Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Iran Elections 2009 (31)


Iran Report: Activists Fleeing the Assault on Civil Society (Human Rights Watch)

Faraz Sanei talks to CNN about the suppression of civil society in Iran over the last decade

Although most of the hundreds of thousands who took to the streets to protest the June 2009 presidential election result had not been political or civil society activists, they nonetheless found themselves targets of security and intelligence forces.  After public protests came to an end, the authorities continued their relentless assault on all forms of dissent, targeting civil society groups and activists who had little if any connection to the protests themselves but whom they deemed to be supporters of a “velvet revolution” working to undermine the foundations of the Islamic Republic.

Along with members of the political opposition, human rights activists, journalists and bloggers, and rights lawyers bore the brunt of these attacks. Security forces arrested and detained scores of activists, including those advocating on behalf of ethnic minorities, women, and students, and subjected many to trials that did not meet international fair trial standards. Dozens remain in prison on charges of speech crimes such as “acting against the national security,” “propaganda against the state,” or “membership in illegal groups or organizations".

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Iran Snap Analysis: A Regime Still Worried About the Green Movement? (Yes.)

Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, a member of the Supreme Leader's inner circle, addresses an audience before the March 2012 Parliamentary elections

“The impressive participation of 85% of the people in the 2009 election was a subject of pride for us, but unfortunately some embittered the sweetness of the election the day after and labelled the regime [guilty] of fraud....The damage by the seditionists was no less than the damage Saddam did in the 8-year war [between Iran and Iraq in the 1980s.”

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Remember Iran 1st-Hand: Moving Beyond the Shroud --- How The Green Movement Became a Beacon for Change

Three years ago the world changed.

Before 12 June 2009, we still lived on a globe where the people of Iran were put in a bubble, alienated from others. Or perhaps it was the other way around: the rest of the world lived in a sort of bubble, alienated from Iran. That rings truer to me.

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Remember Iran: An EA Special --- Three Years Ago Today, A Moment of Compromise?

Silent protest march, 16 June 2009

Re-reading our coverage from three years ago today, I was surprised. The following months of conflict and repression had eroded any memory of the moment when --- perhaps unsettled by the mass march of the previous day demanding a fair election, perhaps playing for time --- the regime had offered a glimmer of compromise.

At least eight protesters had been slain the previous evening, several students at Tehran University were dead after raids by security forces, and hundreds of people were detained, but the Supreme Leader was ordering the Guardian Council to consider a re-count of the Presidential ballots and was meetings with representatives of all four candidates, asking them to pursue "national unity".

We re-live the moment, re-posting our Live Coverage and the analysis by EA's Chris Emery, "Four Scenarios for a Vote Re-Count". 

There are other surprises as well. On 16 June 2009, I was on Al Jazeera's Inside Story with Professor Anoush Ehteshami and Tehran University's Seyed Mohammad Marandi --- whom I had known for almost a decade --- to discuss the mass protests of the previous day and the Supreme Leader's moves for a possible recount. 

Marandi is now known as one of the most strident defenders, in English-language media, of the regime's legitimacy and its crackdown on opposition. Yet in this episode, he has yet to adopt the position that Presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have pursued "sedition" by calling out riotous supporters on the streets. Instead, he notes without criticism the presence of "both sides" --- the Green Movement and Ahmadinejad's supporters --- in making their cases over the election.

And my own position? I don't think I would change a single word of this, three years later: "I don't think we'll ever know if there was fraud committed last Friday....I think the issue is transparency....And I think there's also a power struggle going on within the political and clerical elites."

We re-post the full episode.


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Remember Iran Flashback: Four Scenarios for a Vote Recount (16 June 2009)

Ahmadinejad’s lead would almost certainly be cut, and the election would appear much more competitive, but he would still win outright. This would still ask some tough questions as to why the President’s majority was initially so huge and would probably still require some scapegoats.

