Iran Elections 2009: voter fraud & rigged results? Mixed reports
Since Mahmoud Ahmedinejad annouced his victory in the Iranina Elections there has been reports of voter fraud and rigged elections, and violent protests are taking place in Tehran from Mousavi supporters who say they were robbed of the election they voted for.
The trouble with reporting on an issue that is taking place in a country where the media is state run, and where they shut down communication systems to their residents to avoid information getting out is that the reports coming out of country are often biased and unconfirmed and it's becoming increasingly difficult to find Iranians that are able to get any messages out.
There are some members on Twitter who are in Iran right now:
jimsciuttoABC (from ABC news)
Very few western media organisations have people on the ground in Tehran. Jim Scuitto from ABC News is there, the BBC has some reporters there and there are a few others including Abbas Barzegar from The Guardian.
Mr. Barzegar has recently filed a report on what he has learned from being in Iran for one week and covering the elections. He does not seem to agree that it's as easy to cry 'voter fraud' as many of Mousavi's reporters are doing.
Of course, the rather real possibility of voter fraud exists and one must wait in the coming weeks to see how these allegations unfold. But one should recall that in three decades of presidential elections, the accusations of rigging have rarely been levied against the vote count. Elections here are typically controlled by banning candidates from the start or closing opposition newspapers in advance.
The sentimental implausibility of Ahmedinejad's victory that Mousavi's supporters set forth as the evidence of state corruption must be met by the equal implausibility that such widespread corruption could take place under clear daylight.
While Mr. Baregar does not deny that Mousavi's supporters were rioting in the streets, some of the events have been elaborated upon by the Western media:
On Monday night at least 100,000 of the former prime minister's supporters set up a human chain across Tehran. But, hours before I had attended a mass rally for the incumbent president that got little to no coverage in the western press because, on account of the crowds, he never made it inside the hall to give his speech. Minimal estimates from that gathering have been placed at 600,000 (enthusiasts say a million). From the roof I watched as the veiled women and bearded men of all ages poured like lava.
There are some blogs reporting from Iran however, such as Revolutionary Road who reports:
Supporters of the main election challenger to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad clashed with police and set up barricades of burning tires today as authorities declared the hard-line president was re-elected in a landslide. Opponents responded with the most serious unrest in the capital in a decade and charges that the result was the work of a "dictatorship."
Access to media outliets is currently heavily restricted inside Iran at this time so reporters outside the country are trying to piece together what could be happening from what actually is happening. There is no doubt protests are taking place there however, and it remains to be seen if there will be any enquiry into voter fraud and what will happen to the Presidency of Iran.
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