Latest From Iran

In blogs, Foreign Affairs, human rights, Journalism, Technology on June 17, 2009 by Editor Z

The Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khomeini who just last week praised the results of Iran’s disputed elections states he will support a partial recount if necessary. Iran’s Guardian Council is also preparing to take up the matter, however the recount is seen by many as a likely Potemkin attempt and giving the appearance of taking action while the Ayatollahs and elite in charge cover their tracks.

Meanwhile the demonstrations continue, as does the war of words in the streets across the Iranian nation. Media blackouts of satellite television, limiting coverage of the rallies, as well as social networking websites also continue, but despite the attempts to cut off access to such media, first hand reports of demonstrations and dissatisfaction within Iran are trickling out.

In the United States President Obama has stated he wants to avoid the appearance of the United States “meddling” in the internal political process of Iran, however he has stated that he is said the government reaction to the harsh crackdown by the government is of concern to him. Given the U.S History in Iran, to a degree that is likely a good idea. Any move that gives credence to the idea that the demonstrators are merely instruments of the United States will only empower those in charge. Remember there are many in Iran who are still believed to be supporting the government, and just because in the streets the chants, sentiments, and emotions are against Ahmadinejad, does not mean they are necessarily for the United States. Still while Obama’s response should be measured, the U.S Congress should perhaps pass a symbolic resolution supporting those demonstrators.

US President Barack Obama is resisting pressure to side with Iran’s opposition as mass protests continue over the nation’s disputed presidential poll.

In a TV interview Mr Obama said there might not be much difference between the policies of President Ahmadinejad and rival Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Mr Mousavi’s supporters have continued street protests despite the threat of government force and earlier bloodshed.

BBC correspondents in Tehran say the mood in the city is tense and angry.

Tough new restrictions have been imposed on foreign media in Iran.

But despite government attempts to control the flow of information out of the country, Iranians have been using the internet to send images and personal accounts of the protests around the world.

Mr Obama said he believed Iranian voices should be heard, although he added that he did not want to be seen to be “meddling”.

“It is not productive, given the history of US and Iranian relations to be seen as meddling in Iranian elections,” he said.

“But when I see violence directed at peaceful protesters, when i see peaceful dissent being suppressed… it is of concern to me and it is of concern to the American people.”

Speaking later in the television interview, he downplayed the importance to the world of the struggle for power in Iran.

“The difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised,” he said.

Earlier on Tuesady, the US state department said it had asked the social networking site Twitter to delay maintenance work so that Iranians could keep using it as a communications tool.

Many wonder if these protests will continue or if soon the masses will loose interest. However the demonstrations and the violence that in some cases has marked these events, is entering into its fifth day. The longer the Iranian government and the state run national media crackdown on the dissidents the more steadfast and empowered they become.

But make no mistake these protesters are literally fighting for their lives. For if their call for a recount is not carried out in a fair manner and/ or if it turns out Ahmadinejad actually did win (though if that occurs it will be by a much closer margin) the lives and well being of those demonstrators will be in danger of retaliation by thier government.

However, for now the divide in tech savvy appears to be one element in the Guerrilla war between demonstrators and government supporters, that is working in favor of the younger pro-reform elements. Don’t forget many of those in the theocratic Iranian government are elderly men, stalwarts of the old guard, who used to spread the message of the original Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenini by way of audio cassette back in the late 1970s. It appears their grasp in technology has not kept pace which is good news for the demonstrators.



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