Iran Election Guide

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The Iran Crisis (Day 17): What to Watch For Today

The Latest from Iran (28 June): The Regime Tries to Wrap Up the Election
NEW Text: Mousavi Letter to Guardian Council (27 June)
NEW Text: Mousavi Letter to Overseas Supporters (24 June)
The Latest from Iran (27 June): Situation Normal. Move Along.

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IRAN GREENIn the next eight hours we may know whether the high-profile challenge both to the Presidential vote and to the Iranian system continues or whether the, movement for change enters a longer-term, less visible phase. The Guardian Council will declare, after its purported recount of 10% of the ballot boxes, that the election was fair and that the count was accurate. What is unknown is whether all campaigns, and in particular those of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, will endorse the result. If they are, then this should end the high-level opposition, and  protest (while still very significant) will be carried out in numerous, often subtle ways; if the representatives stay away, then leading politicians and clerics have not given up.

There still may be yet another short-term compromise which delays any immediate resolution. On Thursday, the Guardian Council announced that a "special committee" would conduct an enquiry into the conduct of the election. It asked that all campaigns designate members of the committee. As of this morning, the Mousavi and Karroubi camps have not named their representatives, arguing that other members appointed by the Council are not fair and neutral.

Press TV's website offers one important signal, one that never made it to "Western" media yesterday, behind the manoeuvres.. The Expediency Council, which nominally rules on disputes of law and the political process, called on all candidates to cooperate fully with the Guardian Council's "inquiry": “As the best and most appropriate way, the Expediency Council asks all to observe the law and resolve conflicts and disputes (concerning the election) through legal channels.” Beyond the formal statement is the apparent concession of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani to the re-election of his foe, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Rafsanjani leads the Council and, soon after the vote, had tried to bring it into the open against the outcome.

Behind this political showpiece is the threatening backdrop of the crackdown on dissent. Public clashes continues, even if it is difficult to get details (yesterday's alleged beating of women activists in Laleh Park is a pertinent case). Easier to document, even amidst the media blackout, is the scale of the arrests and detentions. Hundreds, including the most important associates and advisors of Mousavi and former President Mohammad Khatami, journalists (both "mainstream" and "new media", such as the Twitterer "persiankiwi"), students, and other activists, are now in prison.

Text: Mousavi Letter to Guardian Council (27 June)

The Latest from Iran (28 June): The Regime Tries to Wrap Up the Election
The Iran Crisis (Day 17): What to Watch For Today

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MOUSAVI4This weekend, candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, in the context both of the Guardian Council's purported recount of 10% of the Presidential vote and its appointment of a "special committee" to conduct an enquiry into the electoral process, wrote a letter calling for an annulment of the election and a new vote. He also objected to the composition of the "special committee" and call for a fair, neutral arbitration panel consisting of legal and religious specialists. Via Tehran Bureau:

Based on what I already informed the Council about, the extent and depth of the unlawful acts [of the government] in four distinct categories, namely,

1. The election campaigns, and what the government did prior to Election Day;
2. The collection of the votes [on June 12] and their enumeration;
3. Summarizing the results and announcing them [and],
4. What has taken place after announcing the results,

are such that there is no remedy for them other than annulment of the entire election and holding a new one.

As examples, I point out certain violations and unlawful acts that are recognized by Article 33 of the laws of presidential elections as violations that influence the overall result of the elections and, therefore, leave no choice but annulment of the elections:

1. Explicit and widespread violation of Article 68 of the elction laws that forbids the use of public resources for, and the intervention of the cabinet members, senior officials, governor-generals, and managers in favor of the candidate of the establishment [President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad].

2. Violation of the neutrality of the Voice and Visage [Seda va Sima: National Iranian Radio and Television Network], and making unfounded accusations [against the reformist candidates] by that organ, the unlawful nature of some of which has also been confirmed by Iran’s Chief Justice [Ghorbanali Dorri Najafabadi], as well as widespread campaign and propaganda by governmental organizations, such as IRNA [Iran’s official news agency], newspapers, and websites in favor of the establishment’s candidate.

