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2009 June 16 — Why Now?
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The ABC reports that their coverage of Iran is about to decline: Time to go: ABC forced out of Iran.

The Independent Middle East reporter ignores the government of Iran, as he has ignored government edicts throughout the region: Extraordinary scenes: Robert Fisk in Iran.

What is interesting in both reports are the indications that the powers that be are softening their attitude towards the Mousavi demonstrators. The local media is starting to report on their existence, rather than ignoring them totally, and Fisk noted that units that he identifies as “Special Forces” actually kept the Basij and Ahmadinejad supporters from attacking the Mousavi people.

To date, at least 7 people were killed in the attack at Tehran University, in addition to the 7 or 8 people who died at the end of the massive demonstration yesterday. That is probably why the “Special Forces” were deployed.

June 16, 2009   4 Comments

How Fast Was It?

When I said on Saturday that ballots were counted too quickly, that was based on the delayed reporting in the West. I had no true idea on how quickly the election was called, I assumed it was less than 12 hours from the polls closing.

Farnaz Fassihi of the Wall Street Journal in Tehran says in his article, Crowds, Calm and Then Gunshots:

When the state announced, less than two hours after polls had closed on Friday, that Mr. Ahmadinejad had won by a landslide, supporters of his rivals were shocked. When they found out about allegations of widespread cheating and rigging of votes, they were outraged.

The two hours was confirmed by Karim Sadjadpour in CNN’s Q & A: Was the Iranian election rigged?.

Almost 40 million hand-written, folded, paper ballots in boxes in a country the size of Alaska, and in two hours they know results of a four-way election – that is what you have to believe to accept this election as free and fair.

June 16, 2009   4 Comments

BBC Covers Iran

The BBC has consistantly led in Iran coverage

Iran’s powerful Guardian Council says it is ready to recount disputed votes from Friday’s presidential poll.

The authorities announced sweeping restrictions on foreign media covering the protest and other “unauthorised events”.

Dozens of people have been arrested since the protests began. Mohammad Ali Abtahi, a close aide of ex-President Mohammad Khatami, was detained at his home in Tehran on Tuesday.

Those detained also include prominent journalist and academic Ahmad Zeidabadi. His wife says he was picked up in the middle of the night on Saturday.

I assume that the authorities are covering CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, CBE like a carpet, as she hasn’t been able to say much from the scene. We’ll find out more once she’s out of Iran. The CNN coverage is unbelievably muted since yesterday.

Picking up Zeidabadi on Saturday indicates the authorities knew almost immediately there was going to be trouble over their crude theft of the election. I would guess that they started seeing the early results from Tehran and panicked, which would explain the unbelievable results that were reported. It was almost as if they issued an edict that every district would report the same percentage of the total votes cast.

The recount offer of the Guardian Council is really too little, too late, although it might be entertaining to watch the Ministry of the Interior attempt to create all of the ballots needed to justify the results they reported. The Council only offered a recount in specific districts, not a general recount.

June 16, 2009   Comments Off on BBC Covers Iran

It’s A Trap

McClatchy has reported that Iran expels many foreign reporters as more violence looms

TEHRAN, Iran — With at least seven people dead in street violence, Iran’s government Tuesday ordered foreign journalists to halt their coverage of demonstrations, and reporters with temporary visas to leave the country. More violence loomed as opponents and backers of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad scheduled rival demonstrations.

Backers of candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who says he won Friday’s election, had intended to converge on Tehran’s Vali Asr square at 5 p.m. (8:30 a.m. EDT). However, state-controlled media exhorted Ahmadinejad’s supporters to gather in the same spot an hour earlier. Iranian television showed tens of thousands of them filling the square and nearby streets, and it wasn’t immediately clear whether Mousavi’s crowds would show up.

The orders affecting foreign journalists were an ominous sign, and could mean that a full-scale crackdown on the students and other protesters is coming. Foreign journalists who had visas to cover the elections were informed that their press credentials had been revoked and they should prepare to leave the country.

The regime has stepped up its allegations that forces outside the country are fomenting the unrest.

It is always “outside agitators” when conservatives “reap what they sow”.

Ahmadinejad is safely away in Ekatrinaburg, Russia as part of an observer delegation to the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization so he will have plausible deniability for what the security forces are trying to arrange.  They want the demonstrations to end, and they will brutalize as many people as necessary to make that happen.

I noticed that John McCain wants the US to take a forceful stand backing the demonstrators. John, these are the same Iranians that you keep saying should be bombed. Which is it? Do you want them all to gather in the city squares so they are easy to kill, or what? Make up your mind – are Iranians good or bad?

June 16, 2009   8 Comments