Since the results of Iran’s June 12 presidential elections, the capital city of Tehran has erupted in a stream of protests unlike anything the country has seen since the revolution of 1979. Hundreds of thousands have come to the streets in protests.
The protests stem from results showing a landslide victory for incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with the official vote putting him ahead of the lead challenger, former prime minister Mir Hussein Moussavi. According to The New York Times, Iranian election officials said a record 85 percent voter turnout put Ahmadinejad ahead of Moussavi by 11 million votes.
But Moussavi’s supporters claim the election was a fraud. The day after the polls, both lead candidates claimed victory by a large margin, even though many analysts predicted a runoff election, but then foresaw Moussavi’s overwhelming support as enough to propel him to a first-round victory.
If Iran’s election was indeed legitimate, why is the government cracking down so much on protests, disrupting Internet communication and evicting foreign journalists? For a country that claims to be a republic, those actions seem quite undemocratic.
There’s been a Tweet on Twitter that began circulating a few days ago: “If Iran sleeps tonight, it will sleep forever.” Many are still spearheading that battle cry and sticking to the streets, despite threats of further arrests and violence.
Amnesty International has now spoken out against Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who says the people’s safety will lie in their own hands if they do not disperse.
“We are extremely disturbed at statements made by Ayatollah Khamenei, which seem to give the green light to security forces to violently handle protesters exercising their right to demonstrate and express their views,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme, in a statement.
Do you feel the elections were rigged and what do you see the final outcome being?