I don’t like to comment about what I don’t know much about, but I have to relate to you how mesmerized I have been in the last twelve hours by what is going on in Iran.
First, the use of technology has been truly remarkable to the point that the Government shut off the use of SMS messages before the polls closed as a way of apparently stopping communication among opposition people. However, they seemed to have forgotten twitter, which became the preferred method of communication until it was shutdown a couple of hours ago. Bloggers of course have been doing a wonderful job, I have been reading many, but I think the Huffington Post through this post may be the simplest way to follow things.
There are certainly strange things happening there, from the fact that the opposition candidate was told he had won, to the fact that a large turnout was supposed to benefit him but did not, according to the official results. However, what I find most fascinating is that reportedly the mullahs are calling now for a repeat of the election, remarkably given the almost 2 to 1 margin for Ahmadinejad. And talk about speed, while Chavez took a couple of years to jail Rosales, apparently loser Mousavi is under house arrest one day after polls closed.
Whatever the outcome, it will be a momentous change for Iran. If the protests get nowhere, the Iranian revolution will lose legitimacy, if the protests win, Ahmadinejad and even the Iranian revolution woudl have suffered a huge setback and a more open and freer society may emerge. This is the most intriguing thing, that Moudavi wanted and campaigned for a more liberal society which energized the electorate. I hope his supporters don’t get squashed and the Government instills fear in them, the way Venezuelans seemed to have been silenced into a corner in the last few years.
(Note added: Hard to believe it, but this is what pajamasmedia is reporting: Reports are circulating that Venezuela has sent anti-riot troops to Tehran to help Ahmadinejad)