Iran Election Results – 1

SMSs & Mobiles are down.
Twitter, Youtube, Facebook are filtered.
Internet connection is extremely slow. I’m not sure if I can ever publish this post.
All the Mousavi’s websites just got filtered.
There are fights in the streets between Mousavi’s supporters and police.
Important Farsi satellite channels are jammed, like BBC Persian.

Fixed line telephone is almost the only remaining communication channel which also is down in some areas.

It’s a very dark situation. I remember my childhood, during the revolution, when the electricity was gone. I was scared and I could hear people in the streets were shouting. I was in my father’s arms and I remember he was smiling, and his smile made me calm.

Right now, I only needed my father’s smile, again.

Iran: One Election, Different Perspectives

Iran Election CandidatesToday, after being in the queue for about 2.5 hours, finally I could vote, and I voted for Mousavi. Although almost all the polling stations were too crowded but still there are many Iranians who won’t vote at all. Some of course will vote for other candidates, and there are a few who will give blank votes.

There are many different ideas about Iran’s election. Here I try to mention all of them:

I don’t vote

Many Iranians don’t vote at all. Their idea is that by voting in Islamic Republic of Iran, you are actually voting to the regime and you are accepting it. They say that they are against the regime and they believe the whole election is a game and these 4  candidates regardless of their differences are all the same.

These group believe that if nobody votes, then it would be a big NO to the regime and would be the start of another revolution, maybe with the help of other countries.

Government’s opposition groups outside Iran are the main supporters of this idea. They have a high penetration rate between people through their satellite channels.

I vote, but I’ll give a blank vote

Iran ElectionThis group believe that they shouldn’t just sit and wait, and should do something for their country, and all they can do is to vote. But as none of the candidates are qualified from their perspective, they’ll vote, but a blank vote.

I vote for Ahmadinejad

Well, these are the most complex ones!

Some of them really believe in Ahmadinejad. They look at him as a hero and as the only one who could stand in front of the US. Many of them are educated and have access to the Internet and other media. They believe that he is honest and has long term plans for Iran, that’s why we may not see much these days.

Another group of his supporters are villagers and uneducated people in rurals. They believe only whatever they see in TV. For them, Ahmadinejad is the only person who lives like them. The one who is giving us nuclear power, although they don’t know why nuclear power is that much important. This group are the main targets of Ahmadinejad’s populist advertisements.

Ahmadinejad is also popular between many Islamic hardliners. They believe he is the only one that is bringing the true Islam to Iran. They believe Ahmadinejad is very close to the initial ideas of the revolution and Imam Khomeini.

I vote for Mousavi

Khatami - MousaviYouths, majority of reformists and almost anybody who is looking for an alternative for Ahmadinejad are Mousavi’s supporters. In the past month, he proved that he is the only chance for preventing Ahmadinejad to be president for another 4 years.

Many of those who vote for Mousavi, do not vote to support him, but just vote to refuse Ahmadinejad. Majority of the reformist groups have supported him. He also has the support of Mohammad Khatami, who is still very popular between  many people.

I vote for Karroubi

KarroubiKarroubi supporters believe that Karroubi is the real reformist, not Mousvai. The only candidate who has detailed clear plans, who is ready to fight for human rights, who’ll have women in his cabinet,  and the only candidate who 4 years ago, formed a real political party. Karroubi’s powerful management team, is another reason that has made him popular among many of the real reformists.

Many of the students are supporting him, but based on the statistics, he doesn’t have much chance to win. His supporters say that they will vote for Mousavi, if the election goes to the second round, with Mousavi and Ahmadinejad.

I vote for Rezaee

His supporters are not too much. His last debate with Ahmadinejad, in which he politely defeated Ahmadinejad had an important role in his popularity as well as his plans for Iran’s economy. It’s not very clear that if the election goes to the second round, Rezaee’s supporters will choose which candidate. Ahmadinejad has mentioned several times that all these 3 are against him, but it’s been said that many of Rezaee’s supporters are still closer to Ahmadinejad than Mousavi.

