After two days of opposition and pro-government demonstrations following Iran’s presidential election last week, Iran’s Guardian Council has flagged the possibility of recounts at polling stations where vote tampering is suspected.
Observers around the world have been captivated by the unrest in Tehran as eye-witness accounts of the authorities’ violent response to anti-government protest are disseminated globally by social media sites.
The BBC describes the Iranian government’s crackdown on journalists in Iran covering the election, reporting that journalists are now required to gain explicit permission to leave the office to cover stories. There have also been dozens of arrests in Iran following the elections.
Former BBC Tehran correspondent Jim Muir identifies key differences between protests in Iran in 1999 and 2003 and the current unrest on the streets of Tehran. Presidential challenger and former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi’s prominence in Iranian politics, plus the sheer size of the recent protests, “carries the current dissension into the heart of the Islamic power system.”
Also at BBC is a day-by-day timeline detailing events since last Friday’s election.
At FiveThirtyEight Nate Silver has analysed voting trends in Iran, testing the plausibility of Ahmadinejad’s landslide victory. The legitimacy of his win, argues Silver, rests with the voters who went with liberal candidate Mehdi Karroubi in the 2005 election. “If Ahmadinejad won the election, he did it by winning over these rural Karrobui voters. And if he stole it, those were the votes he stole or intimidated.”
Ari Berman, posting for The Notion, gives an overview of the innovative reporting coming out of Iran since last week’s election. On his list is the output of Andrew Sullivan, who has blogged himself into a frenzy at The Daily Dish. Sullivan, who has been posting video and tweets of the unrest, is calling Iran’s civil unrest a “revolution”. Huffington’s Nico Pitney has also been busy live-blogging the election. His numerous posts include eye-witness accounts from readers on the ground in Tehran.
Michael Hirsch at Newsweek likens the challenges posed to the Iranian government by this week’s civil unrest to that faced by the Chinese government in 1989 after Tiananmen. Hirsch predicts significant political change for Iran, as “popular figures such as Mir Hossein Mousavi, the leading opposition candidate, are now directly attacking the regime’s power structure.”
Trita Parsi at Time counters commentators touting the protests as revolutionary with a reminder that “what’s often forgotten amid the genuinely awe-inspiring spectacle of hundreds of thousands of long-suppressed people risking their lives on the streets to demand change is the fact that the political contest playing out in the election is, in fact, among rival factions of the same regime.”
At NYT Neil MacFarquhar argues that by rushing to declare the election won by Ahmadinejad, Ayatollah Khamenei “has opened a serious fissure in the face of Islamic rule and one that may prove impossible to patch over”.
At the Daily Beast, Salameh Nematt looks at the ‘huge dilemma’ Iran now poses to the Obama administration. “If Obama does not encourage democracy, as he promised he would in his Cairo speech early this month, he will expose himself to accusations of hypocrisy and will appear to be appeasing the theocracy in Tehran.”