they go to a supreme court for
A rendering of justice the way we do it here?
posted by Postroad at 8:49 AM on June 13, 2009 [10 favorites]


Video of rioting.
posted by billysumday at 8:50 AM on June 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


i'm shocked i never saw this coming.
posted by jimmythefish at 8:52 AM on June 13, 2009


From 2 days ago: AHMADINEJAD BACKERS LAY GROUNDWORK FOR MASSIVE VOTE-RIGGING:
CPV representatives point to several indicators of an Iranian neo-conservative plot to steal the election. For one, they note that over 59 million ballots have been printed, far more than the number of registered voters. They also have evidence that a substantial, though undetermined, number of soldiers has been ordered to hand over their national identity cards to officers. Most importantly, according to another CPV report, up to a third of voting booths in Iran will be protected by the Revolutionary Guards, and not the regular Law Enforcement Agency personnel.

To lend vote-rigging an air of religious legitimacy, a prominent hardline cleric has reportedly issued a fatwa, or religious edict, that would condone fraud in the name of supposedly defending the spirit of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:53 AM on June 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


Andrew Sullivan has also been doing a terrific job following this election.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:54 AM on June 13, 2009


God damn I hope this becomes another revolution against the hardline clerics. I know the people of Iran are good folks, and so many of them hate what this "revolution" has become. That video was amazing, watching the cops run away.

Will they pull SAVAK and start to shoot? Will this inspire more rage?

That video, man...

That one guy up front all puffed up chest, I kept expecting TechnoViking to be there pumping his chest.

That would've REALLY made it an awesome video!

Why did the all sort of stop and stand around all confused at the end?
posted by symbioid at 9:04 AM on June 13, 2009


I guess this does answer the question of whether Mahmoud was Khamenei's man.
posted by dhartung at 9:08 AM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Of course, the very last thing that the militarists in Washington and Israel want to see is the election of a moderate in Iran. They want -- and need -- Ahmadinejad, or someone just like him, so they can keep stoking the fires for war. A moderate president, more open to genuine negotiations, and much cooler in rhetoric than the loose-lipped Ahmadinejad, would be yet another blow to their long-term plans. ... What they want is compliance, access to resources and another strategic stronghold in the heart of the oil lands -- precisely what they wanted, and got, with the installation of the Shah and his corruption-ridden police state more than a half-century ago. - Chris Floyd
posted by Joe Beese at 9:12 AM on June 13, 2009 [11 favorites]


I just came here to post that video, but I see I'm too late. I'm normally quite a cynic, but that's one of the most inspiring things I've seen in a long time. The amount of courage those people must have to take on the Iranian police... just awesome
posted by crayz at 9:14 AM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


We made Iran a major player by removing Iraq (SaddamP as a counterveiling force. Israel fear an Iran with nukes and an announcement that they will destroy Israel. To say Israel prefers what is now in place is absurd.
posted by Postroad at 9:17 AM on June 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm just glad to see that our "bring democracy to the Middle East" campaign is working.

At least there's no Iraqi check on Iran's saber rattling anymore.

Thank you Messrs. Cheney, Bush, and Rumsfeld for making everybody safer.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:18 AM on June 13, 2009


Ahmadi-Nejad
posted by Zambrano at 9:26 AM on June 13, 2009


Israel fear an Iran with nukes and an announcement that they will destroy Israel
Please. Israel has the best military in the region, including an untold number of nuclear weapons. Iran is 1000 miles away, and in between the two countries there's Israel's best buddy with 100,000+ troops, advanced weapons, and an aircraft carrier or two
posted by crayz at 9:26 AM on June 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


So, this is all really about Western conservatives, "Zionists," and George Bush? Grind away ye axe, oh myopic American! Some things in this world really do occur relatively independently from the machinations of Washington, DC.
posted by billysumday at 9:32 AM on June 13, 2009 [20 favorites]


...and in between the two countries there's Israel's best buddy with 100,000+ troops, advanced weapons, and an aircraft carrier or two ...which has just been smacked over the head for the last five years by dudes in sandles.
posted by mattoxic at 9:34 AM on June 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Powerful picture from the Mousavi Flickr account.

Mousavi-aligned Twitter accounts: mousavi1388, StopAhmadi
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:35 AM on June 13, 2009 [11 favorites]


The CIA needs to send some hockey fans to Tehran to teach the Iranians how to flip over cars. In the Daily Kos video the Iranians walked around cars like they respected other people's property. That kind of attitude will not help GM or Chrysler.
posted by Frank Grimes at 9:35 AM on June 13, 2009 [28 favorites]


Postroad, the quote Joe Beese linked to specifically says "the militarists" in Israel and Washington. Saying "Israel prefers" one thing or another is as big a generalization as saying "Americans prefer President Obama".
posted by dubold at 9:36 AM on June 13, 2009


A good first step here would be to stop calling this place "Iran." It is The Islamic Republic of Iran. OK, back to the "robust debate."
posted by wallstreet1929 at 9:37 AM on June 13, 2009


billysumday: "Some things in this world really do occur relatively independently from the machinations of Washington, DC."

True as far as it goes. But the Iranians have the nearby example of the Palestinians
to remind them of the unfortuante consequences of exercising their franchise in a manner displeasing to the empire.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:38 AM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Regarding the FPP, I believe "skepticism" is not yet at least an official position from the WH, just from an unnamed official according to Fox News. Just saying.

Twitter's Keyvan Nayyeri: Received many confirmations: mobile networks are disabled in Tehran. Can't use our cell phones anymore! #IranElection
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:38 AM on June 13, 2009


The US shoulda come out and endorsed Ahmedinejad. With commercials featuring strong praise from Cheney and Bush.
posted by RavinDave at 9:41 AM on June 13, 2009 [8 favorites]


The CIA needs to send some hockey fans to Tehran to teach the Iranians how to flip over cars. In the Daily Kos video the Iranians walked around cars like they respected other people's property. That kind of attitude will not help GM or Chrysler.

I think they might have figured it out.
posted by EarBucket at 9:43 AM on June 13, 2009


True as far as it goes. But the Iranians have the nearby example of the Palestinians to remind them of the unfortuante consequences of exercising their franchise in a manner displeasing to the empire.

Dude, that is so effing tired. Tired, tired, tired. You really think the Iranians were thinking about the Palestinians, the Lebanese, or the Americans when they voted? Maybe they were thinking about their economy, their standing in the world, whether they liked the candidates' demeanors - the manner in which MA lives his life, the clothes he wears, how he presents himself - you know, all the shit we think about when we elect a president. Iran is too interesting of a country for us to be lazy and talk about it simply through the prism of how it affects America, or vice versa.
posted by billysumday at 9:44 AM on June 13, 2009 [50 favorites]


there is a real need to fear the nutter inplace in Iran, though he is not fully in charge, in much the same way as a need to fear N. Korea nutter. We have seen what our very own Bush could and has done to get done what he wants--it doesn't matter what the US and Israel might have in strength because crazies often do not act in a rational manner.
posted by Postroad at 9:47 AM on June 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Some things in this world really do occur relatively independently from the machinations of Washington, DC.

Heresy!
posted by AdamCSnider at 9:48 AM on June 13, 2009


Ahmadinejad had apparently taken the northwestern city of Tabriz with some ease.

Tabriz is the heart of East Azerbaijan, and Azeris are among the tightest ethnic groups in the country, unfailingly voting along ethnic lines.

In the 2005 presidential election, Mohsen Mehralizadeh was a largely unknown and wholly unsuccessful candidate. He came in seventh and last, and yet he still won the Azeri vote in the Azerbaijani provinces. Mir Hossein Mousavi is an Azeri from Tabriz.

posted by billysumday at 9:56 AM on June 13, 2009 [13 favorites]


So, this is all really about Western conservatives, "Zionists," and George Bush? Grind away ye axe, oh myopic American!

Just to continue the myopia for a sec, I find it interesting and, I confess, surprising, to see the difference in the way these election results are being treated by conservative vs. liberal media in the U.S. , as exemplified by Drudge vs. Huffington, with Drudge simply declaring a landslide victory for Ahmedinejad, while more liberal sites emphasizing the contested nature of the victory.

With all the anti-Ahmedinejad rhetoric we've heard from conservatives, I might have expected American conservatives to highlight accusations of vote fraud against him. But they haven't, which is interesting and perhaps revealing--not of a neo-con conspiracy to control Iranian politics--but perhaps of how deeply uncomfortable many conservatives, in the US and perhaps elsewhere, are with the idea of global democratic change.
posted by washburn at 9:57 AM on June 13, 2009 [21 favorites]


Great source aggregation page on the NYT site for those who want to keep track of emerging developments on this story, including footage, reports, and analysis from other news sources, video coverage, and twitter feeds and thoughtful comments from Iranians inside and outside Iran.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 9:58 AM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


That looks like some pretty serious rioting.
posted by snofoam at 9:58 AM on June 13, 2009


Graph representing vote results as they were announced.

Sweet Jebus, that's nuts. You'd think they would, I dunno, employ some fucking subterfuge about it.
posted by juv3nal at 9:59 AM on June 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


With all the anti-Ahmedinejad rhetoric we've heard from conservatives, I might have expected American conservatives to highlight accusations of vote fraud against him. But they haven't, which is interesting and perhaps revealing--not of a neo-con conspiracy to control Iranian politics--but perhaps of how deeply uncomfortable many conservatives, in the US and perhaps elsewhere, are with the idea of global democratic change.

Personally I think it's more petty than that - I would guess it has more to do with the fact that they don't want Obama to "look good" than anything else. I'll admit, though, that I don't know and can't imagine what motivates the current crop of US conservatives.
posted by billysumday at 10:00 AM on June 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Just for today, I won't say anything negative about Twitter.
posted by Houstonian at 10:01 AM on June 13, 2009 [8 favorites]


billysumday: "You really think the Iranians were thinking about the Palestinians, the Lebanese, or the Americans when they voted?."

In considering this question, I try to imagine that there's an aggressive global military empire, one with enough nuclear weapons to kill every living thing in my country down to the smallest blade of grass, that has spent the last 30 years demonizing my land and her people - after having previously engineered a coup d'etat that removed my democratically elected leader and replaced him with a tyrant whose torture dungeons were infamous even in a region where such things are not uncommon. This empire has 100,000 or so troops occupying the country on my western border, where they have used chemical weapons and caused several hundred thousand civilian deaths [the graphic results of which are published in my newspapers] - because their crumbling imperial economy depends utterly on control of the resource found there. A resource my country is wealthy in as well...

Yeah, I might give them a thought while I stood on line to vote.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:03 AM on June 13, 2009 [35 favorites]


In the wake of the well-documented irregularities in its own presidential elections, the US really has no moral authority to criticize other sovereign nations over questionable vote counts.
posted by squalor at 10:05 AM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Video from CNN: protesters throwing things at riot police and shouting "death to dictatorship."
posted by EarBucket at 10:05 AM on June 13, 2009


Yeah, I might give them a thought while I stood on line to vote.

LOL. Good ole Joe. It gives me great pride to know that Metafilter's own personal blogger knows the thoughts of ordinary Iranians and what they consider when they vote for their President.
posted by billysumday at 10:05 AM on June 13, 2009


"Mr. Moussavi, who disappeared from view amid rumors that he was under house arrest or worse, sent word that there would be no turning back, but he did not say how he or his followers should challenge the outcome."
posted by Houstonian at 10:12 AM on June 13, 2009


Joe Beese, what's your point? Aren't you from Utah?
posted by Houstonian at 10:14 AM on June 13, 2009


I actually live in Central Pennsylvania now. But you make my point well. I don't know what motivates the ordinary Iranian anymore than you do - but your narcissism fails to allow you to admit that.
posted by billysumday at 10:14 AM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Uh, squalor, you do realize that your link is a satirical joke, right? A parody of right-wing conspiracy nuts?
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:17 AM on June 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


The riots will give Ahmanutjob and his puppetmasters a great excuse (as if he needs one) to purge the country of opposition in preparation for the future "election."

Of course, the very last thing that the militarists in Washington and Israel want to see is the election of a moderate in Iran. They want -- and need -- Ahmadinejad, or someone just like him, so they can keep stoking the fires for war.

Funny how attention is always focused on the alleged American-Israeli militarists and not on the fact that the Iranian theocracy desperately need a hardliner to make sure America and Israel remain the boogeymen and continue to distract the population from the atrocities of its own regime.
posted by Krrrlson at 10:22 AM on June 13, 2009


billysumday: "You really think the Iranians were thinking about the Palestinians, the Lebanese, or the Americans when they voted? "

billysumday: "I don't know what motivates the ordinary Iranian anymore than you do"

You appear to have lost confidence in the last half hour.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:25 AM on June 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Can they go to a supreme court for
A rendering of justice the way we do it here?


If they can't, we can always supply them with the Bush/Gore legal teams in the spirit of reconciliation. Then, we leave 'em there as a permanent gift.

We made Iran a major player by removing Iraq (SaddamP as a counterveiling force. Israel fear an Iran with nukes and an announcement that they will destroy Israel. To say Israel prefers what is now in place is absurd.

Unintended consequences are a bitch. Too bad thought was not given to this beforehand. But then again, the war-mongers responsible for the Iraqi disaster are not exactly strategic geniuses. Neocons for the win! I will now listen carefully to their sage advice as to what we ought to do about Iran. I'm sure it'll be stellar advice.
posted by VikingSword at 10:25 AM on June 13, 2009


there is a real need to fear the nutter inplace in Iran, though he is not fully in charge, in much the same way as a need to fear N. Korea nutter. We have seen what our very own Bush could and has done to get done what he wants--it doesn't matter what the US and Israel might have in strength because crazies often do not act in a rational manner.

Strangely enough, you seem to be positioning Israel's leader on the not crazy/nuts team.
posted by gman at 10:26 AM on June 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Houstonian: good link. Iranian bloggers do seem to be confirming that Mousavi has indeed been placed under house arrest. From the dailykos link above: [Mousavi] was arrested on his way to Khamenei's house. All communication has been shut off. Khamenei has issued a statement claiming that HE that he is leading this coup to SAVE the Islamic Government (Nezam).
posted by billysumday at 10:27 AM on June 13, 2009


Gibbs: "Like the rest of the world, we were impressed by the vigorous debate and enthusiasm that this election generated, particularly among young Iranians. We continue to monitor the entire situation closely, including reports of irregularities."
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:27 AM on June 13, 2009


...which has just been smacked over the head for the last five years by dudes in sandles.

Sure, because the US Military is fighting on their turf, and they're able to dictate the terms; tactics include things like attrition over time. But Invading Israel means fighting a much more conventional war; it means rolling in infantry and tanks, not desperate irregulars. And for all the US Military's demonstrated problems fighting irregular forces in sandals and/or black pajamas, it remains perfectly capable of winning any war against conventional forces. Mujahadeen can fuck with an occupation wonderfully; an invading force charging across Iraq, on foot, tread, wheel, or airplane, on its way to Israel, stands absolutely no chance of achieving any kind of success. This isn't a statement about "Yay America" or any such thing, just a basic observation of the staggering amount of money the US has poured, and continues to pour, into having a military heavily geared to fighting conventional forces much, much larger and more powerful than anything Iran can field.
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:27 AM on June 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


It pretty looks like it was stolen, but then what?

What is the proper international response to that? Election fraud seems like as big a danger to democracy as any kind of military action.

In the long term, I really wish all the countries that claim to be democracies would work out some protocol for monitoring each other's elections. I guess realistically it would be impossible for this to not wind up politicized, but ... I can dream.
posted by aubilenon at 10:30 AM on June 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


With all the anti-Ahmedinejad rhetoric we've heard from conservatives, I might have expected American conservatives to highlight accusations of vote fraud against him.

Nah. What they want to report is OMG OMG IRAN TOTALLY PICKED MR CRAZYPANTS BECAUSE THEY LOVE HIM SO MUCH AND WANT TO HAVE HIS MUSLIM BABIES AND KILL YOURS AND THEY HATE OUR FREEDOMS AND THEY'RE GOING TO NUKE US ALL AND FORCIBLY CONVERT YOU TO ISLAM ONLY A REPUBLICAN WHO'S NOT A SEKRIT MUSLIM FORNER CAN SAVE US FROM THE TERRIBLE THREAT THAT EACH AND EVERY IRANIAN POSES TO THE USA AND JESUS AND DID YOU KNOW THEY'RE SORT OF BROWN?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:30 AM on June 13, 2009 [20 favorites]


Joe, I don't really want to further derail this thread. I've made my point, you've made yours. If we want to continue this argument, we can do it in your next blog post, which is scheduled to be posted to the front page in (checks watch) about two hours.
posted by billysumday at 10:31 AM on June 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


perhaps of how deeply uncomfortable many conservatives, in the US and perhaps elsewhere, are with the idea of global democratic change

Or the idea of election fraud. Which is how they got the Presidency twice in a row.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:31 AM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Uh, squalor, you do realize that your link is a satirical joke, right? A parody of right-wing conspiracy nuts?

It made it on to the Internet, so I think we need to take it seriously.
posted by squalor at 10:32 AM on June 13, 2009


Ahmedinejad is speaking now. CNN, prob. elsewhere.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:35 AM on June 13, 2009


Obama "excited" by Iran's robust election debate.
How... naive.
posted by dawson at 10:36 AM on June 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


In this video of pro-Mousavi citizens cheerleading their party I notice a few things.

Like, that part of Iran is freaking beautiful. There are many, many new cars. The people are dressed in very nice clothing. The buildings are in good condition.

In fact, Iran looks very much like a Western nation. Heck, on the surface it looks like a seriously great place to live. Shame it is ultimately run by lunatics.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:41 AM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here's the CNN stream, if you want to watch it online.
posted by Houstonian at 10:41 AM on June 13, 2009


Sweet Jebus, that's nuts. You'd think they would, I dunno, employ some fucking subterfuge about it.

The lack of subterfuge is a demonstration of power. We stole it. You know we stole it. We know that you know that we stole it.

You know that you cannot steal it back. You know that we know this, too.
posted by notyou at 10:41 AM on June 13, 2009 [14 favorites]


In a way this is a good thing, if Ahmagonnawinthiselection stole it, and did so blatantly. Why? Because the people of Iran need to be pushed around hard enough that they finally grab some sticks and rocks and push back and topple that theocracy. If not this election, eventually it's going to happen, and it's going to be bloody.
posted by jamstigator at 10:42 AM on June 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Uh, dawson:

Obama "excited" by Iran's robust election debate
Fri Jun 12, 2009 1:42pm EDT
posted by gerryblog at 10:44 AM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


(I can't help it.)
posted by onepapertiger at 10:47 AM on June 13, 2009


Interesting Twitter acct from Dutch journo Thomas Erdbrink.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:48 AM on June 13, 2009


I think the result of the election should be voided. If you look at this picture of Ahmadinejad's passport, it clearly says, 'Place of birth: Honolulu.'
posted by Sova at 10:51 AM on June 13, 2009 [14 favorites]


you didn't know at Fri Jun 12, 2009 1:42pm EDT?
How naive.
posted by dawson at 10:52 AM on June 13, 2009


you didn't know at Fri Jun 12, 2009 1:42pm EDT?
How naive.


Actually, yesterday in the early afternoon (US East coast time), many outlets were reporting a Mousavi win. It wasn't until after Mousavi declared victory that the State media called it for MA.
posted by billysumday at 10:54 AM on June 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Ahmedinejad: "No one has the right to ask anyone else who they voted for".

what
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:56 AM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Right, and it's disingenuous to present Obama's statement as if it were a response to the events in the thread, rather than coming before them. The White House has issued an actual statement, which you can read here.
Like the rest of the world, we were impressed by the vigorous debate and enthusiasm that this election generated, particularly among young Iranians. We continue to monitor the entire situation closely, including reports of irregularities.
It doesn't call an apparent fraud a fraud, but it's not "naive" either.
posted by gerryblog at 10:57 AM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I missed something from the first minute or so of his speech. "The people want (something something) cut of the hands (something something)." What was he saying?
posted by Houstonian at 10:58 AM on June 13, 2009


In fact, Iran looks very much like a Western nation. Heck, on the surface it looks like a seriously great place to live.

Middle class Persians in Iran look just like middle-class Persians in Washington, DC. But that's not all there is in Iran.

"These nights, I also wrap green band on my wrist, my eye shadow is also green. I and 14-15 of my friends have bought two green nail polishes, and paint our nails the color green. These nights, we come from downtown to the posh northern part of the city to arrive with the first crowd of happy people and start dancing with them.

These days and nights, I constantly take out my armband, and again ask a posh boy to wrap a new green band for me and again the scent of his perfume lives on my wrist for two days. These nights are the only nights that we are not clowned because of our poverty.

These nights are the only nights that nobody asks us where "our neighborhood" is. Nobody is concerned with the price of our shoes, it is only important to them to promote the color green.

Why should I lose these nights? Why shouldn't I wrap the green band on my arm and take part in the green chain when the posh boy is next to me and he doesn't remember to ask me what my father's job is. He doesn't look at my hard worker hands and smile to me with humility, but I swear he does not allow himself even to pass my door.

These nights are the last nights of using the golden chance of being the same color; but on Saturday morning (the election is on Friday, June 12), there will be no trace of this unity. It does not matter who will be the president, I will become that poor girl whose father is the laborer and whose mom is a maidservant in their eyes. They will sit again in their expensive cars and feed their dog such foods as I have probably never eaten. Which one of these candidates is going to demolish such class distinctions? My apprehension is not the same is theirs, to vote for their favorite candidate, but I don't want to lose the opportunity of pleasant time with them. I am lost among them, but I will not vote for Musavi; in fact, I will vote for nobody because none of them understands me. But if I want to choose somebody, Ahmati (Ahmadinejad) will be my choice.

These nights are the only nights that I can reach the long desires and dreams that have been in my mind for years in some extent. When somebody smiles at me without aiming to abuse me, without despising in deep in his eyes, without saying "peef" and passing me, without expecting me to accept 20,000 tumans for one night stand to serve him and his friends because I am from poor family.

These nights, the Ghaytariyeh's boys (Editor's note: posh northern Tehran) smiles without prejudice, but from Saturday the story of grief will be repeated. These nights, I shout "Musavi" as loud as I can, because if I shout louder, they will smile at me more and more, this is more honorable than ostentation for seeing the smiles of posh boys. I use the last few days left, and alongside the green tide, I shout, I dance, I touch, I am touched with the slogan of I will not vote. "

posted by empath at 11:00 AM on June 13, 2009 [31 favorites]


billysumday: "Joe, I don't really want to further derail this thread. I've made my point, you've made yours. If we want to continue this argument, we can do it in your next blog post, which is scheduled to be posted to the front page in (checks watch) about two hours."

