IRNA is reporting that primary results from today’s presidential election show incumbent President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has won in an apparent landslide.
<blockquote>According to the head of Elections Headquarters Kamran Daneshjoo, Ahmadinejad has recieved 69.04 percent of the counted votes until 23:50 hours local time.
Daneshjoo said Mir Hossein Mossavi has got 28.42 percent, Mohsen Rezaee 1.62 percent and Mehdi Karrobi 0.9 percent of the votes.</blockquote>
The official announcement is expected tomorrow. More on this later.
<b>Update IV</b> Protests continue today. Ahmadinejad has dismissed the protests as “not important.” Mousavi has publicly declared the election’s void and encouraged his followers to continue their protests. Reformist party organizers (including the briother of former President Mohammad Khatami) have been detained and some foriegn journalists have been told to leave Iran. Not much from the White House which seems to be taking a wait and see approach. The EU, having apparently lived in a cave for the last eight years, has expressed concern but hopes:<blockquote>the outcome of the elections will ease tensions between Iran and the international community over its nuclear program.</blockquote>
<b>Update III</b> Iran’s techno-black out has reached cell phones, which are reported to read “Emergency only.”
<b>Update II</b> Via Andrew Sullivan, according to a report from the Tehran Bureau, a spokesman from the Mousavi campaign points not to the Supreme Leader as the benefactor of election fraud, rather suggests the military staged a “coup” of sorts:
<blockquote>In an interview, Mr. Mohsen Makhbalbaf, the distinguish movie director and spokesman for Mr. Mir Hossein Mousavi, has declared that there has been a coup in Iran whereby the elections have been rigged, and people’s vote have been altered on a vast scale, in order to declare President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the “victor.”
According to Mr. Makhbalbaf, in the early hours after voting had ended, the Interior Ministry had called Mr. Mousavi’s campaign headquarters to inform them that Mr. Mousavi would be the winner and, therefore, Mr. Mousavi must prepare a victory statement. Mr. Mousavi was, however, asked by the Ministry not to boast too much, in order not to upset Mr. Ahmadinejad’s supporters. Many of the president’s supporters are among the ranks of the Basij militia, and thus armed.
According to Mr. Makhbalbaf, the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was also informed of the developments. He also recommended a “good management” of the victory statement, meaning not boasting greatly about the victory, because that would be in Iran’s national interests and stability.
At the same time, the reformist newspapers were also informed that they can prepare their Saturday edition to declare Mr. Mousavi the winner, but were not allowed to use the word pirouzi (victory) in their articles, in order not to upset Mr. Ahmadinejad’s supporters. One reformist newspaper prepared its front page with the title, “People took back the flag of their country [from Mr. Ahmadinejad].”
But, just a few hours later, a center that had been set up by Mr. Mousavi in Gheytarieh (in northern Tehran) for monitoring the election and vote counting, was attacked by armed security agents. They ransacked the center, destroyed computers, and attacked the staff. Supporters of Mr. Mousavi intervened and arrested 8 security agents. The police was called to take them to prison, but the police released the attackers.
According to Mr. Makhbalbaf, the central headquaters of Mr. Mousavi’s campaign was also surrounded by security forces, as was the Interior Ministry building. Then, new data began to be released by the Ministry, indicating that Mr. Ahmadinejad had won the elections decisively.</blockquote>
As noted in the commentary the reaction to what is largely believed to be a fraudulent election has been tumultuous as supporters of “defeated” reform candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi have taken to the streets of Tehran in protest:
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Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei has essentially approved the election results:
<blockquote>The participation of over 80 percent of Iranians at the polls …. is a cause for true celebration and God willing this will ensure the continuation of the country’s progress and the maintenance of national security,
The spirit of calm presented by the nation, in the face of enemy propaganda and the nation’s mass participation was such that makes it indescribable in words.</blockquote>
This indicates any requests for appeal from Mousavi and his followers are likely to fall on deaf ears.
Internet service in Iran remains interrupted (obvious measure to limit outrage) and I’m reading rumors that Mir Hossein Mousavi has been placed under house arrest.