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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Another round of Iran links as we head into the American nighttime.

* Reports on Twitter have many buildings in Tehran on fire tonight, as well as skirmishes between students and police near the University of Tehran and cries of "Allahu Akbar!" (as in 1979) from the rooftops. Sullivan has an evocative post on the surprising role Twitter has played in all this.

* Reports that Iranian police have placed Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Gholamhossein Karbasch under house arrest have apparently been confirmed. Here's Mousavi's letter to Iran.

I advise all officials to halt this agenda at once before it is too late, return to the rule of law and protect the nation’s vote and know that deviation from law renders them illegitimate. They are aware better than anyone else that this country has been through a grand Islamic revolution and the least message of this revolution is that our nation is alert and will oppose anyone who aims to seize the power against the law.

I use this chance to honor the emotions of the nation of Iran and remind them that Iran, this sacred being, belongs to them and not to the fraudulent. It is you who should stay alert. The traitors to the nation’s vote have no fear if this house of Persians burns in flames. We will continue with our green wave of rationality that is inspired by our religious learnings and our love for prophet Mohammad and will confront the rampage of lies that has appeared and marked the image of our nation. However we will not allow our movement to become blind one.
* Political coup? Military coup?

* What should Obama do? Nothing. Andrew Sullivan concurs.

UPDATE: Laura Secor in the New Yorker.
There can be no question that the June 12, 2009 Iranian presidential election was stolen. Dissident employees of the Interior Ministry, which is under the control of President Ahmadinejad and is responsible for the mechanics of the polling and counting of votes, have reportedly issued an open letter saying as much. Government polls (one conducted by the Revolutionary Guards, the other by the state broadcasting company) that were leaked to the campaigns allegedly showed ten- to twenty-point leads for Mousavi a week before the election; earlier polls had them neck and neck, with Mousavi leading by one per cent, and Karroubi just behind. Historically, low turnout has always favored conservatives in Iranian elections, while high turnout favors reformers. That’s because Iran’s most reliable voters are those who believe in the system; those who are critical tend to be reluctant to participate. For this reason, in the last three elections, sixty-five per cent of voters have come from traditional, rural villages, which house just thirty-five per cent of the populace. If the current figures are to be believed, urban Iranians who voted for the reformist ex-president Mohammad Khatami in 1997 and 2001 have defected to Ahmadinejad in droves.