Why wait?
posted by Joe Beese at 11:01 AM on June 13, 2009


Mousavi supporter helps injured policeman.
posted by empath at 11:06 AM on June 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


FYI, here are a couple of good sites to follow. Eyewitness accounts from a blog relating to Iranian-American issues. Al-Jazeera English. As has been stated earlier, Andrew Sullivan has also been providing a good running commentary.
posted by billysumday at 11:07 AM on June 13, 2009


You know what, if a country's govt. blocks a website, like in China, NK (or perhaps even the proposed blacklists in relatively free countries as in Australia), I feel that's pretty shitty but you know, I understand it's a product of their culture and type of government. That's no excuse, but I can sort of see how that happens.

But when a country bans the same website infrequently but at will, whenever it's convenient for them (i.e. election time), that somehow triggers the instant "okay, you're fascist" flag in my mind.

Somehow you'd think it would be slightly better, esp. for people in the country because they can access the site at least some of the time, but no. Bam, fascism.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:07 AM on June 13, 2009


Yes, this obviously was a "divine assessment". They didn't even attempt to disguise the fraud. Which, to me, tells me they panicked. This graph is a red flag to Iran and the world.

This is the lead sentence from billysumday's graph link.

"They" are in deep trouble.

I think we all need to be praying to whatever we find holy that they do not conclude that the only way they can hold onto power is to start a war in order to give the Iranian populace an external enemy.
posted by jamjam at 11:10 AM on June 13, 2009


goodnewsfortheinsane, in the Twitter you linked to earlier, I noticed that he said, "United States unreachable by phone from Iran." That was 22 hours ago. It struck me as awfully coordinated, in addition to the blocked websites.
posted by Houstonian at 11:11 AM on June 13, 2009


I think we also need to be concerned about conflicts spreading to Shi'ites in Iraq.
posted by empath at 11:12 AM on June 13, 2009


Absolutely, Houstonian.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:14 AM on June 13, 2009


Metafilter: It made it on to the Internet, so I think we need to take it seriously.
posted by dubold at 11:15 AM on June 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


More weirdness:[BoingBoing:]
According to Ghalam News and multiple Twitterers in Tehran, the text messaging system in Iran has been taken down, just hours before polls open for Friday's presidential election.(...)

The Ghalam News report, translated from Persian, says that the popular network "was cut off throughout the country." The action occurred just before midnight local time, less than nine hours before the start of elections. "All walks of life from all over the country" are discovering that "messages on different cell phone networks will not send."
posted by DreamerFi at 11:15 AM on June 13, 2009


And now on the DailyKos page linked earlier:

"Telephone communication between Tehran and the rest of Iran has been completely disconnected. This corresponds with the beginnings of the arrests of the opposition. It is suspected that this is being orchestrated by the son of Mojtaba Khamenei son of The Supreme Leader, Ali."

What a mess.
posted by Houstonian at 11:17 AM on June 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


You know who else stole an election using government apparatus and the implicit backing of the head of state?
posted by swift at 11:21 AM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Photos from Tehran here. This one could be iconic.
posted by gerryblog at 11:28 AM on June 13, 2009


The rumor-mill is churning vigorously today. Did you notice that that first Dkos link included reports that Akbar Rafsanjani, head of the council that chooses Iran's supreme leader has resigned in protest? Or that Iran's Election Commission is announcing voter fraud?

Seem like these are probably just static surrounding the chaos in Tehran, but who knows?
posted by washburn at 11:29 AM on June 13, 2009


The Iranians here at my school think the Iranian right is downright nuts.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:30 AM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just came here to post that video, but I see I'm too late. I'm normally quite a cynic, but that's one of the most inspiring things I've seen in a long time. The amount of courage those people must have to take on the Iranian police... just awesome

It's a good thing the protesters aren't in St. Paul. They would be rounded up and arrested.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:30 AM on June 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


The reason most of the people people in that "rioting" video were just walking the streets looking confused is because it was filmed in a ritzy neighborhood in north Tehran.

My mom has talked to a few of her friends living in Iran today and yesterday, they are PISSED. Not rioting though. The thing about it is that Mousavi is really like the Iranian Kerry. Most people I know aren't very into him, but just hate Ahmadinejad so much. I voted for Mousavi just because he wasn't Ahmadinejad.
posted by azarbayejani at 11:33 AM on June 13, 2009 [9 favorites]


Another look at that impossible straight-line graph of votes.
posted by Guy Smiley at 11:37 AM on June 13, 2009


50-100 dead as night nears.
posted by billysumday at 11:39 AM on June 13, 2009


Juan Cole's take on the numbers.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:42 AM on June 13, 2009


FWIW, Tehran Bureau is the only original source I see citing multiple deaths, and they don't elaborate on their source beyond "journo". I wouldn't be surprised, sadly, to hear news of deaths, but I'm going to need a bit more than a single unsourced report before I accept it as probable fact.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:45 AM on June 13, 2009


azarbayejani: "Mousavi is really like the Iranian Kerry. Most people I know aren't very into him, but just hate Ahmadinejad so much. I voted for Mousavi just because he wasn't Ahmadinejad."

I wonder what the Iranian equivalent of sneering at Kerry for being "French" would be.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:46 AM on June 13, 2009


It's times like right now when I am struck by how much our world has changed. Elections can still be stolen, police can still beat protesters. But now -- with phones in cell phones, blogs and twitters, and the like -- small, individual people can serve as witnesses to the rest of world, and can do it immediately.
posted by Houstonian at 11:56 AM on June 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


Obviously the election is a fraud, Ed Hardy should have won by a landslide.
posted by geoff. at 12:16 PM on June 13, 2009


some sticks and rocks and push back and topple that theocracy.

They dont seem to mind theocracy, but dictators, but I honestly cant see how you can have one without the other. You cant have justice without secularism.
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:46 PM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


A vote between the guy who will take you to the 12th century vs the guy who will take you to the 13th century is no vote at all.
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:49 PM on June 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Juan Cole: Ahmadinejad reelected under cloud of fraud. But outcome doesn't change goals for Obama -- dealing with Iran's nuclear program and its anti-Israel activities.
posted by homunculus at 1:13 PM on June 13, 2009


It's times like right now when I am struck by how much our world has changed.

I am too and I think I've actually become more optimistic because of this.

A few years ago, I wouldn't have cared much about another country's election. Today, I can read about about the campaign issues, about the candidates, and why others are paying attention. Throw in the personal voices on top and I really do find myself relating to people I would have otherwise thought of as just strangers with their own issues that I wouldn't understand.

This tearing-down of invisible walls and reducing that feeling of "us versus them" gives me a certain sense of belonging and the hope that we won't reduce the world to ruin after all. Maybe this is what the sixties felt like?
posted by tksh at 1:13 PM on June 13, 2009 [9 favorites]


Wow, this is so fucked up.
posted by odinsdream at 1:20 PM on June 13, 2009


A vote between the guy who will take you to the 12th century vs the guy who will take you to the 13th century is no vote at all.

What? Of course it is.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:26 PM on June 13, 2009


The 13th century saw the invention of the solid-fuel rocket, rocket launcher, handgun, cartridge, land mine, glass mirror, condom, and buttonhole.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:31 PM on June 13, 2009 [12 favorites]


The other guy was weak on crime.
posted by clearly at 1:41 PM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Twitter is obsessed with this, currently 4 of the top 10 trending topics are related to the election.

Say what you will about twitter, it's a shockingly effective way to getting up-to-the-second facts data. The latest thing to be furiously re-tweeted is "Leak fr Interior Minister votes Moussavi 19,075,623 Karoobi 13,387,104 Ahmadinejad 5,698,417"
posted by mullingitover at 1:54 PM on June 13, 2009 [7 favorites]


Riot like it's 1979.

Seriously, some of the videos and pictures are giving me serious flashbacks. Even the police's uniforms do not seem to have changed much in thirty years.

I guess that Ahmadinejad and Khamenei must currently be thinking along very similar lines, and it must be scaring the bejeebus out of them. I'm not very optimistic, though. Recent colour-coded revolutions haven't done very well. But even if this flounders (I hope not), this is a disaster for Ahmadinejad's foreign agenda. You can't be a champion of the underdog abroad and steal elections and beat up protesters at home. Shi'ites in Iraq, Lebanon and the Gulf are certainly taking note.
posted by Skeptic at 2:00 PM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


The everyday citizens of Iran rioting because their election was stolen and they can't stand for their votes not to count?

Jeez. If it keeps up like this, someday Iran might bring democracy to the U.S.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:00 PM on June 13, 2009 [33 favorites]


Khamenei: "OK, we've locked down the TV, the phones and most foreign websites, but there's still Twitter. Shouldn't be doing something about it too?"
Ahmadinejad: "Don't you read the news? It's fucking useless!"
posted by Skeptic at 2:04 PM on June 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


damn dirty ape: They dont seem to mind theocracy, but dictators, but I honestly cant see how you can have one without the other. You cant have justice without secularism.
That's the issue in a nutshell. If the religious leadership supports a secular election that is seen as unjust, do they lose credibility? Will the anger die down as people accept the result, or will the theocrats have to backtrack?
posted by Kevin Street at 2:05 PM on June 13, 2009


something interesting to watch will be this tag on twitter:

#iranrevolution

starting to see it already.
posted by empath at 2:07 PM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nate Silver at 538 says the Graph isn't as dodgy as it looks (although I personally think it needs deeper analysis...)
posted by so_necessary at 2:14 PM on June 13, 2009 [9 favorites]


Graph representing vote results as they were announced.

Sweet Jebus, that's nuts. You'd think they would, I dunno, employ some fucking subterfuge about it.


I'm not sure why anyone thinks that graph is sketchy. If you take more and more random samples of a binary population, the ratios will be nearly dead even the entire time. There will be a little variation when you have something like an election with regional differences and strong regional correlation between where the vote happened and when it was counted, but for the most part any U.S. election results will have a similar pattern.

Juan Cole lists some evidence for election theft. He doesn't mention the time/ratio chart because it's a ridiculous argument to make. It's completely innumerate.

The thing is, it was never like Ahmadinejad was unpopular. He was very popular. His rallies brought out thousands of people's just Mosavi. It's entirely possible Ahmadinejad won. You can't tell who wins an election by the passion on display in someone's regional stronghold, that would be like trying say you think Kerry was the legitimate winner in '04 because so many people in New York were psyched to vote for him.

(Also, we hear a lot from westernized Iranians who speak English, but we don't hear that much from Ahmadinejad supporters in the western press/blogsphere.)

None the less, Iran clearly has a clusterfuck on their hands. They need to figure out a way to make their election process more transparent. The fact that the government controls the press and political dissent is going to make that difficult. You're never going to see something like an Iranian Black Box Voting or election protection groups. Those people may have reduced confidence in, say; electronic voting in the short term but the fact that they were able to win concessions and whatnot over time actually increases confidence a lot.

Did Iranian's vote based on their relationship to the U.S? I think that was probably a consideration. How many people have said they voted for Obama based on foreign policy concerns? Even a subset of that, tons of people took into consideration how it "would look" to the rest of the world to elect Obama. Of course there were a lot of other reasons, but that one was an important driver for us. And the U.S. is far more self-centered then most countries. I'm sure it was one of the things they had in mind.

OK, we've locked down the TV, the phones and most foreign websites, but there's still Twitter. Shouldn't be doing something about it too?

I'm pretty sure twitter is blocked, but Iranians can probably access it via proxy. I wonder if how they're even getting online in Tehran, if they shut down phone service I don't see why they wouldn't take down all internet access as well. Are they dialing up on old school modems and satellite phones?
posted by delmoi at 2:14 PM on June 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Nate Silver at 538 says the Graph isn't as dodgy as it looks (although I personally think it needs deeper analysis...)

I figured he would chime in. You could make graphs like that for almost any U.S. election and they would look about the same. Even elections where the winner flips during the counting will still be very linear. When you look at vote totals/time.
posted by delmoi at 2:18 PM on June 13, 2009


Shutting down tv, phones, internet etc, will backfire.

If they have nothing to do, they'll go out on the streets.
posted by empath at 2:19 PM on June 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Good reason to think Nate is wrong about the graph. By alphabitizing final results, he turns them into random bits that you'd expect to be linear. Partial, real-time election results streaming in irregularly from different regions aren't like that. Check his comments for more.
posted by gerryblog at 2:20 PM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, I couldn't quite read it right but I wasn't sure it was as incriminating as some were saying. (Misinterpreting graphs brings back painful college interview memories.)

The more damning suggestion seems to be that the vote was very even across provinces, as if Obama had won every single state by 52%.
posted by so_necessary at 2:21 PM on June 13, 2009


This guy is twittering from a satellite phone; he seems to be better-prepared than most for this, but he can't be the only one.
posted by EarBucket at 2:21 PM on June 13, 2009



Nate Silver at 538 says the Graph isn't as dodgy as it looks (although I personally think it needs deeper analysis...)

Unless the Iranian's decided to draw districts out of a hat in their waves of reporting, I find Nate's analysis to be rather short of convincing and as one commenter notes at 538, an analysis that yields an estimate of the lower bound in the temporal variance of the vote. At the same time, I agree that the graph probably isn't quite as damning as it was purported to be by some. What I really would be curious about is analysis of variance by region...
posted by drpynchon at 2:22 PM on June 13, 2009


Mobile phone networks are back up inside the country.
posted by EarBucket at 2:23 PM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also: "It's entirely possible Ahmadinejad won." Sure, but it doesn't seem likely that he won 69% of the vote, or even necessarily enough to forestall a run-off. The president of Iran's election-monitoring commission has declared the results invalid.
posted by gerryblog at 2:23 PM on June 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


You could make graphs like that for almost any U.S. election and they would look about the same. Even elections where the winner flips during the counting will still be very linear. When you look at vote totals/time.

Would you care to offer some concrete evidence, or is the sound of your own voice emanating from your ass sufficient to keep you happy? (No, Nate Silver's analysis does not qualify, since it is an alphabetical binning of fully counted state totals.)
posted by Krrrlson at 3:02 PM on June 13, 2009


This tearing-down of invisible walls and reducing that feeling of "us versus them" gives me a certain sense of belonging and the hope that we won't reduce the world to ruin after all. Maybe this is what the sixties felt like?

Actually, I think that watching the Internet blossom is more like it was after the Gutenberg press. Suddenly, massive amounts of information moving across the globe and available to every person, changing everything from literacy rates to power structures. This is just much, much faster. It makes you wonder what we will do, how we will change.
posted by Houstonian at 3:13 PM on June 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


i'm wearing green this evening in solidarity, i think.
posted by empath at 3:15 PM on June 13, 2009


Repeated election fraud by the right nearly destroyed America these last eight years. I hope Mousavi prevails.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:16 PM on June 13, 2009


Juan Cole is also is pointing out several good examples as to why this appears to be a case of fraud, and Iran's own election monitors have called for the election to be redone, due to significant irregularities.

Frankly, there is no good reason to believe that the election results are legitimate.
posted by markkraft at 3:17 PM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Looks like the US isn't buying it.
posted by mullingitover at 3:21 PM on June 13, 2009


"You could make graphs like that for almost any U.S. election and they would look about the same."

*Could*, not would... but point taken.

That said, it is quite questionable.

You would expect some of the smaller rural regions to report in first, since they could count their votes sooner, while cities where the polls actually stayed open longer due to overwhelming turnout would take the longest amount of time to count.

In that context, noticeable shifts would be the most likely scenario in this kind of election.
posted by markkraft at 3:21 PM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Repeated election fraud by the right nearly destroyed America these last eight years. I hope Mousavi prevails.

And if people had really taken to the streets over it, maybe Bush + friends would never have been in power to invade Iraq in the first place.
Being well-behaved isn't always the right thing.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:22 PM on June 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Good reason to think Nate is wrong about the graph. By alphabitizing final results, he turns them into random bits that you'd expect to be linear. Partial, real-time election results streaming in irregularly

Of course! That's because election returns over time are random bits you would expect to be linear. You can look at anomalies by region, but doing so by time usually largely independent of when the results come in. There are sometimes situations where a candidate's stronghold comes in late, but in the vast majority of elections that's only going to relate to a minor change in when the results come in.

Here's another thing Silver said:
Likewise, there was more wave-to-wave variation in the Ahmadinejad-Moosavi results than the statistical analysis I cited above seems to imply. Ignoring votes for minor candidates, Ahmadinejad won a high of 70.4 percent of the votes in Wave 1, and a low of 62.3 percent in the votes newly added in Wave 6. By comparison, Obama's share of the newly-added votes in our experiment ranged from 56.4 percent in Wave 3 to 44.7 percent in Wave 4. That's slightly more variance than we saw in the Iranian results but not much.
So even with big variation in results, both in the Iranian election, and with they hypothetical alphabetical organization of states, you still get a linear graph.

If Silver had organized the states by polling time closure, that would probably be a better example. But I'm pretty sure the results would be the same. There wasn't that much variation from east to west coast.
posted by delmoi at 3:23 PM on June 13, 2009


Like I said: there are a lot of reasons to be suspicious, but the graph just isn't one of them. Here's something posted by digby:
What is your reaction to the results of the election?

Many of us believe that the election was rigged. Not only Mousavi. We don't have any doubt. And as far as we are concerned, it is not legitimate.

There were many, many irregularities. They did not permit the candidates to supervise the election or the counting of the ballots at the polling places. The minister of the interior announced that he would oversee the final count in his office, at the ministry, with only two aides present.

In previous elections, they announced the results in each district, so people could follow up and make a judgment about the validity of the figures. In 2005, there were problems: in one district there were about 100,000 eligible voters, and they announced a total vote of 150,000. This time they didn't even release information about each particular district.

In all, there were about 45,000 polling places. There were 14,000 mobile ones, that can move from place to place. Many of us protested that. Originally, these mobile polling places were supposed to be used in hospitals and so on. This time, they were used in police stations, army bases, and various military compounds. When it comes to the military compounds and so on, if even 500 extra votes were put into each of the 14,000 boxes, that is seven million votes.

Mousavi and Karroubi had earlier established a joint committee to protect the peoples' votes. Many young people volunteered to work on that committee. But the authorities didn't let it happen. Last night [that is, election night] the security forces closed down that committee. There is no way, independent of the government and the Guardian Council, to verify the results.
posted by delmoi at 3:25 PM on June 13, 2009


And if people had really taken to the streets over it, maybe Bush + friends would never have been in power to invade Iraq in the first place.

Actually people people did take to the streets, or actually the polling station -- to shut down the recount because they were republicans.
posted by delmoi at 3:26 PM on June 13, 2009


If you get a situation where smaller regions tend to report some of their results before the big cities, how does that lend itself to "partial, real-time election results" being the least bit linear at all?

You only have to look to the most recent election in the U.S. to find an example of an election where this claim of linearity flew out the window. Initial results inevitably shifted more strongly towards Obama over time, both across the country and in the great majority of states.
posted by markkraft at 3:35 PM on June 13, 2009


That's because election returns over time are random bits you would expect to be linear.

I take it you didn't watch Pennsylvania in the 2008 presidential election.
posted by oaf at 3:38 PM on June 13, 2009


(That said, I don't think this is by any means the best graph that you can make to point out irregularities. It is suspicious to me, however, that it shows Mousavi actually performing more strongly, ratiowise, with the first returns than with the last few batches of returns.

Given that all sections of Iran were closing their elections at the same time except in the case of those areas, primarily in urban centers, where the polls had to stay open late due to long lines... well, that doesn't make much sense to me.

In the U.S., for example, you'd expect Obama to do pretty well with the first East Coast results, due to the relative strength of Democratic support across the Eastern Seaboard, and then see the ratio change as it went further into the South and Midwest, then shift more in his favor in the Mountain and West Coast regions.

Iran wouldn't have that. It would tend to have initial over-representation from small, rapidly countable regions, a period of relative balance, then a shift towards urban regions where the polls closed latest.
posted by markkraft at 3:53 PM on June 13, 2009


At this point, it doesn't really matter if the election was rigged or not. The people believe it was. Now, this is going to be resolved on the streets.
posted by empath at 3:55 PM on June 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


I take it you didn't watch Pennsylvania in the 2008 presidential election.

I've watched a lot of election results come in. I didn't say every one worked that way, but the vast majority do. Saying the Iranian election was stolen because it looks like 95% of election result charts doesn't really make much sense.
posted by delmoi at 3:56 PM on June 13, 2009


Also worth noting... While surfing Arabic media sources, I noticed that Iranian govt. run PressTV announced in its English broadcast that Ahmadinejad actually *lost* in Tehran, but made up for it with his rural vote.

This flatly contradicts prior Iranian government reports, which claimed that Ahmadinejad won in Tehran as well.

Accident... or are they just making up facts as they go along, in order to legitimizing this thing?!
posted by markkraft at 4:02 PM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


It continues to be possible that Ahmadinejad won. See Wishful thinking from Tehran in the Guardian and Ahmadinejad Won at Lenin's Tomb. A commenter at Lenin's Tomb makes an excellent point: They don't have to cheat. If there's someone they don't want to win, the people who approve the candidates simply don't let that person run.
posted by shetterly at 4:05 PM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think what we're seeing is that the propaganda bullsh*t that they use internally to support their anointed one has been judged by Ahmadinejad's western-savvy media stooges as being unbelievable by Western standards, so another reality is being sculpted for the rest of the world.

This, of course, is some of the same kind of stuff that Bush tried doing with propaganda the US used inside Iraq oftentimes being contradictory to what the government was telling Americans. There were several examples of this kind of sculpted truthiness blowing up in their faces out there, as a result.

That's the problem nowadays for propagandists. You can't target lies for a given audience anymore, unless you, say, cut off phone access, access to websites, arrest the opposition, etc.

You know... the kind of things that the Iranian government is currently trying to do to its people.
posted by markkraft at 4:14 PM on June 13, 2009


Andrew Sullivan links to this coverage on Britan's channel 4.

Also digby (in the same post I linked earlier) excerpts an interesting observation
I was at a book party for Bob Wright's The Evolution of God last night, and even then it was obvious that the Interior Ministry was probably rigging the vote. One of the topics of conversation was: when autocracies decide to do something like this, why do they do it so clumsily? Why not give Ahmadinejad 52.7% of the vote, which would be at least within the realm of reason? Or force a runoff and let Ahmadinejad win a week from now? Why perpetrate such an obvious fraud?