This result would obviously not convince many core opposition supporters. Their reaction, however, could swing in one of two different directions.  They could feel that, even with a re-confirmed Ahmadinejad victory, this unprecedented enquiry means the establishment can be pushed further. On the other hand, they could feel that they have reached the limits of what they can achieve. Meanwhile, the political establishment could see this gesture as their final offer and then crack down hard on any further opposition.

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Remember Iran Flashback: "The Obama Administration Fails to React" (14 June 2009)

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Vice President Joe Biden, 14 June 2009: "Our interests are the same before the election as after the election"

In contrast to the drama unfolding on the streets of Iran, the key non-event outside the country is the lack of reaction from the Obama administration. Contrary to the position taken by the Bush administration in cases from the Ukraine to Georgia and Lebanon, there will be no welcoming or encouraging of a velvet revolution in Iran. The Obama administration is, instead, preparing itself to deal with whoever emerges as president. Despite the protestations of Mir-Hossein Mousavi's supporters, this will almost certainly be the incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. While the United States would have strongly preferred to be dealing with a Mousavi administration, the basic strategic and political rationale for US-Iranian rapprochement remains unchanged.

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Remember Iran: The Protests, the Repression...and the "Hope That Runs The World"

I remember those people. The Iranians who simply cared enough to take some time off from their daily chores and show up on their streets to ask for something different. The ones who now have to go about their lives feeling humiliated at the hands of their oppressive rulers. 

I do not think they have forgotten that humiliation.  More importantly, I do not think they have given up on a better future for themselves and for their children. A future where their elections aren't rigged. A future where they can vote for whoever they want --- not just a list of "approved" regime candidates. A future where they are not routinely stopped and harassed for long hair or not wearing their scarves low enough on their heads.

I do not think they've stopped dreaming about lower food prices, better wages, low unemployment, and a future where they do not live in a country considered an enemy by much of the world.

I remember them as I believe they remember themselves today. And I think they want their dignity back.

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Remember Iran Flashback: Text of Mousavi Letter to His Supporters (13 June 2009)

The reported results of the 10th Iranians residential Election are appalling. The people who witnessed the mixture of votes in long lineups know who they have voted for and observe the wizardry of I.R.I.B [Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting] and election officials.

Now more than ever before they want to know how and by which officials this game plan has been designed. I object fully to the current procedures and obvious and abundant deviations from law on the day of election and alert people to not surrender to this dangerous plot. Dishonesty and corruption of officials as we have seen will only result in weakening the pillars of the Islamic Republic of Iran and empowers lies and dictatorships.

I am obliged, due to my religious and national duties, to expose this dangerous plot and to explain its devastating effects on the future of Iran.

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Remember Iran: An EA Special

Tehran, 15 June 2009

Three years ago, in an atmosphere of excitement and expectation, Iranians went to the polls to select their President. Within 72 hours, that election became a catalyst for protest, anger, hope, and impassioned debate not only about the outcome but about the course of the Islamic Republic.

Beginning today and for the next two weeks, EA WorldView --- which began its Iran Live Coverage on 13 June 2009 --- will be carrying a series of articles and reflections about those events. We will be re-posting our original entries while considering what has and has not changed and what is yet to come.

We begin this morning with James Miller's reflections on 12 June 2009, Election Day, "A Day That Changed the Country, the Region, and the Media". We also have two articles that we posted at the time, "A Preview of the Presidential Election" and "How Not to Cover Iran's Elections --- The Awards Ceremony".


Remember Iran: A Day That Changed the Country, the Region, and the Media

Three years later, 12 June resonates. It represents the successes and failures of a region struggling to gain independence from old ideologies or colonial pasts. It represents the ability for a single individual to use new technology to become an agent of change. It represents the struggle of the media to cope with this change, to engage and understand a globally-connected world in an age of shrinking budgets and slashed news rooms. It also represents where the seed of EA WorldView was planted.

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