Iran Election Guide

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Iran Feature: If a Protest Occurs and No One Notices, Does It Make a Sound?

For some, it is as if the demonstrations on National Student Day --- 16 Azar --- never happened.

You will not, for example, find any reference in Iranian state media to the protests on campuses across the nation. Press TV's top story prefers the relative security of the nuclear discussions, with Iran's National Security Council "call[ing] on Western powers to exercise commitment to agreements they make with the Islamic Republic".

I guess that's understandable --- no one really likes to mention domestic arguments. A bit more surprising that CNN's website forgot to mention 16 Azar, given that 1) its correspondent Reza Sayah was following and mentioning events on Twitter throughout the day and 2) elsewhere it ran the video feature, "Iranian students protest online". 

The New York Times goes beyond "More Nuclear Talks with Iran Are Set" to write about "Action Against Broadcaster of Soap Operas", a reference to the raid on an office of Farsi1 with the arrest of at least four employees. But it does not venture towards the universities.

On Monday night, The Washington Post published the story, "Heavy Pollution Takes a Toll on Residents in Tehran". I guess the smog took a toll on its coverage as well: the newspaper did not see anything in Iran on Tuesday.

Top analysts also put on the blinders. Juan Cole, whose recent theme of Tehran's regional ascendancy would be disrupted by a glance at Iran's domestic situation, spent the day declaring, "Iran is Winning, Israel Losing".

Even those who are often accused by the Iranian Government of carrying out a US Government policy of "regime change" have no words on the regime and the students. The Voice of America declined to cover the story. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is silent, apart from a pointer in its Press Review to a Los Angeles Times story.

In addition to the Los Angeles Times, the BBC had a brief piece on Tuesday's developments, "Iranians Defy Clampdown for Student Day Protests",and the Wall Street Journal posted an article, "Iranian Students Stage Protests". . But I am still searching for any other major media outlet who took a moment to look away from press releases on the nuclear talks in Geneva.

Perhaps nothing significant did occur in Iran on 16 Azar. But we're not so sure, given the news and videos that mysteriously made their way onto our pages but not into the attention span of other media. In a separate entry, Josh Shahryar considers, "Protests and Options: What Now for the Greens and the Government?". And later this week, after we note any further moves and reactions to Tuesday's developments, we'll offer a further reading of the situation.

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