Hard to say. Maybe it's just too hard to orchestrate something more believable. Maybe, against all evidence, they believe that smashing victories are always more convincing than close ones. Maybe it's just rank panic and stupidity. It's a mystery — and a counterproductive one, too: there isn't a person on the planet who thinks that Ahmadinejad could have won two-thirds of the vote with a turnout of 85%, and the possibility of inciting an internal revolt is a lot higher with a barefaced fraud like this than it would be with something a little more subtle.

On the other hand, maybe we're looking at this through the wrong lens. Obviously something about Mousavi started to badly spook the powers-that-be during the past week, and maybe they decided something needed to be done about it. Maybe they wanted to provoke a round of violence from Mousavi's supporters as an excuse to lead a crackdown on dissidents. And what better way to do that than to make the election rigging so obvious even a child could see it?
posted by delmoi at 4:19 PM on June 13, 2009


It's bigger than electoral fraud.
posted by empath at 4:19 PM on June 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Iran's Ex-Foreign Minister Yazdi: It's A Coup
posted by homunculus at 4:25 PM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


some raw video from the streets
posted by delmoi at 4:45 PM on June 13, 2009


twitter updates now saying various ministry buildings on fire, explosions at tehran university.

Mousavi's official twitter feed says he is under house arrest.
posted by empath at 5:14 PM on June 13, 2009


Nah. What they want to report is OMG OMG IRAN TOTALLY PICKED MR CRAZYPANTS BECAUSE THEY LOVE HIM SO MUCH AND WANT TO HAVE HIS MUSLIM BABIES AND KILL YOURS AND THEY HATE OUR FREEDOMS AND THEY'RE GOING TO NUKE US ALL AND FORCIBLY CONVERT YOU TO ISLAM ONLY A REPUBLICAN WHO'S NOT A SEKRIT MUSLIM FORNER CAN SAVE US FROM THE TERRIBLE THREAT THAT EACH AND EVERY IRANIAN POSES TO THE USA AND JESUS AND DID YOU KNOW THEY'RE SORT OF BROWN?

-ROU Xenophobe


Eponysterical.
posted by wires at 5:14 PM on June 13, 2009


I am genuinely curious how much of this has to do with Obama. With some one non threatening in the White House, it probably made it much safer for people to support a 'moderate'. There's no chance this election would have been even close if we had a Republican in office.

If Mousavi really takes power, we may have a real chance for peace, finally.
posted by empath at 5:18 PM on June 13, 2009


This empire has 100,000 or so troops occupying the country on my western border

And 60,000 on the eastern border.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:22 PM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


From MeTa: Thanks jessamyn!

Nerd Thunderdome.
posted by zerobyproxy at 5:39 PM on June 13, 2009


This tearing-down of invisible walls and reducing that feeling of "us versus them" gives me a certain sense of belonging and the hope that we won't reduce the world to ruin after all.

The experience of watching this unfold feels like it is happening just down the street (so to speak). It makes me think of Persepolis.

I don't think it would have resonated as strongly with me if I couldn't watch it unfold live.

And as for another effect of instant, democratic, almost un-mediated communication: It's like pointing a heat lamp at a dead fish. Everyone could smell the lie stinking eventually, but with the heat of instantaneous communication makes lies stink faster than a newspaper can, and more powerfully than corporate mediated televised coverage.

Bad Gross metaphor but it hopefully caries the point.
posted by wires at 5:40 PM on June 13, 2009


I wonder if it's still possible for the theocrats to make a graceful retreat at this point. If Khamenei were to say "Whoops, we screwed up. Do the election over." Would that help to restore order, or would it just make people more cynical and dissatisfied with their rulers?
posted by Kevin Street at 6:07 PM on June 13, 2009


TPM on Iran's political coup.

The MSM drops the ball.

Was this a military, rather then political coup?.
posted by delmoi at 6:09 PM on June 13, 2009


I already hear Jon Stewart's take on this:

"After offending the Israelis, the Americans, and the Europeans, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has managed to outrage yet another nation...Iran."
posted by Skeptic at 6:12 PM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Some advice to Obama: Don’t Lead, Don’t Follow, And Instead Get Out Of The Way
posted by homunculus at 6:15 PM on June 13, 2009


I already hear Jon Stewart's take on this:

Actually the daily show's Jason Jones was actually in Iran a while ago. They had some video the other day but I don't know if he's still there.
posted by delmoi at 6:18 PM on June 13, 2009


It does not matter who will be the president, I will become that poor girl whose father is the laborer and whose mom is a maidservant in their eyes. They will sit again in their expensive cars and feed their dog such foods as I have probably never eaten. Which one of these candidates is going to demolish such class distinctions?

Again, sounds just like here.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:18 PM on June 13, 2009


It continues to be possible that Ahmadinejad won.

You can frame a guilty man, and you can steal an election you were going to win anyway.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:34 PM on June 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


The MSM drops the ball.

Top four headlines on CNN.com at the moment:

Six Flags files for bankruptcy

Are you at Bonnaroo?

'Pelham 123' with a twist

America's best burgers

posted by stargell at 6:45 PM on June 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


The point that the candidates are pre-screened and therefore there is no reason to rig the election is well taken. If that is indeed the case, what is Moussavi's motivation here? He has said some pretty inflammatory things for someone who knows he lost an election by such a wide margin. Is it possible that he believes he has won, even though he lost in a landslide?
posted by batou_ at 6:57 PM on June 13, 2009


Top four headlines on CNN.com at the moment:
The story is #2,3, and 4 under "latest news"
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:58 PM on June 13, 2009


"If Mousavi really takes power, we may have a real chance for peace, finally."

If he had won a peaceful and open election, that scenario sounds plausible. If days of rioting bring down the government...that's dicey. Cf. Little Joey Stalin on His Holiness, Mousavi does not command the armed forces. An uprising of the people can only permanently overthrow a regime if the regime does not command the loyalty of its armed forces or is unwilling to turn them on its own people. Indications so far do not point in that direction. Further, even if a people's uprising were to cause the regime to fall, it doesn't mean that all the hardliners in the country would just curl up in a ball and die. They and their millions of sympathizers would still be around to conspire, undermine, and possibly rebel against the new boss....

Early days, of course. I certainly don't know how the army feels. I don't know how much gas the rioters have in 'em, or how organized they are, or how far they'd be willing to take things if street protests aren't enough....But anyway you look at it now, things just got a lot more uncertain and much much harder to deal with, with a disturbing range of Very Bad outcomes much, much more plausible...
posted by Diablevert at 7:04 PM on June 13, 2009


Statistical Report Purporting to Show Rigged Iranian Election Is Flawed

A lot of people are saying the "landslide" is implausible, but it's in keeping with the few polls available.

I'm a little surpised how quickly the entire liberal blogosphere seems to have collapsed into conspiracy theories over this result.
posted by stammer at 7:04 PM on June 13, 2009


stammer, see above, the Silver post has been discussed.
posted by gerryblog at 7:09 PM on June 13, 2009


delmoi: "One of the topics of conversation was: when autocracies decide to do something like this, why do they do it so clumsily? Why not give Ahmadinejad 52.7% of the vote, which would be at least within the realm of reason? Or force a runoff and let Ahmadinejad win a week from now? Why perpetrate such an obvious fraud?

I'm not a staff blogger for The Atlantic or anything like that, but I can answer that question easily. Obviously there are autocracies that do rig elections with skill, but their since their subterfuge is more subtle they aren't detected, so we don't hear about them.
posted by JHarris at 7:11 PM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm a little surpised how quickly the entire liberal blogosphere seems to have collapsed into conspiracy theories over this result.

Andrew Sullivan is no liberal.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:12 PM on June 13, 2009


The pushback in favor of Ahmadinejad strikes me as strange. It's not at all implausible that an autocratic regime would manipulate election results, or that they would do it badly. Consider historian Gary Sick's list of events:

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.

posted by gerryblog at 7:16 PM on June 13, 2009 [9 favorites]


"6:14 update: Through Facebook we have received news that Mir Hossein
Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Gholamhossein Karbaschi are under house arrest.
"

"Yes, the president of Iran's own election monitoring commission has declared the result invalid and called for a do-over. That is huge news: when a regime's own electoral monitors beak ranks, what chance does the regime have of persuading anyone in the world or Iran that it has democratic legitimacy?"
posted by ageispolis at 7:17 PM on June 13, 2009


Ah, missed it - thanks.
posted by stammer at 7:19 PM on June 13, 2009


There can be no question that the June 12, 2009 Iranian presidential election was stolen.Dissident employees of the Interior Ministry, which is under the control of President Ahmadinejad and is responsible for the mechanics of the polling and counting of votes, have reportedly issued an open letter saying as much. Government polls (one conducted by the Revolutionary Guards, the other by the state broadcasting company) that were leaked to the campaigns allegedly showed ten- to twenty-point leads for Mousavi a week before the election; earlier polls had them neck and neck, with Mousavi leading by one per cent, and Karroubi just behind. Historically, low turnout has always favored conservatives in Iranian elections, while high turnout favors reformers. That’s because Iran’s most reliable voters are those who believe in the system; those who are critical tend to be reluctant to participate. For this reason, in the last three elections, sixty-five per cent of voters have come from traditional, rural villages, which house just thirty-five per cent of the populace. If the current figures are to be believed, urban Iranians who voted for the reformist ex-president Mohammad Khatami in 1997 and 2001 have defected to Ahmadinejad in droves.
posted by gerryblog at 7:22 PM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


A lot of people are saying the "landslide" is implausible, but it's in keeping with the few polls available.

From the article you cite:

"A close examination of our survey results reveals that the race may actually be closer than a first look at the numbers would indicate. More than 60 percent of those who state they don't know who they will vote for in the Presidential elections reflect individuals who favor political reform and change in the current system."

Further, that poll has the breakdown as 34% for Ahmadinjad, 14% for Moussavi, 27% don't know, and 3% for two third party-cadidates. That adds up to 78%. Something's quite fishy, there --- are there 22+ other candidates, each attracting >1% of the vote? Or are these numbers just wrong? Even going by this breakdown, Ahmadinijad would have to get ALL the Don't Knows, plus another 4-6% from....somewhere....to end up with his announced total. Announced after just one afternoon of counting handwritten ballots, and certified right away, before that silly old 3-day window to review allegations of irregularity, as provided in Iranian law, had passed.
posted by Diablevert at 7:29 PM on June 13, 2009


Daily Kos, HuffPo report riots, and that the religious regime is calling for a new election. The latter strikes me as particularly good news.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:36 PM on June 13, 2009


Reports that Twitter has finally been blocked in Iran: apparently no known Iranian Twitterers have posted in the last hour.
posted by gerryblog at 7:39 PM on June 13, 2009


Reports that Twitter has finally been blocked in Iran: apparently no known Iranian Twitterers have posted in the last hour.

It's about 7am in Tehran right now. It could be that they're all asleep. Or did the posts stop suddenly?
posted by jedicus at 7:43 PM on June 13, 2009


I'm a little surpised how quickly the entire liberal blogosphere seems to have collapsed into conspiracy theories over this result.

It's not just the "liberal blogsphere" It's also the former (as of today) leader of Iran's "Coucil of Experts" Akbar Rafsanjani. Rafsanjani was also a former president of Iran. The Council of experts actually oversees the Supreme Leader, and they have the constitutional authority to fire him. Oh and the New Yorker claims that there is "no doubt" it was stolen.

It's about 7am in Tehran right now. It could be that they're all asleep. Or did the posts stop suddenly?

Somehow I doubt that many Mosavi fans are sleeping tonight (or at least, I doubt they all are)
posted by delmoi at 7:58 PM on June 13, 2009


Also, my impression was that all internet access was shut down. this guy was posting via some kind of satellite.
posted by delmoi at 8:12 PM on June 13, 2009


"There was the added irony of the LATimes' sub-headline: "The winner will play a key role in possible talks over Iran's nuclear program and support for militant groups," the implication being that if Mousavi were the winner, maybe he'd rein back the militants. But it was Mousavi who, as Iran's prime minister in the 1980s, helped build those militant groups into international terrorist forces, sending money, weapons and manpower to Lebanon to beef up Hezbollah and telegraphing their targets, including that string of American and European hostages Hezbollah held for most of the decade—and Mousavi traded for, haggling over anti-tank missiles and money with Oliver North and Bud McFarlane, in the infamous Iran-contra affairs."Pierre Tristam
posted by netbros at 8:21 PM on June 13, 2009


For anyone interested in unraveling Iran's Byzantine power structure, the BBC put together a nice diagram that explains how all of the elected & unelected institutions interact with each other. It's a frightful mess, intentionally designed to preserve power while giving enough feeling of freedom to keep the people happy. But any system can be overwhelmed under stress from enough places. I think we're finding out how fault-tolerant Iran's political design really is.
posted by scalefree at 8:28 PM on June 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


That is huge news: when a regime's own electoral monitors beak ranks, what chance does the regime have of persuading anyone in the world or Iran that it has democratic legitimacy?

"Democratic legitimacy" is much overblown. This kind of dictatorship doesn't really care, and in fact few governments in that region really care about such things.

Saddam held sham elections where he routinely won more than 99% of the vote. Were they fair? Hell no; and no one thought they were. But such doubts never threatened his rule. (It took the US 3rd Infantry Division and 1st MEF to threaten his rule.)

They used to run elections in the USSR, too, but were always careful to make sure the right people won them. They run elections in Egypt, but the outcome is never in doubt.

How will the Iranian leaders "persuade the world"? They won't bother to try, because they don't give a damn about "democratic legitimacy".
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:38 PM on June 13, 2009


Also, my impression was that all internet access was shut down. this guy was posting via some kind of satellite.
posted by delmoi at 8:12 PM on June 13 [+] [!]


Something about that "tehranelection" Twitter feed strikes me as fishy. I'm starting to wonder whether all the "Iranian" Twitterers and blog-commenters are really who they claim to be.
posted by neroli at 8:46 PM on June 13, 2009


Top four headlines on CNN.com at the moment:

Six Flags files for bankruptcy

Are you at Bonnaroo?

'Pelham 123' with a twist

America's best burgers
Unhappy twitterers have made #CNNFail one of the current Trending Topics.
posted by Guy Smiley at 9:10 PM on June 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Something about that "tehranelection" Twitter feed strikes me as fishy.

I agree. I'd take it with a grain of salt for now.

Also, keyvan is tweeting from within Iran as of this hour.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:17 PM on June 13, 2009


Updates from Iranian family:
-rumors of over 100 killed in Tehran.
-eyewitness saw two women shot because they took off their scarves

This is becoming too close to 1979. I'm a little scared.

There was a small protest in front of the Iranian interests office today in DC. There will be another one tomorrow morning at 11am.
posted by azarbayejani at 9:18 PM on June 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Interesting! Those Daily Kos updates suggest that there's dissension at the top, with Khamenei backing Ahmedinejad on one side, and at least some other Ayatollahs asking for a new election on the other. So the anger out there may not be directed toward the system as a whole, but is instead focused on the two men who are currently in charge.
posted by Kevin Street at 9:19 PM on June 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


BBC report from the streets.
posted by delmoi at 9:24 PM on June 13, 2009


Al-arabiya is reporting that there have been at least three deaths so far. (Via)

I've been following #iranelection (specifically this person) since I got home from work, and the sheer amount of pics, videos, and testimony have blown all the news agencies out of the water. Perhaps a few of the twitterers (twits??) aren't who they claim, but most first person testimony I've read has been verified later.

I never thought I'd see a use for twitter, but I've been riveted. Also, I wish it had a different name, because maybe people like me would have taken this technology much more seriously earlier on.
posted by jnaps at 9:28 PM on June 13, 2009


"Democratic legitimacy" is much overblown. This kind of dictatorship doesn't really care, and in fact few governments in that region really care about such things.

First of all, this isn't a garden-variety dictatorship with a cult of personality. It's a collective theocracy with -- until now -- some democratic features.

Second, you're much oversimplifying. The regime does not, obviously, honor democratic legitimacy at the front of the line. But that does not mean that the loss of legitimacy is without cost to them. It will severely impact, for example, how Western nations trust the word of Iran's "elected" President. It will also cost them a great deal internally, as they will need to vastly increase the power of the state in order to crush dissent. Iran has been through multiple cycles of reform and retrenchment since 1979, most particularly in the 1990s, but this dwarfs prior clampdowns. Iran as a people has been used to having a relatively free press with multiple points of view, multiple parties in Parliament, and the veneer of popular control of the political direction of the country. It's not yet clear why the true powers were unsatisfied with the candidate they allowed to (apparently) win the election, but clearly if this outcome had been expected they would have found some reason to deny Moussavi the right to stand. Or, even more likely, they have multiple centers of power, and the electoral commission or the Expediency Council or whomever felt great public pressure to permit a reform candidate who just might win. Other sectors of the government, however, felt otherwise and have acted precipitously to maintain their power.

This is sad, but it also speaks of a weakened regime that cannot sustain itself without erasing what limited democracy was allowed. At the same time, the regime becomes more dangerous. These complexities cannot be reduced to your blanket statement.
posted by dhartung at 9:54 PM on June 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


Some good links here:
http://personaldemocracy.com/blog-entry/somethings-happening-iran
posted by xorry at 10:52 PM on June 13, 2009



First of all, this isn't a garden-variety dictatorship with a cult of personality. It's a collective theocracy with -- until now -- some democratic features.


Iran strikes me as a kind of mirror-image of Turkey; Turkey has a secular democracy enforced by millitary power - you can vote for whoever you like, but if the Generals decide they're too religious (or too conciliatory to Kurds), they aren't going to have a happy time of it.

Iran, by contrast, is a theocratic democracy. You can vote, but it'd better not be for anyone with an unapproved flavour of Islam, or "un-Islamic" policies.
posted by rodgerd at 12:55 AM on June 14, 2009



It made it on to the Internet, so I think we need to take it seriously.
posted by squalor


I wasn't sure whether to favorite this or flag it.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:19 AM on June 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Whilst it certainly does look like there have been irregularities, to say the least, I'm put in mind of the May '68 events in France where you got a false impression of general radicalism because it was concentrated in the capital and other major urban centres, but a majority particularly in the rural areas did indeed back the regime. Entirely a speculative observation, of course.
posted by Abiezer at 1:26 AM on June 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


A very good article by Robert Fisk
posted by Fat Buddha at 2:18 AM on June 14, 2009


Can someone explain something to me?

I keep hearing that the position of president is largely ceremonial and powerless. Why then would you bother to rig an election for that position? Is that thing I keep hearing about the Iranian presidency being a figurehead position wrong? Or have things changed recently?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:21 AM on June 14, 2009


joe's_spleen, this chart from the BBC shows the power structure in Iran. I think the (very simplified) idea is that, if the President is more or less a figurehead who must do what the clerics say, then it's good to have a figurehead that will do what the clerics say.
posted by Houstonian at 3:06 AM on June 14, 2009


“I am in Tehran. Its 3:40 in the morning. I’ve connected with you [by hacking past the government filter]. It’s a big mess here. People are yelling from their houses – ‘death to the dictator.’ They are setting up a military government. No one dares to go out. No one has seen Mousavi today. Rumor has it that they have arrested him. I don’t have an email but I will contact you again.

Help us.”


As compelling and sad as this is, I hope that's the one thing we in the US don't do. If history, and the Iranians themselves, have taught us anything it is that our government should not get involved in their politics. I hope they find democratic rule, but ultimately it's up to their people to make this happen for them.
posted by Houstonian at 3:11 AM on June 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Abiezer, the one difference is that Moussavi also had the support of key Westernized elites (not entirely accurate, but an easy way to think of it). This was very much an election pitting Iran's Red States Provinces against its Blue ones. The extent to which Blue Tehran is an isolated outlier in the Persian demographic is really what hangs in the balance, and I'm not sure anybody really knows the answer to that -- even Juan Cole.

I keep hearing that the position of president is largely ceremonial and powerless.

That is just as inaccurate as calling him a dictator. It is clearly a key position, but while it exercises some executive functions, there is a massive apparatus behind the scenes to make sure that the position does not actually have the capability to overrule the clerical state. Ahmadinejad, or any President, would only manifest those powers delegated by the Supreme Leader and bodies like the Expediency Council.

I'm not sure why this is so hard to grasp for so many. It certainly served some propaganda purposes to portray him as a Saddam Hussein equivalent, which he certainly is not, and makes his hothead rhetoric seem pretty dangerous. But that simplistic portrait does not allow for all the reasons that Iran realistically -- in a foreign policy sense -- is engaging in nuclear brinkmanship, and the success that they have had without even being close to producing a weapon.
posted by dhartung at 3:27 AM on June 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Azar Nafisi (visiting professor and the executive director of Cultural Conversations at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in Washington DC) interviewed by Al Jazeera.
posted by adamvasco at 4:01 AM on June 14, 2009


Blog with pictures and video

dhartung - that's a good point on the flaws in the parallel with '68
posted by Abiezer at 4:05 AM on June 14, 2009


Andrew Sullivan is no liberal.

No, he's a dewy-eyed romantic who loses perspective the moment he starts typing.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:25 AM on June 14, 2009 [6 favorites]


Iran's Green Party is Over
posted by billysumday at 6:16 AM on June 14, 2009


Also, if anyone missed the live broadcast of Ahmedinejad's press conference, Christianne Amanpour asked about the status of Mousavi and other reform leaders - MA dodged the question completely, even after she asked it a second time. So, still no official news on the whereabouts of Mousavi.
posted by billysumday at 6:22 AM on June 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Key take-away: Do not go to soccer matches in Iran.
posted by Houstonian at 8:15 AM on June 14, 2009


So here's who I follow on Twitter. Everything up to and excluding "volkskrant" is Iran-related.

Apologies for the sort-of self-link, but it's the easiest way to link all of them quickly. I can't vouch for the authenticity of all the accounts, but most have been very informative (Jim Sciutto of ABC has been stellar).

If anyone has any recommendations I'd like to hear them.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:17 AM on June 14, 2009


Iran’s Day of Anguish
posted by homunculus at 8:39 AM on June 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Stunning Italian video of cops on motorcycles charging a crowd, being engulfed by protesters, a motorbike on fire, and a wounded cop then being helped by protesters.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:57 AM on June 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wow.
posted by stargell at 9:31 AM on June 14, 2009


Pitched Battle In Isfahan. Are we Wenceslas Square or Tiananmen?
posted by homunculus at 10:03 AM on June 14, 2009


The regime does not, obviously, honor democratic legitimacy at the front of the line. But that does not mean that the loss of legitimacy is without cost to them. It will severely impact, for example, how Western nations trust the word of Iran's "elected" President.

