Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Twitter (12)


First-Hand (Iran) Story: How Twitter is Changing Broadcasting

The Latest from Iran: Demonstrations and An Appeal to the Guardian Council (15 June)

TWITTERI just came off-air from an interview with the BBC World Service and thought I would share the following:

0907 GMT: News comes via BreakingNews on Twitter, picking up on Iranian state media, that "IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER ORDERS INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGATIONS OF ELECTION FRAUD". Later "tweets" relay Iranian state media that Ayatollah Khameni met with Presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi before making the announcement.

0923 GMT: Enduring America posts update on Khamenei's meeting with Mousavi and the order for the enquiry.

0930 GMT: I tell the BBC World Service producer of Khamenei's order. He is unaware of the development.

0934 GMT: The BBC World Service, drawing from Associated Press Online, announces --- in the middle of an interview with Dr Ali Ansari on the Iranian internal situation --- that Ayatollah Khamenei has ordered an investigation of electoral fraud.

0937 GMT: I go on-air to talk about the US response to developments in Iran.

Latest Updates from Iran: Protests and Rumours (14 June)

NEW The Latest from Iran: Demonstrations and An Appeal to the Guardian Council (15 June)

NEW Video of Protests in and beyond Tehran and Protests in Shiraz and Mashhad
Related Post: Iran and the US - EA’s Chris Emery in The Guardian and Chris Emery on BBC News 24
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Related Post: Iran's Election - Ten Indications That The Results Were Altered


We are signing off for the night. Thanks to all who kept up with us today and our thoughts with friends and colleagues in Tehran. We'll be back about 0530 GMT.

2230 GMT: Reports indicate that, although it is 3 a.m. in Iran, people are still milling about and shouting on the streets.

2100 GMT: Claims are coming in that tanks are on the streets of Tehran.

2045 GMT: We're sifting through reports of killings and of political developments; the latest is that Mir Hossein Mousavi will not be allowed to speak at the Tehran rally tomorrow afternoon. Meanwhile, we have posted latest video from protests yesterday and today.

1920 GMT: Protestors claim to have taken down Ahmadinejad's website by "swarming" it. They are now targeting Ayatollah Khamenei's website.

1845 GMT: Reports of four people killed in demonstrations in Rasht. There are claims of additional minibuses arriving with extra security forces and police.

The rally organised by Mousavi headquarters will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Tehran time (1130 to 1330 GMT) on Monday, marching from Enqelab Square to Azadi (Freedom) Square. Mousavi will address the crowd.

1730 GMT: Numerous reports of clashes at universities across Iran, with students beaten and detained. Universities include Tehran, Sharif, and Guilan in Rasht. Final examinations have been postponed at a number of universities.

According to Tehran Bureau, Zahra Rahnavard, the wife of Mir Hossein Mousavi, has confirmed plans for a rally on Monday and a national strike on Tuesday. She made the announcement in a talk to University students in Tehran.

1425 GMT: Although the importance of the public response to the election outcome should not be underestimated, it appears that events may now turn on a power struggle at the highest levels of the Iranian system.

In this reading of developments, it is not just an issue of President Ahmadinejad trying to retain his office but of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, preferring to work with a "new generation" of politicians rather than an older group associated with the years after the Islamic Revolution (examples include Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mir Hossein Mousavi, and Mehdi Karroubi).

This strategy is now being resisted not only by Mousavi, who has a history of differences with the Supreme Leader from his days as Prime Minister in the 1980s, but also by former President Rafsanjani. Rafsanjani, who lost to Ahmadinejad in the 2005 election, was the target of the current President's attacks just before the election.

Ahmadinejad's latest verbal salvo was his declaration last night that this was the time for the best representatives of the people to come forward and not just those who had worked with the Father of the Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini. Meanwhile, there were stories of Rafsanjani meeting with Mousavi and Karroubi to plan their next steps to overturn the outcome and, consequently, to challenge the Supreme Leader.

We're preparing a full analysis of this struggle for Monday.

1300 GMT: Pro-Mousavi outlets are saying that there will be a march along Vali Asr Boulevard, a main Tehran north-south road, on Monday and a national strike on Tuesday.

