Iran after the elections: 28 June

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hi - if you're here due to a Twitter update, check the bottom of the post.

I'll be updating this post throughout the day as events warrant.

To no one's surprise, Mousavi has rejected the 10% recount idea proposed yesterday that I mentioned. As Foreign Policy pointed out, the ballot boxes have been under government control since the election and nobody has been able to monitor them, so it would be a 10% recount of boxes they've had the opportunity to do whatever they want with since June 12th - not a very tempting proposal.

Nico on Huffington Post pointed out a really interesting video from today featuring director Mohsen Makhmalbaf (who really, really looks like a director by the way) reading out a request to President Mousavi, along with an English translation. Not only is the video itself quite good (the point has been made on Twitter and elsewhere many times that the term "President Mousavi" needs to be used more often) but it's also definitely worth bookmarking for those studying Persian. Clear, topical, easy to follow.

The English translation is below, and you can read it in Persian (the statement itself, not the preamble) here.

The people of Iran, by phone and mails, have asked me to send their message to mister Moussavi.

This letter is a summary of what they have told me these past days from inside Iran and all over the world:

"President Moussavi:
give us your orders!
Political power is gained by making people act,
and is lost in the contrary case.
The liars and stealers of the people's vote,
by buying time, are weakening people's social powers.

President Moussavi:
do not keep silent, do not wait, give us orders !
What us people of Iran had lost was not information, but courage.
Our fear came from each one of us feeling alone;
but participating in the elections,
and demonstrating by the millions
proved that if we stand together we are invincible.

President Moussavi:
do not send people to their houses !
So that they are once again crushed by despair and fear.
From a goverment that is itself illegal,
do not ask for a legal permission to peacefully demonstrate.

The majority of people of iran, who has voted for you, is waiting for your orders;
give us the orders to demonstrate !
give us the orders of a general strike !
give us the orders of resistance !

The people's common need is your orders.
President Moussavi
give the people your orders !"

on the behalf of the people of Iran
Mohsen Makhmalbaf
the 6th of the month of Tir, 88

NPR has another article here on the lack of good intelligence on Iran within the United States. I wrote on the same day that this election and media like Twitter in particular are perhaps the first steps in fixing this, as an increased overall understanding of a country by the populace as a whole is the first step in being able to accurately assess it. For example, imagine for a moment that for some reason over the past 30 years there has been almost no contact between Canada and the US and a new generation in the US has grown up knowing almost nothing about Canada, to the extent that even basic facts like "people in Quebec speak French" have become nearly specialized knowledge. With a climate like that where specialists on Canada are forced to conduct analysis all by themselves, it wouldn't be surprising to find a lot of mistaken analysis going on considering that these agents likely would not have grown up knowing about the country (i.e. they have no "instinct" for the country), and discussions on the news would also be next to no help at all, since these people also have little to no idea about what kind of country they're talking about.

Continued discussion on a certain topic / country eventually results in a kind of instinctual understanding, at least on a very low level. Right now there are few in the US and other countries that aren't aware that Iraq is composed of Sunnis and Shiites plus Kurds in the north, facts that were rarely known before the invasion in 2003. Along with that areas like Kerkuk, Basra, Tikrit, etc. have become common knowledge in a way they weren't before. Iraq is a good example of how knowledge of a certain country or issue becomes more or less common knowledge with enough media exposure, and this election in Iran and the aftermath may result in the same thing.

The Guardian has an article today on the apparent movement behind the scenes to replace Khamenei with a council of senior clerics (of which Khamenei would be one).

It's 3 pm in Iran right now, and many are writing and tweeting about today's ceremony at the Ghoba Mosque. The reason why this is important is because 1) Mousavi will be there, and 2) finally this gathering has government permission.

As for what the mosque looks like, see here. This image seems to give the best idea of how many people could gather there.

BBC Persian right now has this story on the top - eight British embassy officials in Tehran have been detained for "involvement in post-election unrest". That's not going to help relations, especially after Khamenei calling the UK the most evil country in the world.

Okay, here's one video of the gathering at the mosque today.

A tweet in Persian just now:

says that all lines and cell phones at the mosque were cut, and estimates there were 700,000 people at the mosque and in the area.

To not much surprise the gathering has eventually been met with tear gas and some clashes with the police, but it doesn't seem to have been as serious as some other clashes in recent days (Baharestan for example). CNN has an article on today's gathering here.

Here's a new video, quite short but important. Recognize the guy walking by? It's Karroubi himself.

The message written to the right of the video in Persian says that just a few minutes after Karroubi walked by security came in and dispersed the crowd with shots and tear gas.


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