Not sure I follow. I always assume that any politician whether legit or not is going to tell the truth when it suits him and lie when it suits him. What does his manner of getting into power have to do with it?

Or am I being too flat footed again?

As to the stolenness of the election - no surprise there. If you honestly believe that God is lighting up your life when you talk at the UN, then clearly you would be doing serious blasphemy if you let some silly convention like popular vote get in the way of His will.
posted by IndigoJones at 10:05 AM on June 14, 2009


Sidebar: I remembered the prominent Iranian blogger Hossein Derakhshan aka Hoder.com and went to look him up only to find he'd been arrested in Tehran in November 2008 and remains under detention.
posted by ao4047 at 10:38 AM on June 14, 2009


This was discussed at the time of his arrest here, ao4047, at least in Metatalk, possibly on Metafilter proper.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:41 AM on June 14, 2009


The HuffingtonPost live blog post is still being updated BTW. Looks like they're planning a march for Monday and a general strike on Tuesday.
posted by tksh at 11:01 AM on June 14, 2009


A friend's blog claims that a reliable source at Iran's Interior Ministry has told him that the actual results put Mousavi at 52%. Don't know if I believe it.
Something he claims that I have seen somewhere else is that the interior ministry called Mousavi HQ to tell him that he had won. An hour or so later, Iran's official news agency reported a 69% tally for Ahmadinejad.

Also: "Presidential candidates Mousavi and Karrubi today asked the Guardian Council to annul the results of the 12 June election"
posted by azarbayejani at 11:42 AM on June 14, 2009


Interesting discussion from Fareed Zakaria's show You have to scroll down, since there are some other embedded videos on that page.
posted by delmoi at 11:56 AM on June 14, 2009


There's an internet strike against Khamenei's website going on:

Twitter: @StopAhmadi PLS RT! everyone, click http://bit.ly/12UQW0 and LEAVE browsr window open 2 BRING DOWN Khamenei's website! #iranelection
posted by modernerd at 11:58 AM on June 14, 2009


I keep hearing that the position of president is largely ceremonial and powerless. Why then would you bother to rig an election for that position? Is that thing I keep hearing about the Iranian presidency being a figurehead position wrong? Or have things changed recently?

It's not a totally ceremonial position like the governor general in Canada or something. Rather my understanding is that it's a mostly domestic position, so the guy wouldn't have much say over international stuff. But apparently it's rather fluid and if the president has a lot of influence, he can do a lot of stuff. On the other hand, he can be isolated if what he's doing isn't popular with the clerics.
posted by delmoi at 12:07 PM on June 14, 2009


A friend's blog claims that a reliable source at Iran's Interior Ministry has told him that the actual results put Mousavi at 52%.

Here's a slightly different rumor on the voting totals. This one has Mousavi with the same exact number (19,075,623), but suggests that Karoubi (not Ahmadinejad) got the 13,387,104. It puts Ahmadinejad in 3rd with about 5.6 million votes.
posted by one_bean at 12:09 PM on June 14, 2009


The more I read about the demographics in Iran -- especially poverty -- the more I believe that Ahmadinejad may have legitimately won the race. I still hate to see how they've chosen to deal with this, though: Riots on the one side, blocking communications on the other.
posted by Houstonian at 12:22 PM on June 14, 2009


Q&A in the Guardian about what happens next.
The next few days will reveal how far Mousavi supporters are willing to go to challenge the regime. They will also show how far the authorities are willing to go in suppressing dissent, whether they will clamp down on former safety valves for dissent like the internet. Either way, the events of the past few days have the makings of a turning point. It seems unlikely that Iran can carry on as before. It will be more repressive and quite possibly more turbulent.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 12:24 PM on June 14, 2009


Newsweek: "It’s a Coup d'Etat"
We have to wait for the result of Rafsanjani-Mousavi meeting to find out how the reformists are planning to respond to what they call "the fraud of the century." Judging from their past actions they will most probably reluctantly will accept the result and will not do much. That will leave their supporters angry and suppressed. The events of the past few weeks, especially last night's result, have polarized Iranians. The political developments may not result in any mass demonstrations such as those that brought down the shah in 1979. But today's chaos on Vali Asr Avenue shows that a great number of Iranians, at least those millions who voted for Mousavi can at some point in the future ask for a change that may not only reform the Islamic Republic but undermine it as a political system.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 12:29 PM on June 14, 2009


According to Mousavi's official site, the real numbers should be:

* Mousavi – 21.3 million (57.2%)
* Ahmadinejad – 10.5 million (28%)
* Rezai – 2.7 million (7.2%)
* Karroubi – 2.2 million (6%)

Take with a huge grain of salt. I found this info from this invaluable site.
posted by billysumday at 12:32 PM on June 14, 2009


Marshall Kirkpatrick and ReadWriteWeb in NYT: "Dear CNN, Please Check Twitter for News About Iran"
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 12:32 PM on June 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Okay, Twitter, you've finally earned your keep. I take back all those words that have hurt you.
posted by billysumday at 12:35 PM on June 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


BBC: "Stop the blocking now"
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 12:35 PM on June 14, 2009


Woah, I posted that without seeing your link, gnfti. But, really, this is pretty crazy to watch unfold - the cable networks are showing reruns of old programming (or at least they were this morning) while blogs and Twitter keep everyone informed and in touch. I mean, no big deal, MSNBC. No big whoop, CNN. Just the implosion of Iran. Whatever. Yawn. Civil unrest. Riots. Stolen election (presumably). Military coup. Culture war. No biggee. Same old same old.
posted by billysumday at 12:38 PM on June 14, 2009


NBC offices in Tehran raided, cameras and Equipment confiscated. BBC told to get out Iran immediately. Cell/internet shut down #iranelection
posted by billysumday at 12:39 PM on June 14, 2009


Maybe the news agencies will perk up now that they're getting kicked out of the country en masse.
posted by billysumday at 12:39 PM on June 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Twitter: @StopAhmadi PLS RT! everyone, click http://bit.ly/12UQW0 and LEAVE browsr window open 2 BRING DOWN Khamenei's website! #iranelection

Whether this is a good idea or not (I'm not going to presume either way, since I'm basically your neighborhood ignoramus), http://www.khamenei.ir/ is pretty much unreachable right now.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:50 PM on June 14, 2009


Interesting exchange of tweets, where they are discussing their rankings on Twitter.

Neysan asks: "Anyone care to change #IranElection to #IranRevolution??"

StopAhmadi answers: "no, it's not a good idea bcz we already are top trending topic on twitter, let's keep it that way buddy."

posted by Houstonian at 1:02 PM on June 14, 2009


Reports of tanks on the street.
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:18 PM on June 14, 2009


Tanks. This really is starting to feel like Tianamen. Tomorrow's big rally for Mousavi will be interesting. At this point it's, what, 1:30 or so in the morning? I would expect things to start to die down for the next seven hours or so. It is unfortunate that a) the foreign press is being kicked out and b) there seems to be so little attention being paid to this story by the mainstream American media.
posted by billysumday at 1:21 PM on June 14, 2009


Obama's response: let's play some golf!
posted by billysumday at 1:32 PM on June 14, 2009


There's some question about that rally tomorrow (today, it's 1 a.m. now.) I've seen reports that it's been outlawed. Still no confirmation on the tanks. Lots of wild rumors.
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:34 PM on June 14, 2009


The more I read about the demographics in Iran -- especially poverty -- the more I believe that Ahmadinejad may have legitimately won the race.

That doesn't account for the fear which the regime's actions indicate. I think this is one case where perception is reality. There is a perception that Moussavi won or should have won, and whether or not it's true, it means the regime has a huge problem on its hands.

In the Nafisi interview linked above she says:

But just as important is the fact that many within the ruling elite in Iran are realizing they cannot rule the society the way they claimed they could.... The fact that Mr. Mousavi or Karoobi choose to talk of freedom and human rights show the degree to which the divisions within the regime are affected by the resistance of the Iranian people..... He didn't just campaign against Ahmadinejad but against the very foundations of the Islamic Republic. The fact that Mr Mousavi risked his political career to take up this position suggests that a sizable number of the population don't want what exists now.

When China faced a similar crisis, it turned to capitalism and improved governance in order to stifle the demand for democracy. What Iran will have to do is yet undetermined. I suspect it will prove difficult to reconcile with the Islamic State.

Rather my understanding is that it's a mostly domestic position, so the guy wouldn't have much say over international stuff. But apparently it's rather fluid

It's not so much that it's domestic as that he is not by law commander in chief of the armed forces. He is secondary to the Supreme Leader in everything that matters. The President sits on the (new/revamped) National Security Council, but only as a delegate of the Supreme Leader, a privilege that can be revoked at any time. The President has very dubious ability to act without the assent of the NSC.

Again, what is important about this is that Ahmadinejad's public persona is pretty much irrelevant to the concrete actions that Iran has engaged in. That's a point that is invisible in most of the Western media. Even a more conciliatory President would find himself at odds with the strong national interests perceived by the regime, and might find himself sidelined or outright ignored.

But you're definitely right about the intentional ambiguity and fluidity. It's similar to the way that other authoritarian regimes protect themselves by creating multiple centers of power and enforcement I'm not citing equivalency, but Hitler had the Wehrmacht, the Waffen SS, the SS, the Gestapo, and earlier, the SA. When necessary they were pitted against each other. The USSR went through a period where the NKVD and other KGB predecessors were torn apart and reconstituted regularly as a check on their power. What's interesting about the Iran model is the constitutional structure, creating an apparent rule of law. China in the post-Mao, post-Deng era has gone in a similar institutional direction. Iran's veneer just wore through, though.
posted by dhartung at 1:38 PM on June 14, 2009


Forgive me if this was already covered above (I looked but couldn't find anything), but could somebody please give me a simple breakdown as to why this graph, from the beginning of this thread, is suspect? I am not understanding the context, or what about it that is raising suspicion. Is it the scale? The linearness of the line? If so, why does that matter? The 7 data points? Where the chart came from? (Where did it come from?) Is it something else? Somebody please help me understand. Thanks.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:39 PM on June 14, 2009


Class v. Culture Wars in Iranian Elections: Rejecting Charges of a North Tehran Fallacy
posted by homunculus at 1:41 PM on June 14, 2009


The whole world is watching.
posted by telstar at 1:46 PM on June 14, 2009


re: iamkimiam.
posted by ageispolis at 1:55 PM on June 14, 2009


The whole world is hitting 'refresh'.
posted by ryanrs at 1:59 PM on June 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


Rising oil prices will buy off democracy
Oil probably won't hit $150 a barrel next year - but then, it's not going back to $30 either. So the time for change in Iran is now, as it will only get harder in the future.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:01 PM on June 14, 2009


"Obama's response: let's play some golf!"

Seems reasonable. He's going to want to be rested and relaxed; their isn't anything the States can do right now; it's not like he's fly fishing in Alaska; and it's not like the people monitoring things can't reach him.
posted by Mitheral at 2:02 PM on June 14, 2009


The more I read about the demographics in Iran -- especially poverty -- the more I believe that Ahmadinejad may have legitimately won the race.

Exactly. These people, aside from urban elites, are anti-west islamic theocrats. They have no love of secularism or anything western. In fact they hate these values. The blog fivethirtyeight has already debunked the only real data that people think points to vote fraud. Lets stop the rumors and conspiracy theories until we can get more data. Posting rumors does no one any good.

This all sounds like 2000 and 2004 again. The typical "ZOMG THEY STOLE THE ELECTION WITH THUGS AND VOTING MACHINES DIEBOLD NEW WORLD ORDER 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB" bullshit.
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:03 PM on June 14, 2009


There's nothing that Obama can do right now. We've been burned before from intervening in Iranian politics.

This is an internal Iranian issue. Anything we did to get involved would just make things worse. If Mousavi or his supporters asked for our help, that might be different, but they haven't yet.
posted by empath at 2:03 PM on June 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks ageispolis! I should have know to go straight to FiveThirtyEight.com...from the link you posted to there, I found another one that also helped me understand the problem: http://tehranbureau.com/2009/06/13/faulty-election-data/, for anybody else that needs to catch up.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:05 PM on June 14, 2009


The clerics and Supreme Ruler have all the power anyway. Its a sham system to begin with. Even if the reformers got power, it doesnt make a difference. Iran needs an enlightenment first.
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:06 PM on June 14, 2009


This is an internal Iranian issue. Anything we did to get involved would just make things worse.

This.
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:06 PM on June 14, 2009


Also, if Obama stood up in solidarity with the people on the streets of Tehran, and the hardliners went in with tanks and slaughtered them all, what are we going to do-- invade?

No, we'd just look foolish.
posted by empath at 2:07 PM on June 14, 2009


"but could somebody please give me a simple breakdown as to why this graph, from the beginning of this thread, is suspect? I am not understanding the context, or what about it that is raising suspicion."

Generally speaking a straight line in any sampling data is suspect. And it's pretty unusual from the Canadian experience but I'm seeing that we might be a bit of a special case.
posted by Mitheral at 2:09 PM on June 14, 2009


Iran needs an enlightenment first.

That is some patronizing bullshit. The US has just as many ignorant and religious people as Iran does.
posted by empath at 2:09 PM on June 14, 2009 [8 favorites]


Actually, with all those troops in Iraq there's a tremendous amount the US could do. (This is no Georgian war.) And that's why it's so important for the Obama Administration to be measured and neutral in its response. Saying the wrong thing right now could scare and/or anger Iranians and make the situation much worse.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:11 PM on June 14, 2009


That is some patronizing bullshit. The US has just as many ignorant and religious people as Iran does.

Really? In power? To this degree? How many homosexuals have we excuted this year?

Dont take this election as carte blanche to express your whiny uber-liberal marginalized anti-us views. iran is not the US. The knee-jerk conspiracy theorists and armchair politicos on this site need to realize this simple fact. Thanks.
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:13 PM on June 14, 2009


Actually, with all those troops in Iraq there's a tremendous amount the US could do.

Yeah, like get thousands of American soldiers killed.
posted by empath at 2:14 PM on June 14, 2009


Or, what empath and CunningLinguist already said.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:14 PM on June 14, 2009


Anyone who thinks Obama should insert himself into this situation should remember this. In 2002, Hugo Chavez was briefly removed from power in a coup. The Bush Administration immediately recognized the new government and congratulated them on overthrowing Chavez. Within 48 hours, however, Chavez had regained power, leaving Bush with egg on his face and relations between the two countries, well, awkward at best.

Obama doesn't need that kind of embarrassment this early in his presidency. Besides, the reformist movement is more US-friendly than the hard-liners, but it's not at all clear that having the president of the United States publicly endorse one of the candidates would be helpful at all. The administration is walking a very difficult line about as well as they can on this one.
posted by EarBucket at 2:17 PM on June 14, 2009


From the Monthly Review, June 11: "In a new public opinion poll across Iran before the critical upcoming June 12, 2009 Presidential elections, a plurality of Iranians said they would vote for incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."

This was a poll done by telephone, so it doesn't include Iran's poorest. They give a look at the main issues in this race, as seen by Iranians.

The overview of the issues starts with this statement: "The number one priority Iranians have for their government is improving the Iranian economy, very closely followed by ensuring free elections, a free press and better trade and relations with the West. By contrast, developing nuclear weapons was not seen as an important long-term priority by most."

I've been doing a lot of reading, so I can't point to a source. But, I've read that he's done a lot for the poor in Iran: Bringing them water, electricity, and telephone services. He's recently given raises to teachers and some other groups. And he resonates with the poor and middle classes, with his simple dress and simple manner.

It seems reasonable to believe that poor people (the standard definition for "poor" in this case is $2/day or less) and conservatives would vote for him. And, I've read that the poorest people are not in Tehran, but in the rural areas. We see Twitters from (relatively wealthier) college students in the cities, but silence from the rural areas, who may be larger in number but lacking the equipment necessary to tweet their own responses.
posted by Houstonian at 2:36 PM on June 14, 2009


I think anyone who thinks Obama should insert himself does not have to look to Chavez. They can look to Iran, in 1979.
posted by Houstonian at 2:38 PM on June 14, 2009


Obama does not need to insert himself. Obviously. Staying quiet and putting out the occasional "wait and see" press release is the smart thing to do. That said, he spent the day playing golf? Really? Not commiserating with his peeps in the State Dept? Calling and conversing with NATO allies? Developing alternate strategies depending on what happens in the next few days? Really? It's better to just go hit the links? You're right. No big whoop. Just the implosion of Iran. Happens every day.
posted by billysumday at 2:44 PM on June 14, 2009


twitter: "the sound of cars and people chanting is incredible. like all the city is alive at 2 am."
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:48 PM on June 14, 2009


It's kind of short sighted to claim that Obama is blowing the issue off. The guy hasn't yet come off of as a slacker. The obvious strategy is to sit and watch what happens. Obama's goal is to initiate talks with Iran, and that means whomever is in position to talk with him a month or year from now. Coming out forcibly for either candidate would only hurt that prospect down the road. By playing golf, he can tell the "winner" later that he had no illusion that the result was going to happen any other way than it did. And of course, there's really nothing the US can do at this moment to change the result that wouldn't result in bad news one way or another. It's in the hands of the Iranian people for now.
posted by Atreides at 2:53 PM on June 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Intresting (second hand) view from a supposed insider about what's going on (via Andrew Sullivan).

Obama's response: let's play some golf!

Obama shouldn't be doing anything in front of the cameras, frankly. The worst thing we could do for the reformers is give an indication that we are somehow trying to influence the results.

Only if we can co-ordinate with other countries and have a sort of 'global' response would it be a good idea to speak.
Exactly. These people, aside from urban elites, are anti-west islamic theocrats. They have no love of secularism or anything western. In fact they hate these values. The blog fivethirtyeight has already debunked the only real data that people think points to vote fraud
That's absurd. There is nothing wrong with the chart but there is enormous evidence that the election wasn't on the level. Juan Cole posted nine different pieces of evidence last night.
This all sounds like 2000 and 2004 again. The typical "ZOMG THEY STOLE THE ELECTION WITH THUGS AND VOTING MACHINES DIEBOLD NEW WORLD ORDER 9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB" bullshit.
Dude, this is Iran. It would not be very difficult at all to suppress the results.
posted by delmoi at 2:55 PM on June 14, 2009


Interesting that some of the tweets now report chants of "death to Khamenei."

That's just asking for trouble. But, I think they've pinpointed the correct issue.
posted by Houstonian at 2:59 PM on June 14, 2009


Interesting that some of the tweets now report chants of "death to Khamenei."

Unimaginable three days ago.
posted by billysumday at 3:00 PM on June 14, 2009


Obama's response: let's play some golf!

The best way for the US, or the West in general, to ensure a hardline theocratic government in Iran is to be seen to be supporting Iranian reformers.
posted by rodgerd at 3:14 PM on June 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thank you, Kermit Roosevelt - I wonder what it's like now on the Earth-2 where Operation Ajax never happened, or failed?
posted by jtron at 3:15 PM on June 14, 2009


Holy Jesus, people. When Bush went golfing every weekend during the Iraq War, it was callous, immature, unsympathetic, tin-eared and cynical. But when Obama does it, it's fucking strategic. Can we not agree that it's better to have a President who doesn't play golf while a major world player erupts in protests and violence?
posted by billysumday at 3:19 PM on June 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mousavi's spokesman says their campaign and the reformist newspapers were initially informed they had won. Very interesting article.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:21 PM on June 14, 2009


Obama not meddling is strategic. Obama golfing is lame.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:22 PM on June 14, 2009


Thank you, CL. Some sense.

And: Khamenei endorses election results a second time.
posted by billysumday at 3:25 PM on June 14, 2009


Your analogy doesn't really hold water, billysumday. Going golfing during a political crisis in a far-away land, which you cannot do much about in the first place, is a far cry from the rhetorical recklessness and complete lack of self-consciousness of "stop these terrist killers, now watch this drive". I am not an American, but I believe the POTUS or any elected political leader for that matter has the right to relax in whichever way they choose, especially on the weekend, as long as they are doing their job properly. For all the criticism I have of him, I feel that Obama, for the most part, is.

If you truly cannot tell the difference between these things then I wonder what you would prefer the POTUS do today instead of playing a bit of golf.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:39 PM on June 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


From billysumday's Khamenei link:
"The 10th presidential election was an epic and ominous event," Ayatollah Khamenei said on Sunday.
"Epic and ominous"?

what
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:42 PM on June 14, 2009


Dirt bikes don't strike me as very good riot control vehicles, seeing as they're not really stable at low speeds and offer no protection for the rider. How can one or a small group of people on foot take down a motorcycle with two riot police on it?
posted by vibrotronica at 3:46 PM on June 14, 2009


Patrick Disney in the HuffPo: On Iran, the Power of Obama's Silence
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:47 PM on June 14, 2009


If you truly cannot tell the difference between these things then I wonder what you would prefer the POTUS do today instead of playing a bit of golf.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:39 PM on June 14 [+] [!]

That said, he spent the day playing golf? Really? Not commiserating with his peeps in the State Dept? Calling and conversing with NATO allies? Developing alternate strategies depending on what happens in the next few days? Really? It's better to just go hit the links?
posted by billysumday at 2:44 PM on June 14 [+] [!]
posted by billysumday at 3:48 PM on June 14, 2009


Dirt bikes don't strike me as very good riot control vehicles, seeing as they're not really stable at low speeds and offer no protection for the rider. How can one or a small group of people on foot take down a motorcycle with two riot police on it?

Given the number of flaming motorcycle pictures I've seen, I think the answer is "they can".
posted by delmoi at 3:50 PM on June 14, 2009


Obama should be staying up all night drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. He should be stressing and showing the world that he is ready at a moments notice to... ahh, what? I don't think the time pressure is on him for this one.

