Quick, pop quiz.
1. The young Iranian woman in this photo stolen from Ernesto Hernández Busto’s blog (where as you might guess, he’s drooling over the possibility of his own color revolution in Cuba) is:
a. working class
b. professional class
c. trust-fund class
Pop Quiz Part II
2. The potbellied thug in the green Ku Klux Klan hood behind her is
b. Something else
If you need a clue, read James Petras’s excellent analysis of the Iranian presidential election and subsequent street-show and then come back here and take the quiz. (It’s open-book.) And when you’re done with that, check out Kourosh Ziabari’s first-rate report below, direct from Iran, which includes some details that the Western Twitter-obsessed press couldn’t be bothered to mention. Stuff like the news that Iran is Canada’s second favorite meddling spot after Haiti, and the teeny tiny fact that “according to the national intelligence services, a group of U.S.-linked terrorists who’d planned to explode bombs in 20 highly populated areas of Tehran (Iran’s mega-capital with a population of ten million) were detected.”
Wait, isn’t that U.S. coddled terrorist Luis Posada Carriles’s specialty? Why now that you mention it, they did find a bomb on a plane headed to Tehran just a few weeks ago. Sure seems like the man gets around…
“The Idol-Breaker Ahmadi” and “Where is My Vote?”
Kourosh Ziabari, edited by Machetera with help from Manceber
From Iran’s most ardent enemies to its most cordial friends, the whole world is now monitoring and commenting on the Iran’s 2009 Presidential Elections which eventually resulted in the re-election of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the extension of his mandate for another four-year term.
The enemies confirmed their credulousness and myopia by garnering hopes for a possible overthrow of the Islamic government, after groups of frustrated people poured into the streets for some six days to protest what they called “widespread fraud and manipulation” in the electoral results, while well-known traditional and longstanding friends, including Lebanon, China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil, Azerbaijan and Qatar, demonstrated their loyalty by dispatching immediate congratulatory messages.
Everything began on Saturday night, June 13th, when the Interior Ministry announced that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been re-elected to office for another four years as he won a categorical majority of 63% of the vote, heavily defeating the reformist hopeful Mir-Hossein Mousavi, with a discrepancy of 11 million votes.
According to official stats, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would become the most popular president of Iran since the beginning of Islamic Revolution, surpassing the seemingly invincible victory of ex-President Mohammad Khatami in 1997 where he won 21 million votes, the largest tally ever in a Middle Eastern election.
The interior ministry declared Mr. Ahmadinejad the landslide victor with 24.5 million votes, while the majority of pre-election polls and surveys had indicated a narrow and close rivalry between the two main contenders, even predicting the likelihood of a second run-off round to determine the ultimate result. The National Election Commission also designated an infinitesimal minority of 330,000 votes to the other reformist candidate, Mehdi Karroubi, whose entire vote count was still less than the total of 460,000 invalid blank votes.
The members of Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s national electoral campaign, who were apprehensive about possible ballot-rigging in favor of the incumbent president from the outset, held several rounds of emergency meetings to find solutions, and the only answer they came up with was to spearhead street demonstrations and protest rallies.
Mir-Hossein Mousavi issued several official declarations following the announcement of final results and sent various letters to the Supreme Leader, Guardian Council and Head of the Judiciary, lodging complaints about the “widespread fraud and manipulation” which he had witnessed.
Members of the Committee for Electorate Preservation at Mousavi’s national campaign also issued warnings through the campaign’s official website against the ways “votes [were] being distorted” while the election was underway. They objected that electoral executives were asking voters to write down Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s name with “certain pens,” demanding that they put Mousavi’s electoral number beneath his name while casting their ballot, expelling Mousavi’s election observers from the polls, etc.
Once the results were officially announced, Mir-Hossein Mousavi called on his partisans and supporters to mount street demonstrations and hold gatherings, wearing green wristbands and headbands, the color which he had chosen as a symbol for his campaign.
The massive demonstrations which the British papers, including the Daily Telegraph and Independent described as the largest non-governmental rallies since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, lasted for six days, and left 7-15 fatalities, according to Iran’s official media.
Rebels and non-political insurgents who were seeking an opportunity to spread violence and unrest amidst the political tensions, attacked citizens, destroyed public property, broke down buses and other transportation facilities and reportedly killed 10 people. In order to prevent the expansion of protests, keep demonstrators off the streets and stop the abusive riots which the Supreme Leader called “separate from the electoral partisans and supporters of Mir-Hossein Mousavi,” plainclothes and riot police were put into action, and according to the national intelligence services, a group of U.S.-linked terrorists who’d planned to explode bombs in 20 highly populated areas of Tehran (Iran’s mega-capital with a population of ten million) were detected.
