15 June 2009

Free elections for Iran

Iran held an election late last week. Gawker (of all places) has a good recap of the events.

Record numbers of Iranians turned out to vote, and within hours of the polls' closing, the government announced that Ahmadinejad had won with 60% of the votes, while his opponent Mir Hossein Mousavi, whom most people believed was going to win, took only 30%.

Naturally, people disputed the results. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei came out and said they must support the winner, Ahmadinejad.

And the people started protesting, which turned into riots, which ended up with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard shooting at college students, whom they'd besieged in the dorms at a university in Tehran. pictures (graphic) more pictures (text in Farsi)

Mousavi and his supporters are marching in Tehran and other cities today. The UN (or was it EU?) has called for investigations into the election. Laughably, Ayatollah Khamenei has called for an investigation into the election he likely rigged.

One twitter user, @persiankiwi, commented that it was just like 1979, when the revolution to overthrow the Shah happened. He was there.

The government is reportedly blocking internet access to sites like twitter, facebook, and blogs. People are sharing proxy servers so Iranians can send updates from inside. The #iranelection tag on twitter is busy. Not all reports are verifiable, of course.

I'm not qualified to comment on whether this marks the beginning of a new Iran, but I stand with the supporters of a free Iran, with real democratic elections. I support the brave men and women who are gathering to protest the oppressive regime, risking their lives.

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