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Mon Jun 15 2009 (Updated 06/17/09) June 12th Election Sparks Largest Protests in Iran Since 1979
On June 15th, hundreds of thousands protested in Tehran, despite being warned by state officials that any such rally would be illegal. The demonstration, the largest in Iran's 30-year history, was presidential candidate Mousavi's first public appearance after the election. Protests focused around Azadi Tower, around which lines of people stretched for more than nine kilometers. Gunshots were reported to have been fired at the rally, and at least one protester was killed.

Iran held a presidential election on June 12th. In the weeks before the election, huge candidate rallies were held in several Iranian cities, and turnout was high with over 80 percent of the electorate reportedly voting. At the closing of election polls, both leading candidates, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mir-Hossein Mousavi, claimed victory, with both candidates telling the press that their sources have them at 58–60% of the total vote.

Protesters began calling for a recount or the election to be re-run after the Interior Ministry announced that President Ahmadinejad had won over 62 percent of the vote, with only 34 percent going to opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi. The massive turnout his campaign generated was expected to give him a larger share of the vote.

Clashes broke out between police and groups protesting the election results from early morning Saturday onward. Police stormed dorms at the University of Tehran on Sunday and there were reports of several deaths and many arrests.

Mousavi served as the fifth and last Prime Minister of the Islamic republic of Iran from 1981 to 1989 and many complained about political oppression under his rule. In recent weeks he has said that if elected President we would promote the creation of private, non-governmental TV networks and stop the operation of the "Moral Police".

The WSWS writes:

Mousavi speaks for sections of the regime who are seeking to ease tensions with the US as a means of ending international sanctions and opening up the deteriorating Iranian economy to foreign capital. For all the fanfare of its highly-orchestrated “colour revolution”—in this case, green—Mousavi’s campaign was directed at a relatively narrow social base—the urban middle classes, particularly students and youth. Moreover, his criticisms of Ahmadinejad’s handouts—particularly in rural areas—will only have alienated broad layers of the working class and rural poor, who, while discontented over rising unemployment and soaring inflation, would hardly welcome the tougher austerity measures advocated by the “reformers”.

Those suspicions would have been reinforced by the support for Mousavi from two former presidents—Mohammad Khatami and Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Ahmadinejad won an upset victory in the 2005 presidential elections by capitalising on the widespread anger among working people over the impact of Khatami’s free market agenda from 1997 and 2005.

Protests and Police Brutality: imc_audio.gifProtests Continue in Iran; Government Cracks Down on Foreign Media | Dueling Demonstrations in Tehran | We don't have Mousavi supporters, it's now all of Iran... | Another Day of Rallies Planned; Press, Internet Crackdowns Announced | imc_audio.gifHundreds of Thousands Protest in Tehran Accusing Ahmadinejad Of Stealing Election | 8 Killed in Tehran Clashes; Reformists Reject Recount Offer | imc_audio.gifIran in Turmoil After Disputed Presidential Election | 12 students reported killed in crackdown after violent clashes | Struggle over Election Results Continues in Iran | Juan Cole: Stealing the Iranian Election | The Revolution has begun | Robert Fisk on Iran: The day of destiny | Rafsanjani: shark or kingmaker? | Clumsy fraud provokes mass demonstrations | Amnesty International: Violence against demonstrators marks new presidential term in Iran | HRW: End Violence Against Peaceful Protests

Analysis, U.S. Role & Western Coverage: For workers’ power and a socialist Iran | What does it mean and where is it going? | What if Twitter is leading us all astray in Iran? | Election clashes mount as West escalates pressure | The Iranian Elections | The Nation magazine and the Iranian election

Constantly Updated Coverage: Huffington Post | ContraLaGuerra | Wikipedia: 2009 Iranian Elections
Twitter Feeds From Iran: TehranBureau | StopAhmadi | tehranelection9 | persiankiwi
Twitpic Photos: rodrigomx | cargotom | madyar
Flickr Photos: mousavi1388
YouTube Videos: kosoofvid | IransFreedom | aligh8463 | lighting police station on fire

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