The American media is doing a pretty crappy job at covering one of the biggest news stories of the past couple of weeks. Iran’s 2009 Presidential Election was held on June 12, 2009, and since then, all hell has broken loose in a country that has had its fair share of unrest over the past 50 years. In the past few days, tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Tehran, Iran’s capital. What set them off? I’m glad you asked. [Disclaimer: I am not a historian or researcher, and I know very little about Iranian politics. However, I’m going to give this my best shot.]
For just a little background context, the Presidential Election featured 4 nominees:
- Incumbant: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Abadgaran Party)
- Mir-Hossein Mousavi (Independent Reformist Party)
- Mohsen Rezaee (Independent Conservative Party)
- Mehdi Karroubi (Etemad-e-Melli Party)
On the night of June 12th, Iran’s official news agency, the Islamic Republic News Agency, announced that the incumbant, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had won by a count of 66% to 33% of the votes cast. The problem was that at the time, only 2/3 of the votes had been counted. To make matters even worse, the president of Iran’s election monitoring commission declared the results invalid. Then he called for a do-over (source). Today, Time Magazine published an article with 5 reason’s to suspect Iran’s election results (link). Furthermore, many are asking the simple question: How do you count almost 40 million handwritten paper ballots in a matter of hours and declare a winner? More on that here.
Obviously, something is up. The Whitehouse is remaining relatively neutral about the whole thing, though President Obama has issued a short statement about the Iran Election and the violent protesting in Tehran (link, video):
Obama said of the Iranian demonstrators that “the world is watching and inspired by their participation, regardless of what the ultimate outcome of the election was. We do believe the Iranian people and their voices should be heard.”
There is a ton of information out there, and I could go on with more and more coverage – because this thing is being broadcast on every major social network on the internet. Here are some of the links with fascinating, often troubling, updates of the events regarding the Presidential Election in Iran:
- Boston.com’s photo gallery of the protests in Tehran (link)
- AP News/MyWay update: Iranian protester killed after opposition rally (link)
- Flickr.com has the AP picture of the protester who was kill. NSFW & Disturbing (link)
- Twitter streams break Iran news dam (link)
- Andrew Sullivan’s Blog on the Atlantic (link)
Well, I hope to have more updates in the next few days. I hope the Iranian people can work this out without more deaths. Things like this do not typically end well for many people. The country seems to be split in half, and maybe it’s worse than that. If anything is certain, it’s that the people of Iran have a voice, and it will be heard. By the whole world.