3. Widespread violations of Article 33 of the presidential election laws:

a. buying votes by distributing the so-called “justice stocks and shares” and cash among the peasants.
b. Threatening, as well as bribing by cash, members of the city councils, influential people, etc.
c. Lack of confidence in the ballot boxes being empty before they were sealed [before voting], disappearance of the
voting forms and ballot boxes after voting, due to the fact that [our] monitors had been barred from being present at
the voting places, as well as based on reports that have been received.
d. Denying people’s rights to vote by limiting the hours of voting, and many other violations, such as lack of voting
forms at the voting locations.
e. Fraud in voting by not having enough voting forms at voting places, even though 12 million additional forms [on top
of the 47 million needed for the number of eligible voters] had already been printed, and printing of an additional 2.5
million forms (and perhaps more) that had no official serial numbers had also been authorized by a member of the
Council. Such violations can undoubtedly be proven by comparing the completed voting forms with the information in
the Information Bank [that the government keeps of all the Iranian people].
f. “Recommendation” to people by the officials working at voting places for whom they should vote, and selecting such
officials and monitors from amongst the ranks of the establishment candidate.
g. Intimidating the voters and supporters of the reformist candidates in the week before the election, and attacking
their campaign headquarters and their supporters in the legal gathering and rallies around the country.
h. Setting many limitations for the [reformist] candidates’ monitors to attend the meetings of the executive committees
[that supervise the elections], be present at the centers where the votes were collected and counted, as well as at
a significant number of voting locations.
i. Cutting off, on the voting day, all means of mass communications, such as SMS and cell phones, which are used for
monitoring the elections and reporting unlawful acts to my campaign headquarters, so that we could pursue the legal
channels to stop them.
j. Collecting the votes in a way that could not be monitored, and announcing the results in an “engineered” way (while,
even before announcing the results by the Interior Ministry, the websites that are linked with the government, the
Sepaah [the Revolutionary Guards], and [the daily] Kayhan [the mouthpiece of the hard-liners] had already
announced the results).
k. Widespread intervention in the elections by some parts of the armed forces prior and during the elections, which is
against the explicit order of the Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who had forbidden the military from intervention in
political affairs].
l. The existence of more 170 voting districts [out of a total of 368] in which the percentage of the votes cast was
between 95% and 140% of the total number of eligible voters.
m. Attacking my [Mr. Mousavi’s] campaign headquarters throughout the country, shutting down my central campaign
headquarter [in Tehran], and arresting the campaign chairman and its active members, which disrupted our work for
collecting information and documents on the violations of the election law.


All the above items indicate the existence of prior planning and organization for violating the election law. Since the Guardian Council has already stated that investigating some of the violations is beyond its authority, and because some of the violations were committed by the Interior Minister [Sadegh Mahsouli], other senior officials in the Ministry, and some members of the Guardian Council who violated the principle of neutrality, an impartial investigation of the violations cannot be done by the Guardian Council, as well as any committee that is appointed by the Council. Indeed, some members of the committee were not neutral in the elections, and have stated their positions before the investigation has been conducted and, therefore, cannot contribute to removing the public’s doubts about the elections.

Therefore, I [Mr. Mousavi] insist once again that the best way of addressing the issue and regaining the nation’s trust in the election process is by annulling the election and appointing a national adjudicating team that can be trusted by the public and its verdict can be accepted by it. Thus, I suggest that the issue should be referred to an independent legal team trusted by all the candidates and the religious leaders.

Text: Mousavi Letter to Overseas Supporters (24 June)

The Latest from Iran (28 June): The Regime Tries to Wrap Up the Election
The Iran Crisis (Day 17): What to Watch For Today

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MOUSAVI3Via the Iranian newspaper Payvand:

In the Name of the God, The Compassionate, The Merciful

Dear compatriots,
Honorable Iranians living abroad,

Your widespread and energetic presence in this year's 22 Khordad elections is indicative of your ties to our beloved Iran, and your admirable worries about the future of your country, and as I mentioned to you in my election message, Iran belongs to all Iranians and all layers of the populous are responsible for its future, and enjoy the same rights in it.

I feel obliged to thank you for your epic presence in determining the future of your country. Your widespread welcoming of these elections and your green and energetic presence at the ballot boxes was so large that it even forced the government and the organizers of the elections to admit to a 300% increase in the participation of Iranians in the tenth presidential elections outside of the country.

Your trust in this insignificant civil servant and your decisive vote for me in most of the voting stations outside of the country has placed a heavy burden on my shoulders. I would like to give you my assurance that I remain true to my existing pact with you and all layers of the great people of Iran, and using all legal avenues will demand your deserved rights that have been violated at the ballot boxes.

Unfortunately, as you witness in the international media, contrary to the letter of the constitution, and the stated freedoms in the Islamic Republic, all my communication with the people and you has been cut off, and people's peaceful objections are being crushed. The national media which is being financed with public funds, with a revolting misrepresentation is changing the truth, and labels the peaceful march of close to three million people as anarchist, and the media that are being controlled by the government have become the mouthpiece of those who have stolen the people's votes.

I'd like to thank you again for your peaceful objections which have received widespread coverage across the world, and would like to ask you that by using all legal channels, and by remaining faithful to the sacred system of the Islamic Republic, to make sure that your objections are heard by the authorities in the country. I am fully aware that your justified demands have nothing to do with groups who do not believe in the sacred Islamic Republic of Iran's system. It is up to you to distance yourself from them, and do not allow them to misuse the current situation.