Valiasr Human Chain by Mousavi Supporters

Valiasr Green Human ChainYesterday, I was a part of the green human chain in Valiasr St. in support of Mousavi. From 5 to 7 PM, thousands of supporters of Mousavi formed a long human chain from Rah-Ahan Sq. in the south of Tehran to Tajrish Sq. in north.

Valiasr Street, with 12 miles (19.3 kilometers) is the longest street in Middle East which runs from north to south of Tehran and divides the metropolis into western and eastern parts.

Valiasr St. in TehranI was myself a part of this green chain for the whole 2 hours period. We were below Hemmat bridge, in the north part of Valiasr. There were people in both sides of the street. All the cars were beeping, each with a green symbol and people were so happy.

Although the huge amount of Mousavi supporters plus almost all the cars in Valiasr caused a heavy traffic jam in almost all parts of Tehran, there were no police forces in the streets.

It was “Hope” everywhere. People were saying, happily shouting or even singing their slogans against Ahmadinejad and in support of Mousavi. After last Mousavi’s debate in which he called Ahmadinejad a liar, the main subject of many of the slogans was “Lie”.

Valiasr Green Human ChainOne group of people were asking loudly: “2 x 2 ?” and the other group were responding by “10!”, any other numbers or sometimes they responded with “Whatever Dr. says!”. Some people were holding different funny diagrams, while other had green apples in their hands and were saying to the crowd: “This is an orange! Enough evidences exist!”.

Well, for me it was a very unique feeling, and I had never such an experiment before. I was a part of a crowd that all were singing the same song, and I had the feeling that I can do EVERYTHING.

Also for the first time in my life, I could feel and understand our previous generation who went out to the streets 30 year ago and did the revolution. I couldn’t stop myself comparing my current activities with them. I don’t know what happens on Saturday night, when the result of the election becomes clear, but maybe 30 years from now, our children will ask “Why the hell did you do these stupid things at June 2009?!” like what we’re always asking from our own parents!

But I’m happy of what I did. I’ll vote on Friday, and I’ll vote for Mousavi. Not because he is the best, but because he is the better choice in our current conditions. Reform do not happen in one night, like what our parents did 30 year ago, what they called it “revolution”. Reform in Iran will take a very long time, in a road with many little steps.

Mousavi is only one step.

Last Debate, Ahmadinejad – Rezaee

After a series of challenging debates, tonight with the final debate between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mohsen Rezaee, these attractive late night election shows which had millions of visitors just finished.

Mohsen Rezaee SupporterIn today’s “Final” match, Ahmadinejad had to face Rezaee (also written as Rezaei), who is one of the revolution key members. He has been the Chief Commander of the AGIR (Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution) since 1981, when he was only 27 years old, and remained in the post until 1997, when he left the military forces for the Expediency Discernment Council, where he became the Secretary and the Chair of the Commission for Macroeconomics and Commerce.

In this debate, Ahmadinejad had not much in front of Rezaee’s professional way of debate. Rezaee was completely prepared and at the beginning started to criticize many aspects of Ahmadinejad’s government. Being so calm and polite, he started again with the famous inflation rate and then contined with  other figures one by one and at the end showed his own charts which were representing many serious downgrades in almost everything during Ahmadinejad’s government.

He – like Mousavi – again confirmed the 25% inflation rate which has several times mentioned to be less than 15% by Ahmadinejad. He then surprised Ahmadinejad by representing what he called “Poverty Chart”. The name “Poverty” was an intelligent choice for him to make his statistics tangible for very ordinary people.

Tonight Ahmadinejad was a bit nervous. Once, he wrongfully called “Rezaei” as “Mousavi” which is maybe a sign that how much he has Mousavi in his mind as his main competitor. Also in another part while he was trying to give an example, he used the phrase “vein in blood” instead of “blood in vein”!