Bush was callous, immature, unsympathetic, tin-eared and cynical. "Watch this swing" just made it clear for most everyone.
posted by pointilist at 4:03 PM on June 14, 2009


What I mean to ask is, assuming you're on foot and don't have a gun, what is the best way to take down a motorcycle? Cram something in the spokes? Clothesline?
posted by vibrotronica at 4:05 PM on June 14, 2009


Okay, well, then, let me argue my point differently. I'd rather not hear Obama say anymore that he doesn't have time to tackle gay rights, immigration reform, DADT, or any other of the whole range of issues he's tabled because he simply can't be bothered with such things in these demanding times. I mean, for godssakes, he said he couldn't have dinner with Sarkozy because he was too busy fixing the economy. But yet, since he's been President, he's gone golfing nearly every weekend. I do, frankly, think it's hypocritical of his supporters to give him a pass while previously they piled on Bush for doing the same.
posted by billysumday at 4:08 PM on June 14, 2009


Rumors, anecdotal, etc: many killed in raid on Tehran University.
posted by billysumday at 4:10 PM on June 14, 2009


What I mean to ask is, assuming you're on foot and don't have a gun, what is the best way to take down a motorcycle?

Grab on to the rider's clothes and pull him off.
posted by ryanrs at 4:12 PM on June 14, 2009


Time mag has great color from Tehran
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:18 PM on June 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


shove from the side on a slow moving motorcycle is more than enough....they weigh a lot and you don't need to get them tipped to far to cause the rider to lose complete control.
posted by dibblda at 4:18 PM on June 14, 2009


A rider can recover from a shove without much trouble. You need to grab hold and hang on.
posted by ryanrs at 4:20 PM on June 14, 2009


he doesn't have time to tackle gay rights, immigration reform, DADT, or any other of the whole range of issues he's tabled because he simply can't be bothered with such things in these demanding times

It's got nothing to do with him personally having time to deal with them, only that DC has a certain bandwidth available for pushing issues through. He's on health care now. Once that's taken care of, he'll move on to the rest.
posted by empath at 4:20 PM on June 14, 2009


It's got nothing to do with him personally having time to deal with them, only that DC has a certain bandwidth available for pushing issues through. He's on health care now. Once that's taken care of, he'll move on to the rest.

Fair enough. Why then is he always griping about how he doesn't have time to do anything? Can't even find the time to spend two hours to have dinner with the Sarkozys. Not that I care what he does in France in his spare time. Just don't blow smoke up our ass, is all.

More reports of raids/fighting/deaths at Tehran University.
posted by billysumday at 4:24 PM on June 14, 2009


"apparently there is running battles in tehran uni right now. i can hear shooting on the phone line."
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:31 PM on June 14, 2009


Neocons Celebrate Ahmadinejad Victory as Iran Burns
posted by homunculus at 4:36 PM on June 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


What I mean to ask is, assuming you're on foot and don't have a gun, what is the best way to take down a motorcycle?

A stick, briefcase, backpack, or anything you can sling into the rider's face when they go past you is a pretty good bet. Gravel, oil, diesel in front of them. Couple of logs of wood or bricks in the line they're riding in, for that matter.

Horses for riot control I get. Motorcycles seem a little bit of an odd choice.

I'd rather not hear Obama say anymore that he doesn't have time to tackle gay rights,

Hi, this is the thread about the crises in Iran. Perhaps you can try for a pretext to ride the I-hat-Obama wagon somewhere else?
posted by rodgerd at 5:12 PM on June 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


BBC News: Internet brings events in Iran to life
[A] selection of popular links, many of which have been written from a particular point of view but - when taken together - provide a wide range of perspectives.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:23 PM on June 14, 2009


Grand Ayatollah Sanei in Iran declared Ahmadinejad's presidency illegitimate (http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/06/an-ayatollah-dissents.html)
posted by Mick at 5:31 PM on June 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Andrew Sullivan has a list of English Language iran twitters. Sullivan is definitely on top of this.

Reports are that they're now shooting at protesters and running through the universities arresting people and (apparently) shooting at them.

many Musavi supporters apparently thing that Hezbolah fighters have been brought in to do enforcement.
posted by delmoi at 5:48 PM on June 14, 2009


er, I mean: many Musavi supporters apparently think that Hezbolah fighters have been brought in to do enforcement.
posted by delmoi at 5:50 PM on June 14, 2009


Could someone who can read Farsi please confirm that this Twitter feed from Iran is indeed reporting (as I have seen mentioned in other English-language blogs and tweets) that:
- Iran's riot police have stormed the university in Tehran
- and are using gas on the students
- and several of the police forces are speaking Arabic (rather than Farsi) and are thought to have been brought in from outside the country and
- some of the people storming the university are reported to be Ansar-Hezbollah, not local cops (?!)
posted by Asparagirl at 5:53 PM on June 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ahminadinnajacket.
posted by bwg at 5:56 PM on June 14, 2009


Ah, a link on Andrew Sullivan's blog explains -- Ansar-e Hezbollah is a fundamentalist Islamic group in Iran. It's not the same Hezbollah (which literally means "Party of God/Allah") from Lebanon.
posted by Asparagirl at 5:58 PM on June 14, 2009


Asparagirl: probably a lot of people emailed Sullivan as I just did, chastising him for not even taking 10 seconds to look Ansar-e Hezbollah up on Wikipedia before spreading a completely false rumour. His initial report was "[Ahmedinijad] is importing foreign fighters to do his dirty work", which was 100% wrong and stupid easy to check.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 6:01 PM on June 14, 2009


Bring on the cavalry: DDOS attacks being executed against Iranian government websites. See #ddos #iranelection.
posted by Asparagirl at 6:08 PM on June 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Good to hear, i_am_joe's_spleen. But in fairness to Sullivan, bringing in foreign forces and foreign agents provacateurs to do the incumbent's bidding following a stolen election is exactly what happened in the days following both Ukraine's election in 2004 and Moldova's election earlier this year (in both those cases, it was Russia). So it's not a huge stretch to think that something like that could have happened.
posted by Asparagirl at 6:13 PM on June 14, 2009


No, I'm not cutting him slack. The very first thing I thought when I saw "Ansar-e Hezbolah[sic]" in the original tweet was "who are they?" That is why I was able to send him a correction email. Especially at a time like this, when rumours are flying and we can't trust any source we don't know ourselves, it's wrong for someone with Sullivan's audience to fail in such an elementary way.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 6:26 PM on June 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sullivan is definitely on top of this.

So is Nico Pitney at Huffington Post.
posted by homunculus at 6:44 PM on June 14, 2009


"carte blanche to express your whiny uber-liberal marginalized anti-us views."

Marginalized? How offensive.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 7:01 PM on June 14, 2009


Quick question: 4:00p Iranian time is 7:30a Eastern time right?
posted by tksh at 7:10 PM on June 14, 2009


Hi, this is the thread about the crises in Iran. Perhaps you can try for a pretext to ride the I-hat-Obama wagon somewhere else?

Oh, totally. Check out my history, I'm a veritable Obama-hatr, dood!

I'd love to talk more about this pressing issue, but it's time to hit the back nine.
posted by billysumday at 7:15 PM on June 14, 2009


tksh: link to current local time in Tehran.
posted by billysumday at 7:15 PM on June 14, 2009


It sounds like the government is really cracking down now. I guess we'll find out how much fight the reformers have in them.
posted by delmoi at 7:41 PM on June 14, 2009


Looks like I'm right about the time conversion. Or in other words, the Mousavi march starts right when Monday morning is starting for the Easterners. I hope somehow someone will be able to get a live feed going though I'm not counting on it.
posted by tksh at 7:42 PM on June 14, 2009


you can just google "time tehran" - it's very cool.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:11 PM on June 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


oh wow, this stylized photo (scroll to update 6) is potentially iconic.
posted by lalex at 8:18 PM on June 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I really like this protest photo in particular.
posted by lullaby at 9:12 PM on June 14, 2009


I don't know about anyone else, but I'm feeling somewhat shamed by the Iranian youth and their passion for democracy right now. What's happening in Iran right now makes the BNP getting a few seats through voter aparthy look so much smaller and at the same time so much more pathetic.
posted by Artw at 9:37 PM on June 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


It makes me feel very close to Iranians. Much closer than I ever thought I could feel when all I ever knew about Iran came from Ahmadinejad and speeches involving phrases like "Axis of Evil."

I wish there was something I could do to help them or at least show support.
posted by Ms. Saint at 9:48 PM on June 14, 2009


Anybody want to go to Iran and/or have advice on how to find a cheap ticket?
posted by srs at 10:37 PM on June 14, 2009


> It makes me feel very close to Iranians. Much closer than I ever thought I could feel when all I ever knew about Iran came from Ahmadinejad and speeches involving phrases like "Axis of Evil."

> I wish there was something I could do to help them or at least show support.

Here's how the Iranians did it...

http://www.bestirantravel.com/culture/wtc-vigil.html
posted by darth_tedious at 11:25 PM on June 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


It makes me feel very close to Iranians. Much closer than I ever thought I could feel when all I ever knew about Iran came from Ahmadinejad and speeches involving phrases like "Axis of Evil.. - posted by Ms. Saint

I have been on twitter for the past 24 hours --something I never imagined (not a twitter fan either) It is like deja veus ... during the Gulf War we had IRC; during the Iraq War we had "Salaam Pax".

It is so painful to read the hurried and emotional tweets in real time. It has been a long 2 days. The young tweeters are especially poignant.

smile of crash began his twittering a few months ago (to practice English?). Over the past two days his writing has gotten progressively erratic. I hope he is sleeping now.

wow such a lovely atmosphere,these yells is because of the result of election and we show our defiance like this
about 13 hours ago from web

#IranElection everything is horrible here,police hasn't any men to send here city contoroled by people,all ashcan had fired in the street-
about 10 hours ago from web

#IranElection I have not slept for 40 hours now:(( cause i can't sleep
about 9 hours ago from web

@Nuztorad lock up everydoors we are in bedroom and sit a corner
about 9 hours ago from TwitterFox in reply to Nuztorad

#IranElection i just can says President Obama help us...hete 2:13 am we can't sleep at all even eat something even cry.we are out of tears about 8 hours ago from web

#iranelection i eats some pills and wanna sleep and i scared that if they can find me ...i going...thx for your supports....
about 8 hours ago from web
posted by Surfurrus at 11:28 PM on June 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Anybody want to go to Iran and/or have advice on how to find a cheap ticket?"

At the moment you might want to fly Armavia into Armenia and go across the land barrier. If you're a US/UK national it's normally extremely difficult to get a visa, and I would imagine that it's currently impossible. And it seems a really, really, really bad time to be there and not on a visa as one would imagine that spy/undercover journalist paranoia is even higher than their normal level.

Once it's all calmed down you can just route through London, lots of carriers normally fly there (look around, they sometimes codeshare).
posted by jaduncan at 12:01 AM on June 15, 2009


"There was no screaming, just the sound of boots pacing on the concrete floor."

A Globe and Mail reporter is briefly arrested in Tehran.
posted by kaspen at 12:10 AM on June 15, 2009


Anybody want to go to Iran and/or have advice on how to find a cheap ticket?

If I were a hard line government official I would love to opportunity to have a bonafide foreign agent provocateur, especially an American one.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:11 AM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Looks like it's about to get even more deadly.

Also, the #iranelection twitter hashtag feed is a complete mess. I'm watching this page for live updates directly from Iran.
posted by amuseDetachment at 12:35 AM on June 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


[placeholder]
posted by jokeefe at 12:48 AM on June 15, 2009


I believe that people's powerlessness in this situation is leading them to overreact to minor things over which they feel they have more control, e.g. the President's weekend schedule or how quickly Andrew Sullivan uses Wikipedia. Not to mention the stability at speed of two-wheeled vehicles.

Iran needs an enlightenment first.

That is some patronizing bullshit. The US has just as many ignorant and religious people as Iran does.


Actually, as a key development of the Enlightenment was the secular state, the original comment was spot-on. The one common political basis for Islamist political parties throughout the Muslim world is the Islamic state run on shari'a law. Iran is arguably the most explicitly well-developed Islamist state right now.

These people, aside from urban elites, are anti-west islamic theocrats. They have no love of secularism or anything western.

Now that's some patronizing bullshit right there. "These people"? Surely some of your best friends are Iranian? There is strong suspicion of the West, of secular values, to be sure, but it is foolish to project that as a primary motivating force. Houstonian's alternate theory that Ahmadinejad represented an appeal to economics seems far more plausible if you want to assume that the reported results are genuine.

I don't, damn dirty ape, precisely because of what has happened. Events have shown that whether Mousavi got 50.1% of the vote or 40 or 60, the regime will still have failed a large chunk of the electorate and is going to have to find a way to deal with that problem. I believe it is more likely that the regime was severely shaken by the true electoral results and recognized that their experiment in pressure-valve partial democracy had come to an end.

Now, where you and I and Houstonian can all agree, potentially, is in a Realist interpretation of Iran. As I have said, Iran the state has certain interests that would lead it to take certain actions regardless of election vagaries. Even the US can't lurch from pole to pole when it changes presidents -- we have a bipartisan consensus on major points of foreign policy that applies whomever is in power. Similarly, Iran still has some critical differences with the US particularly and the West generally. Pretending those interests are merely the whims of a madman is insulting and more to the point probably fruitless. So, yes, Iran remains a deeply conservative country with a poor underclass to whom access to iPods is pretty much off the scale. At the same time, the existence of a growing urban elite and even a middle class with access to technology and a hunger for less religious oversight is a problem for Iran that can no longer be ignored.
posted by dhartung at 12:48 AM on June 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


Just want to say, after a rocky start, that billysumday has really come through here. He's like amberglow for Iran.

Whatever happened to him?
posted by JHarris at 12:50 AM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Breaking News from AP: Iran supreme leader orders vote fraud probe

I don't remember the last time when the Leader retracted his word. Are they panicking?
posted by lenny70 at 2:25 AM on June 15, 2009


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(All prices are in US dollars.)
1 Adult: $766.00
Taxes & Fees: $222.09
Ticket total: $988.09
Travel Protection-1 plan $39.95
Total payment due: $1,028.04
posted by srs at 2:41 AM on June 15, 2009


srs, they probably will not let you get further than the airport. Even the press has been removed from Iran. And, you need a visa to enter Iran.
posted by Houstonian at 3:05 AM on June 15, 2009


from Houstonian's link:

"Non-Iranian-national women who marry Iranian citizens gain Iranian nationality upon marriage. If the marriage takes place in Iran, the woman’s American passport will be confiscated by Iranian authorities."

What happened to my Travel Protection Plan?
posted by srs at 3:40 AM on June 15, 2009


The average American can do a hell of a lot more from America than they can by going to Iran.
posted by AdamCSnider at 3:57 AM on June 15, 2009


srs, the laws of a country trump any insurance you can buy from an airline carrier.

You didn't purchase that ticket, did you??
posted by Houstonian at 4:01 AM on June 15, 2009


This makes my head spin: "posts from @TehranBureau: "Please let everyone know in Iran that Mr. Mosavi asked all the supporters whom participating in today's demonstration to carry Imam Khomeini's picture, these will bring security to people and also won't allow opposition group to label Mosavi's supporters as an anti regime."

They've been chanting Death to Khomeini.
They don't want to be labeled anti-regime, while protesting a coup.

I thought the march was scheduled to start in less than 30 minutes, but I can't find anything about what's happening. Has anyone seen video/photos/blogs/tweets about what's happening at the site of the planned march right now?
posted by Houstonian at 4:04 AM on June 15, 2009


srs, you might be interested in this: " Internationally, Green supporters and Iranian expatriates are planning to protest in front of Iranian embassies, information centers, etc. This is scheduled for TUESDAY."

In the States, the Iranian embassy is inside the Embassy of Pakistan:
2209 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007
Tel: (202) 965-4990
Fax: (202) 965-1073
posted by Houstonian at 4:19 AM on June 15, 2009


This makes my head spin: "posts from @TehranBureau: "Please let everyone know in Iran that Mr. Mosavi asked all the supporters whom participating in today's demonstration to carry Imam Khomeini's picture, these will bring security to people and also won't allow opposition group to label Mosavi's supporters as an anti regime."

They've been chanting Death to Khomeini.


No. They've been chanting Death to Khamenei. Khomeini was the Supreme Leader immediately following the revolution. Khamenei is the supreme leader now. Different people with very similar names.
posted by billysumday at 4:24 AM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Houstonian: apparently even Twitter sites are starting to be shut down. Rumors are that Mousavi and Karoubi will attend the rally. Prediction: they leave their house and are immediately arrested. Apparently today has been more calm than yesterday, but it's very hard to tell what's actually going on.
posted by billysumday at 4:26 AM on June 15, 2009


This site is posting frequent updates. Don't know who/where the poster is, though.
posted by billysumday at 4:28 AM on June 15, 2009


Uh oh:
The BBC's Jon Leyne, in Tehran, says he understands plain-clothed militias have been authorised to use live ammunition for the first time.


In all the pictures I've seen so far, it was gas and paintballs and truncheons.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:35 AM on June 15, 2009


Twitter this, twitter that. You'd think PDAs fired live bullets.

Just because you can follow what's going on more closely shouldn't give you any illusions about the truthfulness of what you're reading or the power of information. I'm a little amazed at how this story has become as much about how wonderful the new social networking tools are for revolutionaries as about the uprising itself.

Take it to the tweets!
Whose tweets?
Our tweets!

Social networking will not save the world.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:49 AM on June 15, 2009


fourcheesemac: I agree with you completely, but in the absence of any other media, sporadic "tweets" seem to be the only news outlet right now. The various twitterers I'm following have been consistently updating the past few days, and have been accurate in their assessments (i.e., corroborated by more reputable sources later). If you've been following the latest news out of Tehran, then you'd have noticed that nearly all foreign journalists have been arrested, detained, expelled, or are in hiding. Many have been beaten. So now our two options for news have become: 1) state media or 2) random twitterers posting updates from their bedrooms. I'll continue to be skeptical of the veracity of the "tweets" but until the dust settles, they seem to be the most valuable resource for what is happening now on the streets of Tehran.

Ultimately, there is no way of knowing which side is even in the wrong or the right here. Was this a coup orchestrated by the military, and these revolutionaries are fighting for the freedom of all Iranians? Or was Ahmadi-Nejad elected fairly, and these protesters are being used as pawns by Mousavi, Rafsjani, and the other old-guard, corrupt, wealthy power brokers who have seen their influence wane in the last ten years? It's hard to tell. But that doesn't mean I'm going to just sit back and wait for the next written dispatch from some reporter in London. Social networking sites are powerful, not so much for the immediacy of the posts but for the sharing of multi-media like photographs and video.
posted by billysumday at 5:01 AM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


As a confirmed twitter hater until yesterday, I have to disagree. Remarkable as it is for us on the outside to watch the real time chatter, it has also provided the kids on the ground the ability to communicate when everything else is being blocked. Rebellions need bodies and you can't gather a mass of people without communications.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:06 AM on June 15, 2009


Disagree w fourcheesemac, I meant.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:08 AM on June 15, 2009


And, yes, CL makes a great point. As nice as it for me to sit here on my computer in sunny America and stay updated on what is happening in Tehran, it is even more important for those walking the streets to stay in communication. Especially after the govt has cut off SMS and most reform candidates' websites.
posted by billysumday at 5:10 AM on June 15, 2009


Yes, when Twitter was about "Cornflakes for breakfast! Yum! #Breakfast", I could not understand why anyone was interested.


But, if mainstream media cannot report anything current, and tweets like "Machine guns at march, and Ayatollah Sane'i coming to Tehran. Khomeyni's grandchild supports the protests. The march has begun.#IranElection" are out, then I'm suddenly interested.
posted by Houstonian at 5:10 AM on June 15, 2009


Thought this was a very interesting article. Here's part:
"But what is often lost in the outrage is whether Iran would look different under a Moussavi presidency.

Though the 67-year old is credited for successfully navigating the Iranian economy as prime minister during a bloody eight-year war with Iraq in the 1980s, he also was a hard-liner whom the Economist described as a "firm radical."

He, like most Iranians in power, does not believe in the existence of Israel. He defended the taking of hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Iran in 1979, which led to the break in ties between the countries.

He was part of a regime that regularly executed dissidents and backed the fatwa against British author Salman Rushdie.

And as late as April, he opposed suspending the country's nuclear-enrichment program but said it would not be diverted to weapons use.

"I wouldn't go as far as (call it) a 'Velvet Revolution,'" Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, said of the phrase many are using to describe the rallies in Iran."

posted by Houstonian at 5:13 AM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


>: As a confirmed twitter hater until yesterday

I have to agree. I always hated Twitter because of all the people saying stuff like 'At the bus stop, coming home soon TONY I LOVE YOU' and various attentionwhoreish stuff, but when it comes to getting news out quickly in situations like this- damn.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:14 AM on June 15, 2009


I'm really surprised that Iran's interior ministry hasn't cut the internet fiber cables to the outside world.
posted by amuseDetachment at 5:16 AM on June 15, 2009


Indeed, the stark difference between the utter vapid banality of something like "Yum Cornflakes" and something like this is breathtaking.

I also really want to thank amuseDetachment upthread for showing me how to use tweetgrid to slow the firehose.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:20 AM on June 15, 2009


Photos of the student dorm rooms.
posted by Houstonian at 5:20 AM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you have some time today, print out this old New Yorker article (about 2 months ago) about Ahmadi-Nejad and the upcoming election. Good stuff.
posted by billysumday at 5:29 AM on June 15, 2009


Petition to the UN.
posted by Houstonian at 5:44 AM on June 15, 2009


I find it to be such bullshit that the Huffington Post liveblog is more informative, accurate, and timely than all of CNN. It feels as though CNN is completely ignorant (and spending most of their airtime on random BS fluff pieces), minus Christiane Amanpour. It feels as though we can cut all the fat from old media, fire them all, and retain the single lone foreign correspondent that actually does reporting. They're not even bringing on "analysts" to discuss the implications, just garbage like insurance companies marketing to the homosexual community and Amanpour sprinkled in every hour or so.
posted by amuseDetachment at 5:45 AM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm really surprised that Iran's interior ministry hasn't cut the internet fiber cables to the outside world.

If they did that then they wouldn't have the twitter feeds that they will later blame for the violence and evil outside influences.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:49 AM on June 15, 2009


Pollomacho: if that were the case, they wouldn't have already blocked direct access to twitter. Of course, people use proxies to get around that.

The only way to keep out information and ad-hoc organization is to shut down the network entirely, otherwise people will route around the damaged/disconnected parts.

Perhaps the leadership is unfamiliar with the fact that a lot of the organizing is done bottom-up, peer-to-peer — 4chan isn't the only ones that can form leaderless protests.