In a joint letter to the Head of the Judiciary System, Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi, former President Seyed Mohammad Khatami and the failed reformist candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi protested the “aggressive confrontation with the people” and called for the immediate release of detainees who were arrested during the demonstrations: “according to the consistent reports, aggressive confrontations with the gatherings and ordinary people and attacks on residential complexes … are underway which are not in compliance with the accepted standards of the Islamic Republic and will have no impact other than society pessimism toward the [governmental] system.”
“Through your legitimate and religious responsibility and your sense of accountability toward the rights of citizens, we ask your Majesty to take the necessary steps and actions to draw to a close this upsetting and provocative situation and prevent violence against the people,” they added.
The Supreme Leader’s Reaction
Iran’s Supreme Leader was the first prominent political figure to react to the “epic presence of the Iranian nation in the elections arena.” He sent an elaborate congratulatory letter to the nation and the President-elect a few hours after the official announcement of the final results. Ayatollah Khamenei said he appreciated the 85% turnout and the participation of 40 million people in the 10th presidential elections: “The supremacy and dignity which you recorded in the nation’s history through your tranquility, serenity and maturity, and the unassailable inclination which you demonstrated amidst the spate of enemy psychological propaganda, has an importance that cannot be described with conventional and usual language.”
He also alluded to the significance of “solidarity” and “astuteness” in the post-election season and added: “you proved that more than 30 years following the establishment of religious democracy in this country, you’ll take part in the juncture more vibrantly and confidently than ever, ensuring both friends and enemies of your continued path.”
In another part of the letter, the Supreme Leader praised the nation for its unprecedented participation: “the elections of Khordad 22 (June 12), through the creative performance of the Iranian nation, set a new record in the long sequence of national elections. The 80% turnout on the ballots and the 24 million votes for the president-elect are a pure celebration which can guarantee the country’s improvement and progression, national security and sustainable contentment through divine patronage and assistance.”
However, the Supreme Leader toughened his tone a few days later, during the Friday prayers sermon, while the massive demonstrations and protests by the supporters of failed reformist candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi were underway and the international pressure on Iran was surging. He warned “behind-the-scenes demonstration planners” to end the rallies and stay off the streets, otherwise, he “would speak to the nation more frankly.”
He advised the failed candidates to pursue their complaints through “legal venues,” starting that: “the destiny of elections would be determined at the polls, not in the streets.”
In an unprecedented action, however, the Supreme Leader also chastised President Ahmadinejad for attacking the former high-ranking officials of the country during the pre-election live televised debate with Mir-Hossein Mousavi. Ahmadinejad had accused former President Hashemi Rafsanjani and the former Parliament Speaker Nateq Nouri of corruption and financial fraud.
“It’s not my normal practice to name people on the Friday sermons, but I do it this time because they have been named [in the debates],” said the Supreme Leader. “I have known Mr. Hashemi for so long … our acquaintance dates back to some 50 years ago … Mr. Hashemi has been one of the most significant and principal people of the movement in the pre-revolution era … and went to the verge of martyrdom several times after the revolution … he has been a companion of Imam Khomeini and after the demise of Imam Khomeini, was a constant comrade of the leader (himself).”
The hot presidential election in Iran and its controversial aftermath provoked different reactions from all around the world. In a low-profile and conservative approach toward the domestic disputes over the alleged fraud, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs expressed U.S. happiness over the widespread enthusiasm and vibrancy which the elections have created in Iran and stated that the U.S. is “impressed” by the vigorous debate and zealousness which the elections have caused among young Iranians.
It was the first time since the Iranian revolution of 1979 that a high-ranking White House official had made such friendly and positive remarks on Iranian elections. However, he told reporters that the U.S. is closely “monitoring” the situation, and particularly, what he called reported “irregularities.”
The Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon, however, in line with the frequent condemnations of the last months which he has been hurling at the Iranian state and people, expressed “deep concerns” over the “irregularities” and called for an immediate investigation into the “fraud and discrepancies.”
Lawrence Cannon has been casting doubts and concerns over different issues in Iran over the past months, and the official website of the Canadian Embassy in Tehran is now flooded with his “deep concerns” on Iran’s human rights record, elections, missile tests, nuclear issues, etc. The only thing upon which he has never cast doubt or concern is the mistreatment of Iranians applying for visas at the Canadian Embassy in Tehran, through the rejection of 61% of temporary resident visa applications in 2007.
