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June 16, 2009

Iran Round Up

Well, as much of a round up as I can muster with such fast moving events.

The Guardian Council has ordered a partial recount of the vote.

The unusual step by the council, several members of which had supported President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's bid for re-election, was quickly rejected as insufficient by the opposition.

Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi and two other challengers have called on the council to nullify all of the election results and order new balloting. Their supporters said it would be difficult -- if not impossible -- to request a recount comprehensive enough to overturn what the government has said was a landslide in favor of Ahmadinejad.

So far, the council has rejected those demands and said it would recount only those votes where the opposition has evidence suggesting a problem may have occurred.

Huge crowds of Mousavi supporters have massed in the streets of Tehran since Saturday. Seven were killed Monday night when the crowd reportedly tried to storm a compound for volunteer militia linked to Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard. Members of the militia, known as the Basij, fired from a rooftop into the crowd.

The BBC reports
that the government has banned foreign journalists from covering any stories.

The new restrictions on foreign media require journalists to obtain explicit permission before leaving the office to cover any story.

Journalists have also been banned from attending or reporting on any "unauthorised" demonstration - and it is unclear which if any of the protests are formally authorised.

Press cards have been declared invalid.

Our correspondent says they are the most sweeping restrictions he has ever encountered reporting anywhere.

He says the clampdown comes amid shock and fear among authorities at the show of defiance by opposition supporters who attended Monday's huge illegal rally, insisting the vote was rigged.

The idiot mullahs think the MSM is still the main source of information. Authoriterian regimes are always the last to understand the threats they are facing. Just as fax machines played a major role in the fall of the Soviet Union, it's Twitter, Facebook and Flickr that are the information threats to the mullahs, not ABC or the BBC.

The Iranians are trying to crackdown on these new media but it's a lot harder than locking down a handful of western reporters.

Via Michael Goldfarb's Twitter, Ahmadinejad is feeling pretty cocky, he took off for a trip to Russia.

And finally, John Bolton rightfully throws a bit of cold water on all the unfounded hopes placed on Mousavi.

The media’s endlessly incorrect narrative about struggles between “moderates” and “hard-liners” within the Islamic Revolution of 1979 will doubtless continue, because abandoning it now would be admitting the intellectual poverty of three decades of Western reporting. It would have been easier if outsiders had from the outset understood the debate between the regime’s moderates and hard-liners this way: Hard-liners like Ahmadinejad want to continue Iran’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs and boast about “wiping Israel off the map.” By contrast, the moderates want to continue Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs but remain silent, thus more effectively deluding many willing Westerners.

Make no mistake, as the post-election demonstrations have demonstrated, there is enormous opposition to Iran’s existing government structure, and indeed to the entire Islamic Revolution of 1979. Young people (those under 30 constitute approximately 70 percent of the total population) are unhappy and know they could have a different life if freed from harsh clerical rule. Economic grievances are massive, after 30 years of theologians mismanaging the economy. And ethnic discontent (only about 50 percent of the population is Persian) is widespread.

But giving effect to this discontent was never in the cards in the June 12 election, which was intended to bolster the Islamic Revolution, not to undercut it. Outsiders, including Obama, conflated the seething national discontent with the sham election process and simply misunderstood what was actually happening. Such dramatic misperception of political reality inside Iran, does not, needless to say, bode well for overall U.S. policy toward Iran’s nuclear and terrorist threats.

In fact, with careful outside support, the post-election outrage in Iran, with time, could grow sufficiently to reverse the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and replace it with a system of representative government. What may be the most positive outcome from what the defeated Mousavi called this “dangerous charade” is that Iranians — and Westerners — will now realize there can be no true democracy as long as the Islamic Revolution remains in power.

As always with the 'Stache of Justice, read the whole thing.

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posted by DrewM. at 09:51 AM

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