6/17/09

Following Iran

Via the HuffPo
A Grand Ayatollah questions the election, supports peaceful protests.
Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, one of the leaders of the 1979 Islamic Revolution who fell out of favor with Khamenei over disagreements on civil and women's rights, has "issued a statement supporting peaceful protests to 'claim rights,' condemned the violence, and called the Iranian presidential election results into question." Translated version here.

Security services move into newspaper offices. From the New York Times' latest:
Tens of thousands of Iranians gathered in the streets here on Tuesday for a second day of mass demonstrations protesting the official results of Friday's presidential election, unsatisfied by a top government panel's agreement to conduct a partial recount.


As the political tumult grew, the Iranian government instituted tough restrictions on foreign journalists, formally shutting down their ability to report on the unrest on the streets. Press credentials of journalists temporarily in the country to cover the election were revoked; journalists stationed in Iran were required to get explicit permission to report beyond the confines of their offices.

Reporters Without Borders said that security services had moved into some newspaper offices to censor content and that four pro-reform newspapers have been closed or prevented from criticizing the official election results.

The result was a dearth of initial photographs and video of Tuesday's enormous opposition protest, which began on Valiasr Street, a major thoroughfare, and headed north. The tens of thousands of marchers -- perhaps more -- gathered without the help of text messaging or cell phone service, relying on word of mout.

Khamenei calls for "unity." From the AP:

State television says Iran's supreme leader has called for national unity during a meeting with representatives of the four candidates in disputed presidential elections.


Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for Iranians to unite behind the cleric-led ruling system despite rival demonstrations and street clashes between supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his reformist opponent Mir Hossein Mousavi, who says Ahmadinejad stole re-election.

Khamenei was quoted as saying that: "In the elections, voters had different tendencies, but they equally believe in the ruling system and support the Islamic Republic."

Khamenei, Iran's ultimate authority, says that representatives of all four candidates should be present for any limited recount of disputed ballots, which the country's cleric-led Guardian Council said Tuesday that it would be willing to conduct.

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