Mir Hossein Mousavi
1388/4/3 (June 24, 2009)

The Latest from Iran (27 June): Situation Normal. Move Along.

The Iran Crisis (Day 16): What to Watch For Today
The Latest from Iran (26 June): It’s (No Longer) A Thriller

NEW Making Links: Extract from Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”
UPDATED Iran: A Tale of Two Twitterers

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IRAN GREEN2230 GMT: Reports circulating that "persiankiwi", one of the key Iranian sources on Twitter for information and comment (see separate entry), has been arrested.

2200 GMT: Reports tonight that a group of women's rights activists, assembling in Laleh Park to light candles for Neda Agha Soltan and others killed in post-election protests, were violently dispersed by security forces. News agencies supporting the Government took pictures with telephoto lenses, and extra female officers were on hand to deal with the demonstrators.

1730 GMT: More manoeuvring ahead of the Guardian Council's attempt on Sunday to close off any discussion of the election outcome. Mir Hossein Mousavi has written to the Council (link in Farsi), requesting a legal and religious body of arbitration accepted by all candidates". This is a clear attempt to build on notions that the Council is far from neutral, a concern raised by "establishment" figures like Ali Larijani last week.

Presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi has reiterated his current position in a meeting with the National Security Council, saying he will pursue through "legal means" an annulment of the vote.

1540 GMT: Reuters has confirmed the news, which emerged yesterday, that the head of Mir Hossein Mousavi's media office, Abolfazl Fateh, has been barred from leaving Iran. Fateh is a doctoral student in Britain.

1430 GMT: The Islamic Iran Participation Front, the reformist organisation of former President Mohammad Khatami and high-profile detainees such as Saeed Hajjarian, Mostafa Tajzadeh, and Abdollah Ramezanzadeh has issued a statement declaring that any "staged confession" is "illegal". It is warning of the "intoxication of power" of State authorities and their further plans for the opposition.
1340 GMT: A hitch in the Iranian regime's plans for confirmation of a Guardian Council "recount" (see 1215 GMT). Gerami Moghadam, the speaker of Mahdi Karroubi's Etemad Melli Party, has said that Karroubi will only send a representative if two members of the special group attending the recount are changed.

1330 GMT: Zahra Rahnavard, the wife of Mir Hossein Mousavi, has issued a statement on the Mousavi website denying her detention, "I haven't been arrested, I continue my academic duties, I remain opposed yet committed to the law."

1215 GMT: While all remains quiet for today, here's a look at the regime's scenario for Sunday:

Guardian Council declares, after a "recount" of 10% of the ballot boxes, that the Presidential election result is valid. Representatives of all campaigns, attending the session, accept the outcome, ending the immediate battle against President Ahmadinejad.

Why would the representatives of candidates such as Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi agree?

Hundreds of detainees, including the top people from the opposition campaigns, in Iranian jails, few if any of whom are released before the official vote count is endorsed.

0915 GMT: The US-Iran Sideshow. Press TV's website reports on a Washington poke-in-the-eye for Tehran. US authorities denied visas for Iran's First Vice President, Dr. Parviz Davoudi, and the rest of the delegation to attend a United Nations conference on the world economic crisis on Friday.

While this is a far more notable rebuke than the non-story, seized on by the media, that the US Government had withdrawn invitations for Iranian diplomats to eat hot dogs at 4th of July parties at American embassies, it's a token wrist-slap for Iran. Still, it's enough to rankle the Iranian Ambassador to the UN, Mohammad Khazaee, and Press TV, which also wins today's award for Wide-Eyed Innocence:
It remains unclear...whether [the visa denial] had anything to do with the United States' position on the outcome of Iran's recent presidential elections.

0715 GMT: The lockdown on significant information from Iran is almost complete. Non-Iranian media, browbeaten by Tehran's authorities, have now moved to other stories (to its credit, Al Jazeera has picked up on the escalating problems in Iraq rather than joining the Michael Jackson procession). The opposition leadership's newspapers have been shut down and its websites curbed. The flow of videos from citizen journalists has all but stopped.

And now the Twitter sources are dropping off. Two of the most important observers, whom we profiled earlier this week, are again silent, and others just cannot find or get out the information that is needed. (There are still a few important, vital exceptions, whose work you'll see in our updates. Fingers crossed that they can continue in their efforts.)

Making Links: Extract from Martin Luther King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" 

The Latest from Iran (27 June): Situation Normal. Move Along.

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IRAN GREENJust thought this might be of interest --- WSL (native of Birmingham, Alabama; Adjunct Professor, University of Tehran, Iran)

16 April 1963

You may well ask: "Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?"

You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood....

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

Read full letter....
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