Of course, the Iranian leadership isn't the only example of stupid. Many Iranians on twitter are encouraging to DDoS flood Iranian government sites to bring them down. This would obviously slow things down for themselves, but they seem to be encouraging it anyway.
posted by amuseDetachment at 5:57 AM on June 15, 2009


I'm really surprised that Iran's interior ministry hasn't cut the internet fiber cables to the outside world.

I'm seeing tweets like this: "PLS RT WORKing Iran proxies 218.128.112.18:8080 218.206.94.132:808 218.253.65.99:808 219.50.16.70:8080"

And this: "BBCtv (alternative satellite): telestar 12 - 15degrees to the west. horizontal orientation 12.608 GHz"

So, I think their government is indeed trying to stop all communication outlets, but the people are finding and using work-arounds as fast as they can.
posted by Houstonian at 6:03 AM on June 15, 2009


Yes, Pollomacho, I can imagine it now. In Ahmadi-Nejad's next speech, he will simply replace any mention of "Zionists" with "Tweeters," directing most of his ire against @afsarwaddup for his post, "loud rally outsde going nw back lter #iranelection."
posted by billysumday at 6:06 AM on June 15, 2009


I know you were joking, but this is a guy that tried to block Facebook two weeks ago and then claimed he didn't.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:20 AM on June 15, 2009


I'm just saying, they have enough bogeymen to beat up, they don't need to add Twitterers to the list. My guess is that those in the Interior Ministry haven't completely dismantled internet service because they need to use it for themselves.
posted by billysumday at 6:27 AM on June 15, 2009


Yeah, bogeymen like Hoder, who they are currently, quite literally, beating up for teaching Iranians to blog, so why would twitterers be exempt.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:29 AM on June 15, 2009


You suggested that the Interior Ministry hasn't dismantled internet services because they are deliberately hoping that a few Twitterers will post a few incendiary comments which the IM can then later use to delegitimize the protests. I think that's ridiculous, paranoid, and overly conspiratorial. Especially considering all evidence points to the fact that they are, actually, trying to sabotage the sites.
posted by billysumday at 6:34 AM on June 15, 2009


It feels as though CNN is completely ignorant

I'm seeing this a lot and just want to remind everyone that sure, CNN sucked on Sunday in terms of live cable coverage, but when it mattered, when it counted, it was Amanpour standing there pressing Ahmadinejad twice to his face about whether he would guarantee Mousavi's safety. Andrew Sullivan and the Huffington Post blogger have been doing a bangup job of aggregating, but it's not reporting.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:37 AM on June 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


Also, check out these photos. Basij raided Tehran University and deliberately smashed student computers. So if I follow you, your point is that they are beating up bloggers, trying to track them down, and they are destroying computers on college campuses, but at the same time they are also allowing a few random Twitterers to post at will for the purposes of propaganda at some point in the future?
posted by billysumday at 6:40 AM on June 15, 2009


You suggested that the Interior Ministry hasn't dismantled internet services because they are deliberately hoping that a few Twitterers will post a few incendiary comments which the IM can then later use to delegitimize the protests.

No, actually, I suggested that they are going to blame violence on outside influences coming through internet. I hardly think that is paranoid and conspiratorial when they've already done so in the past. Do you think that they will not?
posted by Pollomacho at 6:48 AM on June 15, 2009


Live video of protests (Farsi).
posted by billysumday at 6:48 AM on June 15, 2009


Live video feed of the protest?
posted by Houstonian at 6:50 AM on June 15, 2009


It's pretty clear that they've blocked most internet access. And furthermore, you've got spammers posting to #IranElection now. How hard would it be for the regime to post disinformation through that system? The answer is not hard.
posted by delmoi at 6:50 AM on June 15, 2009


Sorry, pollomacho, I must have read it incorrectly. This is what you posted:

I'm really surprised that Iran's interior ministry hasn't cut the internet fiber cables to the outside world.
posted by amuseDetachment at 5:16 AM on June 15 [+] [!]

If they did that then they wouldn't have the twitter feeds that they will later blame for the violence and evil outside influences.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:49 AM on June 15 [+] [!]


What exactly did you mean if you weren't implying that the IM is deliberately leaving the internet operable for reasons of propaganda?
posted by billysumday at 6:51 AM on June 15, 2009


Exactly, delmoi.
posted by billysumday at 6:51 AM on June 15, 2009


My god. That rally is huge.
posted by billysumday at 6:56 AM on June 15, 2009


How hard would it be for the regime to post disinformation through that system?

Isn't that a bit conspiratorial? (kidding)

What exactly did you mean if you weren't implying that the IM is deliberately leaving the internet operable for reasons of propaganda?

Well, I meant twittering specifically with a hint of sarcasm that didn't quite make it over the air waves apparently, but I do stand by the contention and prediction that the regime, once firmly back in place, will blame the uprising on outside influence using evil social networking to rally youth against the powers that be. They will not admit that this was a popular uprising.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:12 AM on June 15, 2009


CNN is reporting that Moussavi is at the rally today.
posted by NoMich at 7:31 AM on June 15, 2009


Purported aerial shot of the protest. It does look like the footage they are showing on BBC Persia.
posted by Houstonian at 7:41 AM on June 15, 2009


Holy crap. That BBC feed (thanks for the link) just showed the crowd - that was HUGE
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:50 AM on June 15, 2009


Yeah, no kidding. I can see why they estimate maybe 1 million people.
posted by Houstonian at 7:55 AM on June 15, 2009


Here is pic
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:57 AM on June 15, 2009


Here's a link, if you want to see it again (tape of what they showed, not live feed).
posted by Houstonian at 7:58 AM on June 15, 2009


And, think about it. All those hundreds of thousands of people are breaking the law. Imagine if they hadn't been threatened. You'd probably see an even larger crowd.
posted by billysumday at 7:58 AM on June 15, 2009


They're taking phone calls from Iranians at the rally on the BBC video link, I believe? I can hear chanting in the background but sadly don't understand anything else.
posted by jokeefe at 7:59 AM on June 15, 2009


jadi: @BabakMehrabani is saying that he was beaten by a baton and his right hand is numb. He is twitting with the left hand. #IranElection

and

Seemingly sanctions against Iran doesn't include anti riot equipmnet... #iranelection

and

heyg1: i didn't want to go to the march but i got trapped between people and i can't go home

I'll say this for Twitter -- the revolution will be televised pithy!
posted by Asparagirl at 8:02 AM on June 15, 2009


"outside influence using evil social networking to rally youth against the powers that be."

That's pretty much how the National Endowment for Democracy works.
posted by shetterly at 8:04 AM on June 15, 2009


If a week ago, somebody told me that my main news sources for today would be Twitter and BBC Persia, I would not have believed it.
posted by Houstonian at 8:08 AM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


For a little about the NED in Iran: Catalyst for Iranian Resistance.
posted by shetterly at 8:09 AM on June 15, 2009


The only criticism I have of BBC Persia is that they are neglecting to cover the latest updates in the Foxy Knoxy trial.
posted by billysumday at 8:10 AM on June 15, 2009


The video shows some women uncovering their hair. Not sure how significant that is.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:11 AM on June 15, 2009


Mousavi in the crowds.
posted by Houstonian at 8:13 AM on June 15, 2009


According to one of the tweets, they are chanting, "No fear, No fear, we are with each other".
posted by Houstonian at 8:15 AM on June 15, 2009


8 minutes of street-level video
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:16 AM on June 15, 2009


(the 8 minute video clip was posted 4 days ago)
posted by Houstonian at 8:18 AM on June 15, 2009


Holy...

Are y'all watching the BBC Persia feed? Might be the biggest crowd I've ever seen. Hard to tell definitively, but from that angle, ginormous.
posted by billysumday at 8:20 AM on June 15, 2009


Crud. Sorry 'bout that. I wondered as soon as I posted it. I should chill.

BBC just showed the crowd again. Stunning.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:21 AM on June 15, 2009


I just want to thank everybody for their participation in this thread so far. It's been very informative.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:21 AM on June 15, 2009


I know!

Has there been any official statement made by the Supreme Leader? The crowd is too big for them to stop, too big really for them to deny.
posted by Houstonian at 8:22 AM on June 15, 2009


It's almost 8PM in Tehran. Wonder how long they can go?
posted by Houstonian at 8:26 AM on June 15, 2009


On mainstream media: like the others above, I don't think of what Twitter, HuffingtonPost and Andrew Sullivan provides right now is journalism and a replacement for traditional, mainstream media. But in the absence of information and reporting, these alternative sources provide invaluable sources of information while we wait for more reputable reports.

It's so frustrating to know that something historical is happening in Iran (a huge player in middle eastern politics) and having little or no information about it.
posted by tksh at 8:31 AM on June 15, 2009


The NYT Lede blog is doing a great job of staying on top of things and disseminating information as it comes in. I think all the "MSM sux, Twitter rulz!" stuff is silly. It's not a choice of one or the other. Rather, the Times is providing a great example of what a major newspaper website should look like now, how it should use all the new social technologies.
posted by neroli at 8:39 AM on June 15, 2009


NYT: Real-Time Criticism of CNN’s Iran Coverage
It was a departure for CNN, known for its breaking news coverage, including its celebrated reporting during the Tiananmen Square crackdown 20 years ago. [...] Steve LaBate, an Atlanta resident, said on Twitter, “Why aren’t you covering this with everything you’ve got?” About the same time, CNN was showing a repeat of Larry King’s interview of the stars of the “American Chopper” show.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:42 AM on June 15, 2009


.
posted by chunking express at 8:43 AM on June 15, 2009


And oh, I want to emphasis what dhartung said above:

Events have shown that whether Mousavi got 50.1% of the vote or 40 or 60, the regime will still have failed a large chunk of the electorate and is going to have to find a way to deal with that problem. I believe it is more likely that the regime was severely shaken by the true electoral results and recognized that their experiment in pressure-valve partial democracy had come to an end.

It could very well be that Ahmadi-nejad did win the election or that Mousavi is just as hard line as he was during his last presidency. But that there was such an large turnout (assuming that number is at least credible), that so many people are unconvinced of the legality of the results and have chosen active civil disobedience to express their disbelief is strong indication that democracy is valued in Iran and have become part of the culture.
posted by tksh at 8:44 AM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:45 AM on June 15, 2009


CNN was not, as others have noted, the worst offender yesterday. Though it's true they didn't live up to their reputation, they were much better than MSNBC, which showed no live coverage of anything yesterday. I'm pretty sure it was all old reruns of prison documentaries. What we need (or what I need) is a cable provider to add CNNinternational, BBC World, or Al-Jazeera English. Those actually cover world events as though they are significant. What we have in the US (CNN, MSNBC, FoxNews) are not news networks but "infotainment" channels. I agree that NYT has done a good job.
posted by billysumday at 8:45 AM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pres. Bush Sr.: It sounded funny when the opponent claimed victory by 60 some percent then the next thing you know he's on his back, counted out. There is something weird about it, something strange about it.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:45 AM on June 15, 2009


This has been posted, "BBC World English will speak live with Tehran reporter at approximately 16:25 GMT".

That's in about 10 minutes.
posted by Houstonian at 9:16 AM on June 15, 2009


538 takes another look at the numbers, says some are fishy
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:18 AM on June 15, 2009


Houstonian: link to streaming BBC World English?
posted by billysumday at 9:21 AM on June 15, 2009


Very sensible advice from Marc Ambinder: Follow The Developments In Iran Like A CIA Analyst
posted by neroli at 9:25 AM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


The AP is reporting a photog witnessed a crowd being fired on, and at least one protester killed.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:26 AM on June 15, 2009


More reports of gunfire. Persiankiwi and "Breaking News."
posted by billysumday at 9:34 AM on June 15, 2009


BBC world reports gunfire
posted by adamvasco at 9:35 AM on June 15, 2009


The Big Picture has big pictures up of many of the photos that have already been linked elsewhere in the thread.
posted by gerryblog at 9:40 AM on June 15, 2009


More cell-phone videos from today here.
posted by Houstonian at 9:56 AM on June 15, 2009


If you narrow the Twitter to just people in Tehran (like this, it is within 300 miles of Tehran) there have been multiple reports of gunshots, in Tehran and other locations I think.
posted by Houstonian at 9:59 AM on June 15, 2009


Totally unconfirmed single tweet says four shot and the crowd turned on the militia gunmen and killed them.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:05 AM on June 15, 2009


Report relayed by Andrew Sullivan that the entire faculty of the University if Tehran has resigned.
posted by jokeefe at 10:13 AM on June 15, 2009


Andrew Sullivan (and others in this thread) have noted that neo-cons seem to want Ahmedinejad to win, or have won, and don't seem particularly upset at the possibility of fraud. I'd like people's thoughts about why this might be true. Do they want to maintain an "Axis of Evil" caricature of Iran so that they can justify their hard-line policy?

I'd appreciate thoughts on this. I'm trying to consider what Obama's response is going to be, and anticipating critiques from the right.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 10:37 AM on June 15, 2009


From Robert Fisk: Iran erupts as voters back 'the Democrator': "You know why so many poorer women voted for Ahmadinejad? There are three million of them who make carpets in their homes. They had no insurance. When Ahmadinejad realised this, he immediately brought in a law to give them full insurance. Ahmadinejad's supporters were very shrewd. They got the people out in huge numbers to vote – and then presented this into their vote for Ahmadinejad."

From The New York Times and the Iranian election: "On what mass base could Mousavi depend for a successful bid to unseat Ahmadinejad? The candidate of the Iranian liberal establishment, he campaigned as no less an ardent defender of Islamist clerical rule than Ahmadinejad. On domestic policy, he vaguely called for more openness, while opposing Ahmadinejad’s “populist” subsidies to the urban poor and the peasantry."
posted by shetterly at 10:42 AM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oops, that's The New York Times and the Iranian election.
posted by shetterly at 10:44 AM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


It is being assumed that the shootings are being carried out by the Baseej a paramilitary force that takes orders from the Revolutionary guards.
"being the most ideological and loyal members of Iran’s military structure, their growth will strengthen Ayatollah Khamenei and Ahmadinejad’s defenses against the much feared “velvet revolution” against the regime."
Some of the Armed forces are angry with the reformists. General Masoud Jazayeri, affiliated with Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, has said the Armed Forces would respond after the election is over
posted by adamvasco at 10:46 AM on June 15, 2009


I've always suspected that the neo-cons' sole concern with the Middle East is to control oil. A head of Iran who wants to nuke Israel provides a good pretense for meddling in oil-rich country and makes it likely that Israel would help us meddle. But I don't know very much about politics, so I will defer to the next person who answers.
posted by creasy boy at 10:47 AM on June 15, 2009


Andrew Sullivan (and others in this thread) have noted that neo-cons seem to want Ahmedinejad to win, or have won, and don't seem particularly upset at the possibility of fraud.
I'm not sure that they want Ahmedinejad to have won. I think that they believe that he won, because that confirms their opinions about how things work in Iran. Ordinary people in Iran are wacky, brainwashed Muslims who hate freedom and happiness and the West, and nobody is going to convince them differently. On the other side, I think that a lot of American liberals really want to believe that ordinary Iranians are basically just like us, and there might be some confirmation bias there, too.

It's been pretty amazing to watch the whole thing unfold on twitter, but I haven't the foggiest notion what any of it means.
posted by craichead at 10:48 AM on June 15, 2009


At least CNN is now putting the word "landslide" in quotation marks.
posted by Dr. Zira at 10:54 AM on June 15, 2009


shetterly, in response to your question: "On what mass base could Mousavi depend for a successful bid to unseat Ahmadinejad?" - remember that 8 years ago, over 70% of the country voted for Khatami, a reformist. Then the clerics cracked down and, 4 years later, Ahmadi-Nejad won because so few people chose to vote. That's why experts predicted that a huge turnout would favor Mousavi. Not saying that the election was definitely fraudulent, but that's the angle that many are arguing as evidence of election theft.

Also, more broadly, regardless of the vote tally, the election and election results were performed hapharzadly, rushed, and without any semblance of transparency or trust. I believe that this is what most people are angry about - they feel as though their votes have not been counted. That, indeed, nobody's votes were counted.
posted by billysumday at 10:56 AM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


foxy_hedgehog, first pointing out that I wish everyone lived in a socialist hellhole like Norway, I suspect the US's capitalist right wants Ahmadinejad to have won fairly (by Iran's rules, anyway) to justify war with Iran, and the capitalist left wants Ahmadinejad to have cheated to justify war with Iran. (I hope I'm wrong on both counts.)
posted by shetterly at 10:56 AM on June 15, 2009


It's also bullshit, I should add, to peg the suspicion of election fraud on the New York Times when a million Iranians took to the streets to protest that. Did they all read the latest edition of the NYT before they decided their votes didn't count? Very odd article you posted.
posted by billysumday at 10:58 AM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


shetterly, your insinuation that those of us posting here wish that our country will commence a war with Iran is unfounded and idiotic and you can kindly go fuck yourself.
posted by billysumday at 11:00 AM on June 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


Creasy and craichead, I've wondered the same. It's not as if I ever gave much credence to neocon claims of being passionate about promoting democracy after that became the justification for the Iraq War when WMDs failed to materialize, but their response to the Iranian election highlights what a disingenuous, self-righteous rhetorical masquerade it really was.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 11:01 AM on June 15, 2009


billysumday, there are two issues here. One solution: Did Ahmadinejad Win Fair & Square – and Cheat, Too?
posted by shetterly at 11:02 AM on June 15, 2009


and the capitalist left wants Ahmadinejad to have cheated to justify war with Iran.

Sorry, not seeing the logic there.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 11:03 AM on June 15, 2009


billysumday, I'm a pacifist who opposes Iran's government. When I mentioned the capitalist left, I meant the people who benefit from the military-industrial complex, the decision-makers, not people like you or me.
posted by shetterly at 11:05 AM on June 15, 2009


What's there not to get, foxy_hedgehog? We're American so therefore we want to go to war with Iran (when we're not raping the workers of the world).
posted by billysumday at 11:05 AM on June 15, 2009


I think you're reading a bit too much in to shetterly's comment.
posted by chunking express at 11:07 AM on June 15, 2009


shetterly, if you oppose Iran's government, do you oppose too the capitalists who revolt? I mean, Ahmadi-Nejad is about as close to a true Marxist as you can get. In fact, if you read the New Yorker article I posted above, he is a veritable Marxist scholar and has succeeded politically in marrying many of the tenets of Islam with Marxism. It's okay to admit that you'd prefer the Democrator to capitali$t pig$.
posted by billysumday at 11:08 AM on June 15, 2009


foxy_hedgehog, there are liberals who love war as much as conservatives do. Look at the voting to fund the war in Iraq. Liberal hawks appeal to different motives, though. If they can argue that a liberal reformer was cheated of victory, it's easier for them to consider going to war with Iran. But, as I said, I hope I'm wrong.
posted by shetterly at 11:09 AM on June 15, 2009


Also, the idea that any of what is happening in Iran is going to justify a war there is pretty ridiculous. Does Obama look like he wants to start another war? Do Americans look like they are going to back a war in Iran? Neocons couldn't get a war going when Bush was in power, they certainly aren't going to get one going now.
posted by chunking express at 11:12 AM on June 15, 2009


billysumday, you really should read some Marx. No, Ahmadinejad is not close to being a true Marxist. Look, for example, at Marx and Engels on women's rights and compare that with the Iranian state. Look at religion. Heck, look at Marx on democracy: “Democracy is the road to socialism.” That doesn't mean sham elections in which religious councils decide who can run.
posted by shetterly at 11:14 AM on June 15, 2009


I don't know if you noticed or not, but the war hawks in the US are already a bit busy dealing with two nasty wars (if your liberal, one big nasty one if you're conservative). War with Iran would be rather suicidal even for morons like Dick Cheney, and even morons like Dick Cheney appear aware of that.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:15 AM on June 15, 2009


I've been following this since the beginning, and one of the things that had been brought up online (as it always does when you talk about Middle Eastern politics) is how continued turmoil will affect the global economy once oil prices start being affected. I imagine that if it gets to that point the international community, which has been taking a hands-off approach so far, will start to meddle. But that may be getting ahead of ourselves here.
posted by Weebot at 11:15 AM on June 15, 2009


Odd that I can't even parse words in the same sentence.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:15 AM on June 15, 2009


Now the most important moment, the moment that will determine the fate of the country, the Shah, and the revolution, is the moment when one policeman walks from his post toward one man on the edge of the crowd, raises his voice, and orders the man to go home. The policeman and the man on the edge of the crowd are ordinary, anonymous people, but their meeting has historic significance.

They are both adults, they have both lived through certain events, they have both their individual experiences.

The policeman’s experience: If I shout at someone and raise my truncheon, he will first go numb with terror and then take to his heels. The experience of the man at the edge of the crowd: At the sight of an approaching policeman I am seized by fear and start running. On the basis of these experiences we can elaborate a scenario: The policeman shouts, the man runs, others take flight, the square empties.

But this time everything turns out differently. The policeman shouts, but the man doesn’t run. He just stands there, looking at the policeman. It’s a cautious look, still tinged with fear, but at the same time tough and insolent. So that’s the way it is! The man on the edge of the crowd is looking insolently at uniformed authority. He doesn’t budge. He glances around and sees and sees the same look on other faces. Like his, their faces are watchful, still a bit fearful, but already firm and unrelenting. Nobody runs though the policeman has gone on shouting; at last he stops. There is a moment of silence.

We don’t know whether the policeman and the man on the edge of the crowd already realize what has happened. The man has stopped being afraid – and this is precisely the beginning of the revolution. Here it starts. Until now, whenever these two men approached each other, a third figure instantly intervened between them. That third figure was fear. Fear was the policeman’s ally and the man in the crowd’s foe. Fear interposed its rules and decided everything.

Now the two men find themselves alone, facing each other, and fear has disappeared into thin air. Until now their relationship was charged with emotion, a mixture of aggression, scorn, rage, terror. But now that fear has retreated, this perverse, hateful union has suddnely broken up; something has been extinguished. The two men have now grown mutually indifferent, useless to each other; they can now go their own ways.
Accordingly, the policeman turns around and begins to walk heavily back toward his post, while the man on the edge of the crowd stands there looking at his vanishing enemy.


Ryszard Kapuscinski -- Shah of Shahs
posted by empath at 11:16 AM on June 15, 2009 [9 favorites]


chunking express, Obama is moving the military out of Iraq and into Afghanistan and Pakistan. What the plans are for Iran, I don't know, but I see no signs that Obama wants to remove the US's military presence from that region.
posted by shetterly at 11:17 AM on June 15, 2009


The shooting came from a compound for volunteer militia linked to Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard.
posted by adamvasco at 11:18 AM on June 15, 2009


Ordinary people in Iran are wacky, brainwashed Muslims who hate freedom and happiness and the West, and nobody is going to convince them differently.