At the end of the debate, while Rezaee was still calm and polite, he indirectly called Ahmadinejad a liar, when he mentioned several times that “Mr. Ahmadinejad plays with numbers!”.

Although tonight, Rezaee was the winner of the debate, but in my opinion and by considering all the facts and his re-confirmation of Ahmadinejad’s lies, at the end Mousavi and his green supporters were the real winner of this debate.

Karroubi – Mousavi Debate

Mousavi - KarroubiTonight was the 5th presidential live TV debate, this time between 2 reformist candidates: Mousavi, who is the main reformist candidate vs Karroubi, another reformist whose support for human and civil rights of Iranian citizens has attracted the support of many intellectuals and students.

Unlike the two challenging debates each of them had previously with president Ahmadinejad, tonight several times during the show both mentioned that their ideas are very close to each other.

Both candidates used this debate as an opportunity to answer Ahmadinejad’s previous claims and to present their programs in the state TV, and they really used this opportunity very good.

The biggest highlight of the debate, was when Mousavi, at the beginning of his speech, directly called Ahmadinejad a “liar”. He was prepared with the same charts as Ahmadinejad’s, but with REAL figures.

While showing both wrong and right charts simultaneously to the camera, he said that “Just look how easily they play with the diagrams and tell lies to people”. One was a chart regarding the inflation rate, which yesterday reported 14% by Ahmadinejad, but he showed that the real inflation rate is 25%.

He emphasized on Ahmadinejad’s lies, several times during his speech: “A real Muslim never lies, then how our president can lie in front of the camera to millions of people?!”

Whatever it was, it was not a “debate”, but it was a unique event in our history. When a candidate in a live TV show could call the president a liar, and he was definitely right!

Ahmadinejad’s Charts: Everything is Perfect

Ahmadinejad Showing ChartsLast night, Ahmadinejad, during his debate with Karroubi, paraded a series of colorful charts presenting many of his government’s successes like inflation rate, unemployment rate, gross domestic product and so on.

He claimed that all the figures are coming from Central Bank of Iran. Charts were showing an enormous growth in almost everything and an Iran which is in a perfect condition in all aspects.

Well, what he said, like always, was based on his populist campaign. But his approach is not always successful. In order to understand the inflation rate, you do not need any charts nor any statistics. Iranian people do not need to be financial experts. They feel the “inflation rate” every second they live in Iran. When they go out to buy the very basics of their life. When they can only purchase a small apartment, possibly after 20 year, if and only if they save all their salaries and eat nothing!
In response to his charts, this image started circulating in Iranian communities just few hours after the debate:

Ahmadinejad Chart

I added the English translations. Farsi text is written with a child’s handwriting  and the author has written his name “Mahmut” instead of “Mahmoud” which is a common mistake between first grade students. The painting, resembles kid’s TV show about 25 year ago, when it showed paintings sent by children.

Although it was funny, this painting had a clear message: populist advertisements are not always successful, not this time at least.

Karroubi – Ahmadinejad’s Debate

Karroubi – Ahmadinejad’s debate has just finished and was as challenging as it supposed to be. Lots of what so called “Secrets of Regime” was revealed by both parties during the debate.

Unfortunately Karroubi like Mousavi didn’t have a proper plan for confronting Ahmadinejad’s populistic discussions.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's SupporterAhmadinejad was prepared with simple figures and diagrams – most of them not true, but who can prove it?! – which were understandable even for kids, and all were representing improvements in all aspects during his 4 year of presidency. He was looking in the camera and spoke with a clear voice.

In return, Karroubi was speaking about different things, sometimes vague or at least vague for common people. He was speaking about important  real subjects that ordinary people are not familiar with, and not like Ahmadinejad, he never looked at the camera and many times  his voice was not clear and it was not clear what he is talking about.

At the end, I’m not happy with Karroubi’s way of debate. I’m not going to vote based on this debate, but if I wanted to – like many people in villages and small cities – I definitely chose Mahmoud!