Brazilian President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, whose country has developed strong ties with Iran under President Ahmadinejad was among the first foreign leaders to send congratulatory messages to Tehran. He denied the possibility of fraud and told a press conference: “nobody has so far provided evidence of that, and the Iranian president was elected with a majority of 62%.” He also confirmed the reports of his forthcoming travel to Tehran in order to “pursue bilateral cooperation and build stronger partnerships.”
The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish President Abdullah Gul also congratulated Mr. Ahmadinejad on his re-election during a phone call. The presidents of Russia, Belarus, Iraq, Lebanon, Armenia, Yemen and Venezuela also extended their congratulations to Ahmadinejad on his taking office for a second consecutive term.
The Reality of Mir-Hossein Mousavi
Although Mir-Hossein Mousavi was implicitly warned by the Supreme Leader, the most powerful political and religious authority of the country, to cease his “street campaign expedition” and “muscle-flexing” and pursue his demands and protests through “legitimate venues,” and western media outlets are trying to distort and portray this as a political confrontation between the reform movement and the leader’s political alignment, the reality is thoroughly different.
Mir-Hossein Mousavi was the Prime Minister of Iran from 1981 to 1989 and served both of his two terms when Ayatollah Khamenei was president. He was the popular prime minister of the Late Imam Khomeini, the founder of Islamic Revolution, and had been praised by him frequently and on various occasions.
On the expiration of his first term, Ayatollah Khamenei was reluctant to endorse him as prime minister for a second term, as he believed that there were other competent individuals who could have been put in the position. Some of the high-ranking clerics of that time, including Major General Mohsen Rezaei (the former Commander in Chief of the IRGC) went to Imam Khomeini. They told Imam Khomeini that Mir-Hossein Mousavi (the prime minister during the war years) was immensely popular with combatants, and the young warriors who were fighting the forces of Saddam the dictator would get hope and energy from him. In order to persuade Ayatollah Khamenei to extend the mission of Mr. Mousavi as the Prime Minister, Imam Khomeini made a historical declaration which perpetuated Mir-Hossein Mousavi as a prominent revolutionary figure in the contemporary history of Iran: “As a citizen, I announce that selecting anyone besides this gentleman (Mir-Hossein Mousavi) is a treachery to Islam.”
Mousavi has been introduced as a major reformist figure to the world; however, he seeks reform and change within the frameworks of the Islamic Republic of Iran and has always endorsed the role of jurisprudence as the ultimate arbiter, which has “saved the country from coups” so far. Western thinkers and pundits who portray Mousavi as an opposition leader and are trying to merge him with the anti-revolutionary movements inside U.S. and Israel are quite mistaken.
Over the past few days, the Persian section of Radio Israel aired exclusive and “emergency” programs to cover the “Iran crisis” by inviting “experts” and “scholars” who would unanimously invite the supporters of Mir-Hossein Mousavi to storm the streets, call for the transformation of the Islamic government and destabilize routine transportation, business and daily life by burning public facilities, mosques, universities and shops.
The peaceful and nonviolent demonstrations of the protesting youths and pro-reform supporters of Mir-Hossein Mousavi who were demanding their votes be officially “respected” by the authorities were soon mixed with the illicit and criminal actions of U.S. and Israel-backed mercenaries and mutineers whose ultimate desire was to see a “velvet revolution” going on everywhere in Iran.
One of the most appreciated remarks by the Supreme Leader was one which differentiated between the rebels and the supporters of Mir-Hossein Mousavi. In a personal meeting with Mir-Hossein, Ayatollah Khamenei made it clear that the “account of rebels and violence-seekers is separate from” that of Mousavi’s partisans and that those who destroy public assets and people’s private property are carrying out aggressive actions without any political purpose.
Ali Larijani, the moderate conservative Speaker of Parliament who is seen to be one of the most rational and reasonable figureheads in the conservatives’ campaign also told the nation in a live TV speech that “those who, under the mask of political partisans of a certain movement or candidate, cause damage to public property or paralyze the daily life of ordinary people, are not among the protestors who want their votes to be virtuously preserved.”
He also added that Islamic Republic of Iran respects freedom of speech, freedom to rally and demonstrate, and vigorously pursues the claims of those candidates who believe that there have been irregularities with their votes: “The liberty to demonstrate should be respected, and those who are in charge of issuing protest rally permits should cooperate and issue them constructively.”
Larijani, who was a contender for the presidency against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the 2005 Presidential Elections, also stressed that he had conducted “phone calls” with the authorities of Guardian Council, Iran’s highest-ranking electoral body, which vets and oversees the qualification of candidates into the final election round and examines the ultimate credibility of votes, and made suggestions to facilitate the investigation of claims made by the failed candidates.
Kourosh Ziabari is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source and editors are cited.