They need to believe that to morally justify murdering them when they bomb Iran.
posted by empath at 11:18 AM on June 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


What the plans are for Iran, I don't know, but I see no signs that Obama wants to remove the US's military presence from that region.

So what? Not removing troops from the region does not equal war with Iran. Iran has more people than Iraq and Afghanistan combined. They have a uniformed military that is sophisticated enough to develop their own weapons systems. Additionally they have approximately a million "revolutionary guard" members, most of whom are armed, all of whom are fanatically pro-government, all of whom are anti-American. This is not someone we can defeat without a long, protracted, decades-long war on their ancestral soil. One more thing to throw in is that Iranian nationalism is based on the belief (correct or not) that the Iranians have never been defeated by outside powers.

These are not people that sane, rational people consider tangling with, particularly when involved in two, protracted, precarious fronts. Even the most hardened hawk would find it rather difficult to plan for a war with Iran.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:25 AM on June 15, 2009


Michael Scherer suggests Obama will make comment on Iran during press Q&A with Berlusconi.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:25 AM on June 15, 2009


Gruesome vic photo. (be warned)
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:33 AM on June 15, 2009


Pollomacho, I don't think we're about to go to war with Iran any time soon--the sane billionaires are keeping the insane billionaires in check so far.
posted by shetterly at 11:34 AM on June 15, 2009


Guardian: Analysis: Iran election statistics muddy waters further
Amid a swirl of rumour, two alternative sets of statistics purporting to represent the reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi as the "true" winner of Iran's disputed presidential election have been circulating in Tehran.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:39 AM on June 15, 2009


Regardless of how the election would have turned out, (and now that it has become what it is), regardless of how the protesters are handled, how would that motivate or support an American war on Iran?

I don't know why some conservative pundits are happier for an apparent Ahmadinejad win but to be because of prospects for war? What?
posted by tksh at 11:42 AM on June 15, 2009


Totally superficial question: Why does it say "Police" on the riot cop's shields?
posted by gofargogo at 11:48 AM on June 15, 2009


Looks like this is getting ready to enter a new stage:

2:45 pm: Basij base attacked
“Reliable news from Iran has arrived that after the death of one person by Basij, the Basij base in Azadi Sq. has been burned down and the commander in that base has been killed.” [The fire is being confirmed by an eye-witness.]


At some point the army will have to pick a side. They have thus far expressed that they will stay neutral.
posted by billysumday at 12:00 PM on June 15, 2009


If that story is true it's pretty amazing. Hopefully the army does sit things out.

And it's about time the Basij got their asses kicked hard.
posted by chunking express at 12:06 PM on June 15, 2009


At some point the army will have to pick a side.

Last time they picked the wrong side and it ended up turning the tide against them.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:09 PM on June 15, 2009


30 page report describing Khamenei (click 'full text'). Good read.
posted by billysumday at 12:21 PM on June 15, 2009


Thanks for that quote, Empath.

This thread is invaluable, my further thanks to everyone updating it.
posted by duende at 12:27 PM on June 15, 2009


If you haven't been following persiankiwi on twitter, you should be. Has been providing excellent and accurate reports. Here is a recent tweet:

were attacked in streets by mob on motorbikes with batons - firing guns into air - streetfires all over town - roads closed; #Iranelection

And BBC Persia continues to provide up-to-date coverage (unfortunately for me, it's in Farsi).
posted by billysumday at 12:38 PM on June 15, 2009


The Boston Globe has some incredible photos I hadn't seen yet. Holy shit.

And seconding persiankiwi on twitter. Watching this unfold is unbelievable.
posted by kaspen at 12:41 PM on June 15, 2009


Great videos posted to The Lede.
posted by billysumday at 12:47 PM on June 15, 2009


Great photos, Kaspen. Hadn't seen those anywhere.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 1:05 PM on June 15, 2009


Looks like there's going to be a general strike tomorrow!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:09 PM on June 15, 2009


Great discussion here and great links as always.

Twitter apologies: I have RT some of your comments here (as questions) -- but 140 char.=no space for crediting your authorship. (dktr_sus)

(I will stop that now)
posted by Surfurrus at 1:11 PM on June 15, 2009


Fantastic video report from channel 4, including footage of the battle against the baseej and in general a good recap of the day.
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:36 PM on June 15, 2009


Enjoyable quote on Twitter: What Ahmadinejad needs right now is Katherine Harris, some hanging chads and Chief Justice Rehnquist. Oh yeah, and a totally docile public.
posted by chunking express at 1:41 PM on June 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hysteria that twitter going offline for 45 mins tonight
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:54 PM on June 15, 2009


Totally superficial question: Why does it say "Police" on the riot cop's shields?

I am interested in why this is the only apparent inscription as opposed to one in Persian with Arabic letters. But the word itself seems widely used -- here are some Iranian police cars with only the word POLICE written on them (at least legibly from a distance), and apparently the official website for the Islamic Republic of Iran Police News Center is at www.police.ir. On the other hand, this website (either heavily trafficked right now or hampered by intentional bandwidth choking) does not have an English translation available.

In general, though, urban Iranians are probably broadly familiar with English. A number of protest signs have been in English.
posted by dhartung at 1:57 PM on June 15, 2009


"Hysteria that twitter going offline for 45 mins tonight"

Hysteria? Judging from what I see from Iranian users, Twitter has just become critical infrastructure for the opposition. I'd be gutted if I were them too. I think "hysteria" is an unfortunate choice of word.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:01 PM on June 15, 2009


Also, it's not 45 minutes, but 90. The state has its own comms infrastructure, the opposition is cobbling together what it can from things that aren't blocked, jammed or switched off. I imagine a lot can happen in an hour and a half.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:03 PM on June 15, 2009


Good post here: Iran vote and protests. I particularly liked this, about Mousavi: "Why should he have suddenly become so dangerous that the Iranian state, or powerful sectors within it, would risk a stupid fix? The answer could only be that by tapping a popular demands for reforms, the candidacy might have unleashed a movement that seriously frightened some factions in the ruling class."
posted by shetterly at 2:04 PM on June 15, 2009


I wonder if Ahmedinijad would ever resort to wagging the dog
in order to distract Iranians from this debacle?

I would almost bet that he would trump up something with Israel and/or the US. . .nothing too crazy but just enough so that he gets the public back into the "Death to America" mode.
posted by Danf at 2:04 PM on June 15, 2009


"First of all, if I were on the [USA] NSC, my first piece of advice would be to do as little as possible. There is a battle going on inside Iran. This is an issue that is going to be fought out by Iranians — there's nothing to be gained by external forces coming into this or trying to influence the outcome.

That would be a terrible mistake, and no matter what was said or done by the administration, it would be interpreted as intervention and would actually undercut severely the position of the reformists as they would be tagged as "tools of the West." So basically "do nothing for now" is not a bad piece of advice."
Gary Sick, Iran advisor in three U.S. administrations
posted by netbros at 2:04 PM on June 15, 2009


I see your point, but I'm going to stick with hysteria.
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:18 PM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thank God, by the way, that Bush, Cheney, and Rice aren't calling the shots on Pennsylvania avenue right now. There's no telling how many ways they would have found to screw this up.
posted by EarBucket at 2:25 PM on June 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


I see your point, but I'm going to stick with hysteria. - CunningLinguist

And your point is...?

There has been "hysteria" in the Twitter #iranelection for the past two days, conspiracies abound, emotions are running high. This is a good exercise for newbies in separating the wheat from the chaff.
posted by Surfurrus at 2:46 PM on June 15, 2009


Totally superficial question: Why does it say "Police" on the riot cop's shields?

I'm not sure the precise reason, but I have noticed that "police" and "taxi" are used pretty much the world over, in every country and all languages. Policia, polizia, police, etc. and taxi, taksi, etc.
posted by billysumday at 3:42 PM on June 15, 2009


"We do believe that the Iranian people, and their voices, should be heard and respected."President Obama, commenting to reporters about the Iranian election
posted by netbros at 4:20 PM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Thank God, by the way, that Bush, Cheney, and Rice aren't calling the shots on Pennsylvania avenue right now. There's no telling how many ways they would have found to screw this up."

If Cheney was really looking for a pretext to start a war with Iran, this would've been more than enough reason to get the tanks rolling.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:23 PM on June 15, 2009


They postponed the maintenance.
posted by empath at 4:24 PM on June 15, 2009


Seeing a conspiracy in an unfortunately timed Twitter update certainly does qualify as paranoid lunacy, given that the thing breaks down every other day.

On the plus side: Twitterific is working again!
posted by Artw at 4:25 PM on June 15, 2009


"Thank God, by the way, that Bush, Cheney, and Rice aren't calling the shots on Pennsylvania avenue right now. There's no telling how many ways they would have found to screw this up."

If Cheney was really looking for a pretext to start a war with Iran, this would've been more than enough reason to get the tanks rolling.


Going back to my previous question: how does this jive with the seeming apathy over the potential fraud among neocons?
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 4:33 PM on June 15, 2009


Downtime rescheduled.

Wow, NTT America rescheduled the downtime to mid afternoon Pacific Time (middle of the night in Iran).
posted by ryanrs at 4:38 PM on June 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Going back to my previous question: how does this jive with the seeming apathy over the potential fraud among neocons?

Eh, it's more complicated than that. On the one hand, you had some neocons poo-pooing the election results. Some claimed that it doesn't matter who is elected President - the mullahs control everything so the election is a sham anyway (which is sort of true). Others didn't want to see "The Obama Effect" get another win after the Lebanese elections (although, the idea that either the Lebanese or the Iranians would vote based on Obama is sort of ridiculous). And then there are still others who just see the world in black and white and prefer to stick with the enemy we know (Ahmadi-Nejad) and not the enemy we don't know (Mousavi).

What you are seeing now, though, are conservatives like Romney and Cantor trying to score cheap political points by hitting Obama hard for not saying enough on behalf of the protesters. As Andrew Sullivan astutely pointed out, many contemporary American conservatives are simply autistic when it comes to foreign policy - and this is why it is such a relief that any of those merry band of fools do not currently reside in the White House.

Not to worry, though. My guess is that American politicians will largely stand united in the coming days - if enough conservatives get out of line, George HW Bush, Baker, Lugar, Powell, and other old-guard conservative foreign policy realists will put them in their place.
posted by billysumday at 4:40 PM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:41 PM on June 15, 2009


five fresh fish, why do you keep doing that? I don't get it.
posted by billysumday at 4:44 PM on June 15, 2009


I've been glued to the online coverage (primarily Twitter and related) since the protests began. Thanks for all the thoughtful, informed discussion and explanation here.
posted by swerve at 4:59 PM on June 15, 2009


.
posted by Surfurrus at 5:03 PM on June 15, 2009


I'd really like to think this is not an automatic '.' for Iran.

Probably not terribly realistic, I know, but I'd like to hold onto that.
posted by Artw at 5:14 PM on June 15, 2009


He's done it twice. I just don't get it. Seems kinda flip, but maybe there's more to it.
posted by billysumday at 5:19 PM on June 15, 2009


How to setup a proxy for Iranian citizens. — via Nico Pitney
posted by netbros at 5:25 PM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Going back to my previous question: how does this jive with the seeming apathy over the potential fraud among neocons?"

It's like when Republicans were preaching non-intervention with Clinton in Kosovo, but then became big fans of imposing democracy by force under Dubya. War is just more appealing for them when a Republican is Commander In Chief.
posted by Kevin Street at 5:38 PM on June 15, 2009


How to setup a proxy for Iranian citizens. — via Nico Pitney
posted by netbros


I was just going to post this - can someone more knowedgeable than me tell me if this is a) safe and b) useful
posted by shothotbot at 5:54 PM on June 15, 2009


From Austin Heap, who setup the instructions:

Please don’t run this on a machine that you’re worried about or is used for production sites; and take basic security precautions, ie: moving ftp off the default port, using a firewall package, etc.
posted by netbros at 5:59 PM on June 15, 2009


War is just more appealing for them when a Republican is Commander In Chief.

Give 'em a break. They've got their hands full intervening in the war between Letterman and Palin.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:00 PM on June 15, 2009


Der Spiegel writes a little about the persistent Lebanese police/militia rumour. Article in German, translation of relevant snippet mine:
According to Voice of America reports, up to 5,000 Hezbollah militia members from Lebanon would be assisting the regime in the confrontation.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:14 PM on June 15, 2009


Obama comment: video, AP report
posted by neroli at 6:37 PM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


McCain comment.
posted by homunculus at 6:41 PM on June 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Limits of Twitter
posted by homunculus at 6:51 PM on June 15, 2009


Oh dear. McCains repeating his Bomb Russia act.
posted by Artw at 6:53 PM on June 15, 2009


Eh, McCain's right, and as a member of Congress, he can come out and speak more freely than the President can. I don't have a problem with his statement. I suspect he'd be a little more circumspect if he'd been elected.
posted by EarBucket at 6:54 PM on June 15, 2009


Disturbing ... Mr. Mousavi ordered the execution of 30,000 political prisoners from various leftist parties in Iraq in 1988
posted by Surfurrus at 6:56 PM on June 15, 2009


(That said, Obama's comment this afternoon was pitch-perfect and exactly on the line he has to walk. But it doesn't hurt to have members of both parties out there saying that Ahmadinejad's conduct is unacceptable. I wasn't offended at all by McCain's comment.)
posted by EarBucket at 6:56 PM on June 15, 2009


Which is to say he's mouthing off and scoring points with out any regard to what might help or hinder the situation. No thanks.
posted by Artw at 6:58 PM on June 15, 2009


(Regarding McCain, that was)
posted by Artw at 6:58 PM on June 15, 2009


Surfurrus: yes, it's not mentioned much here but Mousavi was quite the hardliner during his last presidency. We don't know yet if he's softened up to more agreeable person in his twenty years of semi-retirement.

But it seems like a lot of people have higher hope and respect for him than Ahmadinejad.
posted by tksh at 7:11 PM on June 15, 2009


Disturbing ... Mr. Mousavi ordered the execution of 30,000 political prisoners from various leftist parties in Iraq in 1988.

From the article you link to:
"As a post script to this article, I have just researched the opposition candidate to Ahmadinejad, Mr Mousavi, on Wikipedia and found that he favors privatization and also that he ordered the execution of 30,000 political prisoners from various leftist parties in Iraq in 1988, including the Tudeh or Iranian Communist Party."

Here's the Wikipedia link. I'm not seeing a reference to him ordering the execution of 30,000 political prisoners, but maybe you can find it (and a source for that) somewhere in the revision history over the past couple of days.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:27 PM on June 15, 2009


Re that 30,000 claim: that appeared briefly on Mousavi's Wikipedia page, the day after the election. See here. I think I'll wait for more convincing evidence than one sentence in an Indymedia article referencing a disputed sentence in a Wikipedia page.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:27 PM on June 15, 2009


Yeah, I'm not having any luck finding a neutral source on that cite, but I'm still looking.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:34 PM on June 15, 2009


WOW ... mahalo Dr. Zira and i_am_joe's_spleen
posted by Surfurrus at 7:38 PM on June 15, 2009


(I am sorry that I'm not providing references to back-up my claim that Mousavi was a hardliner, I remember reading about Mousavi through a combination of dead tree and online pages a few days ago and am having trouble finding them again.)
posted by tksh at 7:44 PM on June 15, 2009


WOW ... mahalo Dr. Zira and i_am_joe's_spleen

If there's one thing that MeFi does well, it's research, fact checking, and debunking. Thanks again, Dr. Zira and IAJS.
posted by elfgirl at 7:46 PM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Visiting Iran: Ancient Cities and Natural Wonders
posted by five fresh fish at 7:48 PM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


In other news: Baton-wielding police disperse Georgia protesters
posted by homunculus at 7:53 PM on June 15, 2009


Well. I have no brief for Mousavi. My 10 minute googling impression is that he is hardly better than Ahmadinejad from an outside perspective (eg). It seems as though he has the weight of much more liberal people behind him because he was the only credible counter to Ahmadinejad, not because he himself was a worthy standard-bearer for the liberal faction. The claim of responsibility for killing thousands of political prisoners may in fact be true, but there doesn't seem to be an obvious trustworthy online source for that claim.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:57 PM on June 15, 2009


Here is a profile of Mir-Hossein Mousavi by Pierre Tristam, a journalist who focuses on the Middle East.
posted by netbros at 8:10 PM on June 15, 2009


FYI, party's moved here.

(I don't want to read two threads at a time)
posted by amuseDetachment at 9:01 PM on June 15, 2009


Well that about wraps things up.

June 15, 2009 | Now, three days after the election, a pattern is emerging. There is unstructured protest on the streets beginning in the late afternoon. Then, at night, it escalates.
posted by ageispolis at 9:47 PM on June 15, 2009


I realize I'm late to the party and guilty of self-linking, but this is just too cool not to share:

Real-time Image Stream of #iranelection
posted by BoatMeme at 11:51 PM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Glenn Greenwald on the hypocrisy of the "Bomb Iran" crowd now embracing the revolution.
posted by delmoi at 6:44 AM on June 16, 2009


How could an Iranian official order the execution of prisoners in Iraq in 1998? Did Iran occupy any part of Iraq at that point? The war ended in August of that year.
posted by delmoi at 6:50 AM on June 16, 2009


Silence is Golden. The idea that there are events that have nothing to do with us, and which we have no business concerning ourselves with, is so alien to our policymakers that I am fairly sure that it never occurs to them. Daniel Larison in Eumonia (the principal of Good Order).
posted by adamvasco at 8:07 AM on June 16, 2009


Iran: The Volcano Erupts. Brought me to tears.
posted by netbros at 10:09 AM on June 16, 2009


Brought me to tears.

It would have worked better for me with the original audio instead of the dramatic music and dubbed-in gunshots, but... still powerful stuff.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:18 AM on June 16, 2009


It would have worked better for me with the original audio instead of the dramatic music and dubbed-in gunshots

AAAH COULDN'T HELP IT
posted by empath at 2:22 PM on June 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


It seems as though he has the weight of much more liberal people behind him because he was the only credible counter to Ahmadinejad, not because he himself was a worthy standard-bearer for the liberal faction.

Iran and the US have many parallels.
posted by telstar at 2:29 PM on June 16, 2009


the dramatic music

Intentionally? "Clubbed to Death", Rob D.

How could an Iranian official order the execution of prisoners in Iraq in 1998?

1988. The executions were of political prisoners, some of whom may have been Iraqi exiles who fought on the side of Iran because it is a primarily Shi'a state, and they were definitely a political reaction to the end of the war (using an Islamic equivalent of a Star Chamber or Inquisition) -- but I think "Iraq" in this context is really a typo. The executions were a serious event that marked the break of Ayatollah Montazeri with the Khomeini regime and are arguably the root of the modern opposition in Iran, so if Moussavi were implicated it would be a big deal.

His involvement is not certain, but he has been accused. It is certain that he was Prime Minister during a period in which the Islamic Republic resorted to thousands of extrajudicial executions.
posted by dhartung at 2:32 PM on June 16, 2009


I haven't read this entire thread, so I apologise if this has already been posted, but here's another analysis of the results by Walter Mebane, a professor of political forensics at the University of Michigan. He uses Benford's Law, among other tools. The upshot is that it looks like there might be something fishy going on, but there's no conclusive evidence.
posted by ocha-no-mizu at 2:46 PM on June 16, 2009


Such a fascinating country, and this movement is something that the country is going to be dealing with for a long time. I just hope their hopes aren't totally dashed and they make some progress, however small.
posted by knapah at 3:17 PM on June 16, 2009


Eh, McCain's right, and as a member of Congress, he can come out and speak more freely than the President can. I don't have a problem with his statement. I suspect he'd be a little more circumspect if he'd been elected.

I think you and I watched different elections this past year. I can actually see the response in Parallel McCain Universe* :

Iranian Election Possibly Rigged. Rioters Take to Streets in Tehran. : This is GREAT NEWS!... for John McCain!

*I try not to inhabit this universe too often as it is bad for children and other living things
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:42 PM on June 16, 2009


1988. The executions were of political prisoners, some of whom may have been Iraqi exiles who fought on the side of Iran because it is a primarily Shi'a state

Er, that's what I meant. (which why I said "the war ended in that year")

I don't really have much to add to this thread since all you have to do is read andrew Sullivan blog Although speaking of statistical analysis Nate Silver has some more analysis of the votes based on their distribution. He says it looks pretty suspicious, and that a huge number of people would have had to have swung over to Ahmadinejad from previous elections.

It's really hard to guess what will happen next or how long the country will be in limbo. We'll have to see.
posted by delmoi at 7:11 PM on June 16, 2009


I can actually see the response in Parallel McCain Universe

Fair enough. I'm trying to give McCain the benefit of the doubt, although I'm sure he wouldn't have handled this with the same smooth cool that Obama has. Vice President Palin would almost certainly have come out and said something to cause WWIII by this point, though.
posted by EarBucket at 7:18 PM on June 16, 2009


Twitter users are being encouraged to change their location to Tehran to confuse the Iranian censors.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:30 PM on June 16, 2009


The hell, Iowa?!?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:45 PM on June 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


McCain already sang for us what he'd have done, "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran," sung to the tune of Barbara Ann.

(I think Iowa's poll count needs an immediate recount!)
posted by Houstonian at 8:29 PM on June 16, 2009


That poll really needs to have an option for "I have no idea."
posted by craichead at 8:30 PM on June 16, 2009


Although speaking of statistical analysis Nate Silver has some more analysis of the votes based on their distribution. He says it looks pretty suspicious [...]

Not to be a pedant, but that's by Renard Sexton, not Nate Silver.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:37 PM on June 16, 2009


Ahmedinejad rally pic 'shopped.

Gigantic Mousavi rally.
posted by telstar at 3:33 AM on June 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Here's a very informative timeline of suppression of dissent.
posted by scalefree at 6:39 AM on June 17, 2009


And as an amusing sidenote, every once in a while in the #IranElection feed I see a completely tone-deaf #tcot tweet from someone named ParisParamus.
posted by condour75 at 7:54 AM on June 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


That dude sounds even dumber on Twitter.
posted by chunking express at 8:06 AM on June 17, 2009


I did notice that.
posted by empath at 9:31 AM on June 17, 2009


#TCOT #iranelection I MISS PRESIDENT BUSH MORE AND MORE about 4 hours ago from web

Seriously, he actually typed that.