1220 GMT: We have received our first message from Iran via Facebook in more than 24 hours.

Reports from Sharif University claim more than 2000 people are protesting.

1145 GMT: Iranian authorities have closed down Al-Arabiya's bureau in Tehran.

1130 GMT: Have just returned from a jogging break to join President Ahmadinejad's news conference in progress. Ahmadinejad, after declaring the Friday result was "the will of the people", is playing the nationalist card, in particular the Iran v. the "West" card. He is attacking Western media for their interference and saying that Western countries only accept "democracy" if the decision goes the way that they wish.

1025 GMT: The Mousavi campaign has told Al Jazeera that it will appeal to the Guardian Council, and it has applied to the Ministry of the Interior for a permit to hold a rally in Tehran. Al Jazeera's correspondent, continuing to be extremely careful on-air, has downplayed the move to the Guardian Council, as there is "no indication the election was anything but free and fair".

0955 GMT: Reports of protests at Sharif University, with 120 faculty resigning.

0910 GMT: Al Jazeera's correspondent in Tehran is being very careful with what he says on-air. He is cautious in references to demonstrations and questions the reports of arrest of more than 100 activists.

Students at Tehran University report that security forces entered the dormitories during the night. Further demonstrations are planned for today.

IRAN DEMOS 2Protesters have blocked one of the major expressways in/out of Tehran, bringing traffic to a standstill.

0905 GMT: Al Jazeera reports that the Ministry of the Interior has prohibited any unapproved public gathering but the order is being defied. This is apparent "spontaneous", as Mousavi headquarters are not supporting a public rally at this point. There are now reports of tear gas being used on demonstrators near Ahmadinejad headquarters.

Reports are also emerging of demonstrations and clashes in Rasht.

0900 GMT: There is still contact via the Internet with Iran, although reports are that the service is extremely slow, and there are fears of monitoring by security services.

Reports, apparently based on information given several hours ago to Reuters by former Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi, are that more than 100 "reformist" activists have been arrested. According to Abtahi, many of those arrested were members of the party Mosharekat. The brother of former President Mohammad Khatami is also reportedly among those detained.

0740 GMT: I have just seen an extraordinary interview on Al Jazeera. Professor Sadegh Zibakalam, the head of Iranian Studies at the University of Tehran, in contrast to the official line, commented on "spontaneous" demonstrations, emphasizing that they are without leadership so far. He added that there are rumours of the house arrest of Mousavi and also of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Zibakalam then began to criticise the Government reaction as "too harsh". At that point the feed to Al Jazeera was cut.

0735 GMT: Attention will soon turn to both the official Ahmadinejad victory celebration and any counter-demonstrations and rallies. Already there is tension over a supposed call for Mousavi supporters to rally in front of his campaign headquarters at 12:30 Tehran time --- some believe this is a trap laid by security forces, and Mousavi's office is calling on people to hold back from attending.

MORNING UPDATE 0700 GMT: The last few hours have been dominated by stories that opposition leaders, including Presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, have been put under house arrest. Just before midnight GMT, the news of Mousavi's arrest was sent on Twitter by a pro-Mousavi activist (who is also the source of the dramatic photos we mentioned in yesterday's updates).

It is very difficult to get any information on this, as well as claims that up to 100 Iranians have been killed in protests. Social media such as Facebook have been cut, mobile phone service has been suspended or restricted, and it appears the Internet has been cut or seriously disrupted. Important but sometimes unverified information can be gathered through a few websites such as Tehran Bureau (although access to this is now difficult --- the Twitter site is still working). Our most important link to news now is via first-hand testimony on Twitter --- we have to be careful about unverified claims and even mis-information, but are doing our best to cross-check.

Press TV English has turned into an outlet for Ahmadinejad's victory. It has just led its news with stories of Ayatollah Khamenei's endorsement of the outcome, Ahmadinejad's speech, and a report of the vote. They also had a political analyst denouncing Mousavi's press conference on Friday claiming victory (although another analyst then wondered how Mousavi received only a third of the vote when "everyone" in Tehran was claiming to vote for him. The only reference to the demonstrations was a brief anodyne shot of a couple of protestors with the follow-up that the police said "everything was under control".
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