Doubts about the legitimacy of Friday’s election results in Iran has lead to clashes in the streets between riot police and hundreds of protesters. Gary Sick has more on what may be a political coup by incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, including this fascinating timeline of events:
On the basis of what we know so far, here is the sequence of events starting on the afternoon of election day, Friday, June 12.
* Near closing time of the polls, mobile text messaging was turned off nationwide
* Security forces poured out into the streets in large numbers
* The Ministry of Interior (election headquarters) was surrounded by concrete barriers and armed men
* National television began broadcasting pre-recorded messages calling for everyone to unite behind the winner
* The Mousavi campaign was informed officially that they had won the election, which perhaps served to temporarily lull them into complacency
* But then the Ministry of Interior announced a landslide victory for Ahmadinejad
* Unlike previous elections, there was no breakdown of the vote by province, which would have provided a way of judging its credibility
* The voting patterns announced by the government were identical in all parts of the country, an impossibility (also see the comments of Juan Cole at the title link)
* Less than 24 hours later, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamene`i publicly announced his congratulations to the winner, apparently confirming that the process was complete and irrevocable, contrary to constitutional requirements
* Shortly thereafter, all mobile phones, Facebook, and other social networks were blocked, as well as major foreign news sources.
Hugh Hewitt explains the potential significance of the protest:
If the Iranian people have the courage of the electorates in Ukraine, Lebanon and Philippines, this could be the week that the three decades of Islamist terror export begins to unravel. All of western media should be focusing every resource at its disposal on the election fraud and Khamenei’s and Ahmadinejad’s resort to brutal thuggery against the Iranian people. At Denver’s airport this morning I was amazed that coverage was at a minimum on CNN. Like the revolutions of 1989 in Europe, the next few days could have enormous consequences for the world for decades to come.
The topic has been the buzz of the blogosphere all weekend. So why isn’t the mainstream media giving it more attention?