In caps.
posted by empath at 9:32 AM on June 17, 2009


Marjane Satrapi, Creator Of Persepolis, Challenges Iranian Elections Results
posted by Artw at 9:38 AM on June 17, 2009


This account is spreading misinformation - an interesting counter use of twitter. The poster claims to be "re tweeting" from known twitterers with things like "Ladies, flash your tits at next rally, Islam is dead, down with Islam!!!!"
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:12 AM on June 17, 2009


There's a thingum on Twitter to put a green overlay on your icon to show your support for Iran.

I don't know how/if this helps anyone, but hey, I'm a sheeple. A sheeple with a sea-sick looking Twitter icon. Go Democracy!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:24 PM on June 17, 2009


This is off topic, but so funny I wanted to share.

This morning, Republican Rep. Pete Hoekstra posted this idiotic tweet comparing GOP skirmishes with the Dems to what's going on in Tehran. Now twitterers are lampooning him. Some examples: "I didn't win the lottery today; now I know what it feels like to be Norm Coleman" and "Couldn't find the remote, so I had to get up to change the channel. I now totally understand the Trail of Tears."

See for yourself.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:50 PM on June 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wow, this was fast.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:54 PM on June 17, 2009


Some of the tweets from the US and other Western countries are concerning.

Of course, you never know someone's thoughts when they are limited to 140 characters. But, I hope we (in the States) understand that what the Iranian protesters want is for their vote to be counted, and for transparency in the voting process.

This does not necessarily mean that what the protesters want is a political system like ours, or a culture like ours. They may not want full religious freedom, division of Church and State, and so on. And I think that's fair: They should be allowed to choose their type of government, even if it's not the type of government I would choose for myself.

My concern is that some of us (Westerners) believe that this will be the beginning of the end of conservative Muslim rule in Iran, which is not what either candidate was proposing.
posted by Houstonian at 3:16 AM on June 18, 2009


My concern is that some of us (Westerners) believe that this will be the beginning of the end of conservative Muslim rule in Iran, which is not what either candidate was proposing.

Yes, yes, this is no more a revolution or overthrow of the government than the civil rights marches of the 50's and 60's were in the US. That said, the civil rights marches of the 50's and 60's lead to a massive overhaul of America culturally and politically that one could call a soft revolution.
posted by Pollomacho at 4:35 AM on June 18, 2009


Recently, I've been reading about a Gallup poll conducted in 2007 in Muslim countries, about Sharia (religious law).

The poll asked people to choose from the following statements:
- Sharia must be the only source of legislation
- Sharia must be a source of legislation, but not the only source
- Sharia should not be a source of legislation
- Don't know/Refused

In Iran, 63% of those polled agreed with the second statement, and 14% agreed with the first statement. Only 13% believed Sharia should not be a source of legislation.

In another Gallup article, they put this in an interesting perspective: "Ironically, we don't have to look far from home to find a significant number of people who want religion as a source of law. In the United States, a 2006 Gallup Poll indicates that a majority of Americans want the Bible as a source of legislation." Forty-six percent of Americans believed that the Bible should be a source of legislation, and only 9% believed it should not be a source.

However, about honesty in elections, another Gallup poll in 2008 showed that 40% of Iranians were not confident in the honesty of elections.
posted by Houstonian at 7:16 AM on June 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


My concern is that some of us (Westerners) believe that this will be the beginning of the end of conservative Muslim rule in Iran, which is not what either candidate was proposing.

It's interesting talking to my wife's (Persian) father-in-law about these protests. To him, there is basically no difference between Ahmedinejad and Mousavi or Rafsanjani. He sees both as complicit during the leftist purges. Also, both were in power when Iran was killing dissidents in Paris and other Western countries. They're both very much part of the Iranian ruling class. I think he'll be disappointed if all this protests simply results in Mousavi becoming president of a more or less unchanged country. My hope is that a more substantial change takes place. I agree people definitely project their own hopes on to these protesters.
posted by chunking express at 9:00 AM on June 18, 2009


By the same token the protesters are projecting their own hopes on these politicians.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:20 PM on June 18, 2009


Tear Down This Cyberwall!
posted by homunculus at 4:34 PM on June 18, 2009


History suggests the coup will fail interesting look at the differences between 79 and 09.
posted by Artw at 4:56 PM on June 18, 2009


From The Economist's "The World in 2009", published November 2008:
[T]here is virtually no mass opposition to the regime, and little likelihood of it brewing up in 2009. So the regime, though pained by sanctions, will reckon on surviving them.

The biggest political event in Iran’s calendar will be the presidential election. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the incumbent, is widely considered to have messed up the economy, so more pragmatic leaders will bid to oust him. Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president who opposes Mr Ahmadinejad, is ineligible to run, because he will turn 75 in February, but Mehdi Karroubi, a former speaker of parliament, and Muhammad Khatami, another former president, may stand for the pragmatists’ wing. As before, out-and-out reformers will be barred by vetting councils of conservative clerics.
No mention of Mousavi, either. To be fair, they are often wrong, and as it's an out-and-out crystal ball, speculate-what-will-happen-next-year affair, I can't really blame them when it comes to "The World In...". Interesting nonetheless.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:55 PM on June 18, 2009


Google Translate adds Persian
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:18 PM on June 18, 2009


Watching the Supreme Leader's speech gave me goosebumps. I really don't need to see seas of people with their arms outstretched chanting rhythmic calls and responses.

It was all very Sieg Heilish.
posted by Justinian at 3:35 AM on June 19, 2009


I suspect a poll taken in the US that said:

The poll asked people to choose from the following statements:
- Sharia The Bible must be the only source of legislation
- Sharia The Bible must be a source of legislation, but not the only source
- Sharia The Bible should not be a source of legislation
- Don't know/Refused

would return similar results.
posted by Pollomacho at 4:25 AM on June 19, 2009


The Gallup poll in the US returned this:

"In the United States, a 2006 Gallup Poll indicates that a majority of Americans want the Bible as a source of legislation.

"Forty-six percent of Americans say that the Bible should be "a" source, and 9% believe it should be the "only" source of legislation.

"Perhaps even more surprising, 42% of Americans want religious leaders to have a direct role in writing a constitution, while 55% want them to play no role at all. These numbers are almost identical to those in Iran."
posted by Houstonian at 4:36 AM on June 19, 2009


Is Khamenei's speech at today's prayers online anywhere?
posted by Houstonian at 4:40 AM on June 19, 2009


Houstonian, it's here.
posted by condour75 at 5:17 AM on June 19, 2009


Thanks, condour75! This is exactly what I was searching for!
posted by Houstonian at 5:18 AM on June 19, 2009


goodnewsfortheinsane: Check out this op-ed in today's NYT. It tries to describe, among other things, how Mousavi came out of nowhere to challenge Ahmadi-Nejad. One thing he mentions is that other candidates aren't even allowed to start campaigning until 2 months before the elections.

As for Khamenei's speech, I'm guessing this results in Mousavi backing down and seeking an amicable resolution. Anything else would be tantamount to calling for a civil war, and that seems unlikely. Any Iranians out there who could help us figure out what happens next? Ultimately, I guess, what happens on the street is irrelevant compared to what happens (and is happening) in the corridors of power - power sharing agreements, deals with members of the military, government contracts, gauging the support of the clerics. That's all stuff we're just completely in the dark about.
posted by billysumday at 5:24 AM on June 19, 2009


It pains me to say this, but some of Khamenei's speech (via the transcript linked by condour75, not quoted in media reports) actually makes sense.
posted by Houstonian at 5:37 AM on June 19, 2009


Houstonian: which parts? I haven't yet read it.
posted by billysumday at 5:57 AM on June 19, 2009


Going from the transcript posted, I see a leader insulting the growing youth vote by basically stating, "You're young, you're foolish, we forgive you!" He pretty much blames young people for all the protests, which I find interesting giving the demographics of the country. The more walls that go up between the folks who will become the majority and at least some of the powerful clerics/system, the more likely they will have less respect for it when they are in power.

Then you have, "it's not our system that's wrong, it's the fault of Western powers meddling." Except now Britain has the wonderful spot of being the Great Satan, good job, UK. It wasn't complete without references to the Zionists, either. Loved the reference to Waco, because you know, the Davidists had no role at all in burning themselves up (minus gov't idiocy), but that's how Democratic Presidents roll.

I saw it as a defense of the state's decisions over the last couple weeks. A demand for respect for the system, regardless of the outcome (defended - Iranians celebrating their democracy by re-electing A). Lastly, it was very interesting that he claims that a government bending to the will of the people is the first step toward a dictatorship. Rather, it would seem that he's fearful for the dictatorship of the clergy.

I've been following the protests and events since the election, with an ever growing sense of sadness. I admire greatly the courage of the protesters and their convictions, but feel that with each coming day, the time of their crushing becomes more imminent. I wait and watch, wondering if it will be with a bang or a whimper.
posted by Atreides at 6:11 AM on June 19, 2009


Makes sense? What part? Where he goes on about how their democracy is better than the rest? Where he blames the Zionists and the British for the uprising? Where he claims people voted to show their support of the religious system of rule? etc.

Don't get me wrong: It's definitely the speech I expected him to give.
posted by chunking express at 6:13 AM on June 19, 2009


Well, the parts where he talks about how they have a legal process, and the way to resolve the debate about the election results is through that process and not through violence.

And then there's the part where he says that both sides are to blame for the violence.

And, he says that the West sees this as an opportunity to bring our ways to Iran.

I'm paraphrasing, and that's doing the speech a disservice. Go and read it in full. Once you remove the statements about how the US/Britain/EU/Israel is the Great Evil and whatnot, it seems a little reasonable.

There are statements I disagree with, too, but I was surprised that I agreed with any of it. And, the few news reports I read kinda cherry-picked the speech, which was disappointing.

(And I realize that this was a speech, and there's a difference between what people say in public and what they actually do.)
posted by Houstonian at 6:14 AM on June 19, 2009


So if you remove all the crazy, it wasn't a bad speech? That's true of a lot of things.

I'm guessing people are protesting because they don't have much faith in Iran's legal framework -- and the state -- to deal with these issues. Wanton corruption will sour people on the legal process.

And as far as I can tell, it's the Basij beating up non-violent protesters.

The West thinks everything is about them. They did before the protests, and they will continue to after.
posted by chunking express at 6:19 AM on June 19, 2009


Well, the parts where he talks about how they have a legal process, and the way to resolve the debate about the election results is through that process and not through violence.

But everybody says things like that save the truly batshit crazy like the North Koreans. The Soviet Union's constitution was all kinds of awesome; would you say that system of government made sense? Calling for respecting the legal process is only admirable and a good thing when you don't control the legal process with an iron fist. Khameini is the legal process. When he calls for respecting it, what he really means is "I make the rules and I've said to sit down and shut up or I'll have you all killed."
posted by Justinian at 7:00 AM on June 19, 2009


Or, to put it another way, Khamenei basically said "l'etat ce moi", only with more DEATH TO AMERICA! DEATH TO ISRAEL!
posted by Justinian at 7:01 AM on June 19, 2009


Ayatollah Khamenei's Speech Gives Legitimacy to Police Brutality, Charges Amnesty International
posted by homunculus at 9:08 AM on June 19, 2009


As much as I appreciate what AI does, I can't imagine that Khamenei is shaking in his boots that they've condemned his speech. Don't they probably have a long list of grievances against the Iranian government anyway? Treatment of political prisoners, etc.?

One thing that I've been thinking about is the possibility that if the regime is successful in cracking down on the protesters, the world may be even more united against the current government in Iran - may be easier for the UN or at least the EU or NATO to approve sanctions against the now perceived "illegitimate" government in Tehran. So in that respect, the response from AI is beneficial in that it continues to consolidate global opinion into something like: We do not recognize your brutal regime.
posted by billysumday at 9:28 AM on June 19, 2009


The Iranian working class and the revolt.
posted by shetterly at 9:52 AM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I personally find the defense of the Ahmadinejad-Khameini regime from some self-marginalized corners of the left to be as embarrassing as it is despicable. It is the sort of thing that can and will likely end friendships and old alliances (simultaneously opening new ones) and, objectively speaking, it should. The reason I don’t single any of these misguided individuals out as examples is not to invent “straw men," but is, rather, a fraternal gesture. I hold out hope that – just as in the 1930s - as events prove the Iranian regime to be unworthy of any support or defense or apology from the authentic left that many of those stuck in such Cold War thinking will come to rethink it. The moment is now.
posted by billysumday at 10:50 AM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Tomorrow there will be blood."
posted by homunculus at 12:27 PM on June 19, 2009


The Four Iran Scenarios and "Basiji Hunting"
posted by homunculus at 12:56 PM on June 19, 2009


I speak for Mousavi.
posted by billysumday at 1:05 PM on June 19, 2009


From the link I just posted:

"People say that Mousavi won't change anything as he is part of the establishment. That is correct to a degree because they wouldn't let anyone who is not in their circle rise to seniority. But not all members of a family are alike, and for Mousavi it is useful to understand how he has changed over time.

Before the revolution, Mousavi was a religious intellectual and an artist, who supported radical change but did not support the mullahs. After the revolution, when all religious intellectuals and even leftists backed Khomeini, he served as prime minister for eight years. The economy was stable, and he did not order the killings of opponents, or become corrupt.

In order to neuralise his power, the position of prime minister was eliminated from the constitution and he was pushed out of politics. So Mousavi returned to the world of artists because in a country where there are no real political parties, artists can act as a party. The artists supported Khatami and now they support Mousavi.

Previously, he was revolutionary, because everyone inside the system was a revolutionary. But now he's a reformer. Now he knows Gandhi – before he knew only Che Guevara. If we gain power through aggression we would have to keep it through aggression. That is why we're having a green revolution, defined by peace and democracy."
posted by billysumday at 1:07 PM on June 19, 2009


An interesting development: Iran Khodro Auto Workers Begin Work Slowdown to Protest the Regime.
posted by shetterly at 1:20 PM on June 19, 2009


That kind of puts the lie to this being some kind of effete middle class thign, doesn't it?
posted by Artw at 1:22 PM on June 19, 2009


Artw, it may say this is spiraling into something new.

I want to hope a lot of Iranian experts will be out of work soon, but given the number of experts on the economy who still have jobs, I doubt it.
posted by shetterly at 1:32 PM on June 19, 2009


Will the Conservatives Please Attempt An Argument?
posted by homunculus at 3:37 PM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


And as far as I can tell, it's the Basij beating up non-violent protesters

This is not non-violent civil disobedience, with one side acting violently and the other side passively resisting. There are members of both sides who are resorting to violence.

From the Four Iran Scenarios article linked above:

"By the way, two nights ago I went out to see a few things ... as the general crowds spread into their homes militia style Mousavi supporters were out on the streets 'Basiji hunting'.

Their resolve is no less than these thugs -- they after hunting them down. They use their phones, their childhood friends, their intimate knowledge of their districts and neighbours to plan their attacks -- they're organised and they're supported by their community so they have little fear. They create the havoc they're after, ambush the thugs, use their Cocktail Molotovs, disperse and re-assemble elsewhere and then start again - and the door of every house is open to them as safe harbour -- they're community-connected."
posted by Houstonian at 4:17 PM on June 19, 2009


Tiananmen's bloody lessons for Tehran
posted by homunculus at 5:24 PM on June 19, 2009


And now this: Iranian Bus Workers Join the Resistance.
posted by shetterly at 12:23 AM on June 20, 2009


Security forces - photos

Hard to know what's going on in Tehran right now. In addition to Nico Pitney, the NYT and the Guardian are trying to monitor Saturday's events in Iran.

The latest seems to be unconfirmed tweet from usually reliable source that says Mousavi is walking from his Ettelaat office to the Ministry of Interior and that 10,000 people are with him.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:29 AM on June 20, 2009


From what I'm hearing people are showing up to the protest sites but being dispersed (with intimidation rather than violence at this point) by security forces which is making it hard to congregate in sufficient numbers. It's easy for me to cheer on protesters from thousands of miles away, not so easy to protest in the face of heavy weaponry, so I'm not sure what to think.
posted by Justinian at 6:17 AM on June 20, 2009


CTV is reporting a bomb was exploded "at the shrine of revolutionary founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini."
posted by five fresh fish at 9:21 AM on June 20, 2009


Security forces - photos

Ah, now it's looking more like Saint Paul during the Republican National Convention: plenty of jack-booted, armor-clad, shield-and-stick wielding goons. The trick is to prevent any protesters from being seen by those in power who may be disturbed at the disruption. It is so unseemly.

Smells like democracy to me.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:12 PM on June 20, 2009


all hell breaking loose
posted by five fresh fish at 10:37 PM on June 20, 2009


Basji HQ set on fire

Mousavi prepared for martyrdom
posted by five fresh fish at 11:06 PM on June 20, 2009


--- URGENT WARNING ABOUT USING PROXY SERVERS IN IRAN ---
taken from http//:spectregroup.org, a cooperative research aggregate
(we believe this information to be correct, but do please check for yourself)

excerpted from: http://bit.ly/xJ9aj
http://spectregroup.wordpress.com/2009/06/19/what-tipped-you-off/

EVERY IRANIAN PLEASE USE SSL ENCRYPTION STARTING TOMORROW OR
THE USE OF ANONYMOUS PROXY SERVERS BY IRANIANS IS EXTREMELY UNSAFE

People in Iran please tell every person you know: EVERYONE use SSL proxy servers starting tomorrow on all internet traffic, or please stop using proxies! In spite of everyone's best intentions, when used in limited numbers as they are now, it's likely that internet proxies are simply automating an opposition arrest list (or death list) for the regime.

Please understand that Iran's network-control is state of the art, and Iranian security can inspect ALL traffic easily in an automated fashion, through its centralized choke point. It's likely that anyone using a proxy is quickly spotted and tracked. Proxies are an effective way to get information out, but the use of proxies will not be safe unless EVERY SINGLE PERSON in Iran uses one. EVERYONE.

SSL/TLS (https) can be about 4 to 5 times the packet size in transmission, which makes the bandwidth throttling of the Iranian Security forces more difficult (the Iranian internet is painfully, selectively, slow since it was shut down). If everyone were to use it, for all communications, then all traffic would look the same, and dissidents could not be so easily singled out. This is sometimes called 'faking the weather.' We must recommend either EVERYONE uses SSL proxies, in order to protect each other, or NO ONE does.

IT/Networking professionals will recognize the tactics in commonplace IPS or IDS systems. Iran is clearly using payload inspection and filtering systems- both for blocking, and collecting information. This is done easily, since (without SSL) none of the material being sent is encrypted. (TOR encryption, btw, can be blocked.) Security professionals will understand that scaling firewalls to a national size is a solved problem. Cisco's Netflow is used in network gear throughout the world to record network traffic, and common new style 'deep packet inspection' network products are capable of extremely efficient real-time network processing and data collection.

The longer you wait the more proxy users will be arrested. Tell your grandmothers, tell everyone you know: find a safe SSL proxy, learn to use it, and only use SSL/TLS proxies from now on. They are not difficult to use. If everyone does this, Iran will have an unfiltered internet; to block it the Iranian government would be forced to turn off their WHOLE internet connection (again). Also remember, anonymous proxies can be hijacked: SSL provides validation that you're talking to the right person.

In Summation: Without maximum use in Iran of these SSL/TLS proxy technologies, in spite of best intentions, and with incredible efficiency, the outside internet community is most likely helping to automate an Iranian dissident death/arrest list. I can not overstate this.

Everyone in Iran please start using ssl proxies immediately. today. now.

SSL/TLS
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transport_Layer_Security
http://www.openssl.org/


PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD:
EVERY IRANIAN USE SSL CRYPTO STARTING TOMORROW!
OR IRANIANS USING PROXIES ARE NOT SAFE


Say it again once more, simply?
On the outside, https proxies (SSL/TLS) for encryption and server validation* are absolutely necessary. Please set them up. (* validation to defend against Iran Security Forces performing man-in-the-middle attacks)

On the inside, EVERY Iranian citizen must use SSL web proxies.

If both of these things are not done, the best intentions of the internet community will only help automate death lists for citizens using the internet to protest the faked election, and document the violence and repression that has followed.

If both of these things (inside and outside the country) ARE done, Iranians regain cheap and fast internal unblocked internet communications, as well as a very robust communications line to the outside world.

Again, EVERYONE has to do it. Both sides. Iranian grandmothers must understand that they all must learn to do this, to protect Iranian opposition protesters. It is easy and you only have to do it once.

Inside Iran, look for things like this:
http://proxy.org/ssl_proxies.shtml
http://www.anonymousproxylists.net/FreshAnonymousProxyLists/Free%20SSL%20Proxy%20List.html

Outside of Iran, Tech Specs, 2 parts:
1 )SSL Capable proxy servers:
Squid
Apache 2.x (enable mod_ssl, mod_proxy)
Apache 1.x, (enable mod_ssl, mod_proxy)
Tinyproxy

2) Cheap, valid SSL certificates:
(Critical to avoid Iran Security mitm attacks!)
https://www.godaddy.com/
http://ask.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/10/02/000241

See Also
http://yro.slashdot.org/story/09/06/21/127229/Researchers-Find-Gaps-In-Iranian-Filtering
http://asert.arbornetworks.com/2009/06/a-deeper-look-at-the-iranian-firewall/
http://blog.austinheap.com/2009/06/22/state-of-the-iran-proxies/
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124571865270639351.html

---

We bet this might be somehow useful, too
http://archive.org

OK listen, if you want to talk snark about the above letter, please don't bother. People have been shot. If you want to clarify, based on your own experience as an internet professional, how the Iranian choke point really works, please do, for everyone's sake. I personally believe the man who wrote this letter, and do not find his expectations of the regime's network control capability to be controversial. i'm posting this because i think it's true, and i hope people in Iran learn that there is a way to stop the arrests. I think everyone understands that universal adoption of SSL is a long shot. If you wanna talk SSL, someone please tell me why my laptop and cell don't come with SSL built in? It is likely only to guarantee government access to these communications for the purposes of law enforcement. Hope you have good laws. And good lawmakers. We have too much tolerance for incompetence on this earth. If the above letter is in any way incorrect I formally ask for a constructive clarification of its assessment. Thank you and hopefully the people in the streets succeed, this is incredibly brave of them.
posted by jojo-dancer at 4:24 PM on June 23, 2009


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