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Iran Election Live-Blogging (Monday June 15)

First Posted: 07/16/09 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 02:30 PM ET

This is the archive of Monday's live-blogging. Click here for the latest updates.

11:57 PM ET -- Bye bye Ahmadi? Apparently he's leaving for Russia after all. (Thanks to reader Nick.)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will arrive in Russia on Tuesday for a regional summit that began on Monday, a source at Iran's embassy in Moscow said.


Earlier the embassy said that Ahmadinejad had postponed his visit to the Urals city of Yekaterinburg, in which he was to attend the two-day summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), bringing together Russia, China and the four ex-Soviet Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

11:55 PM ET -- Nearing 20,000 comments on this live-blog. Thanks everyone. A record of history, in a sense.

11:53 PM ET -- Today was wonderful. Tomorrow...even better. "A 73-year-old shopkeeper said he walked more than six miles to the demonstration. 'I have only ever voted twice, once at the beginning of the revolution...and once for Mousavi,' he said. 'Today was wonderful. Tomorrow will be even better.'"

11:34 PM ET -- Revolutionary Guards arrested? Could it be? Probably not, I'm told. But fyi. In case you hear of anything similar, let me know.

According to the Cyrus News Agency, Tuesday morning 16 senior members of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps were arrested. "These commanders have been in contact with members of the Iranian army to join the people's movement," CNA reports. "Three of the commanders are veterans of Iran-Iraq war. They have been moved to an undisclosed location in East Tehran."


This report has not been confirmed by other sources. If true, it shows that the regime is losing the loyalty of some members of its control appartus, which is necessary if the opposition has any chance of achieving fundamental change. Mass rallies can easily be broken up and revolutions crushed, as we saw at Tiananmen Square in 1989. But if members of the armed forces, police and especially Revolutionary Guards decided to switch sides, then one can begin speaking of revolution.

11:20 PM ET -- To our German readers. Over the weekend, one of Germany's news networks ARD reported that one of its camera technicians had gone missing during the demonstrations. Does anyone know if he has reappeared?

10:33 PM ET -- Khamenei blinks. Fascinating piece just up from the New York Times, via my colleague Mario:

"After congratulating the nation for having a sacred victory, to say now that there is a possibility that it was rigged is a big step backward for him," said Abbas Milani, the director of Stanford University's Iranian studies program.


Few suggest yet that Ayatollah Khamenei's hold on power is at risk. But, analysts say, he has opened a serious fissure in the face of Islamic rule and one that may prove impossible to patch over, particularly given the fierce dispute over the election that has erupted amid the elite veterans of the 1979 revolution. Even his strong links to the powerful Revolutionary Guards -- long his insurance policy -- may not be decisive as the confrontation in Iran unfolds.

"Khamenei would always come and say, 'Shut up; what I say goes,' " said Azar Nafisi, the author of two memoirs about Iran, including "Reading Lolita in Tehran." "Everyone would say, 'O.K., it is the word of the leader.' Now the myth that there is a leader up there whose power is unquestionable is broken."

Those sensing that important change may be afoot are quick to caution that Ayatollah Khamenei, as a student of the revolution that swept the shah from power, could still resort to overwhelming force to crush the demonstrations.

Worth a full read, especially the last two graphs.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall in Qom as Mousavi tries to build consensus among the clerics.

10:23 PM ET -- How to watch Iran state media. Reader a.m. offers some helpful directions (this also works in Quicktime if you have Flip4Mac):

1. go into windows media player


2. select file, then open URL

3. type this in mms://wms.edgecastcdn.net/200216/ipresstv

that allows you to watch Press TV, the english language state media. They do a news update every 30 minutes and they've been reporting on the demonstration. but they haven't been covering it round the clock.

I've been watching for the last half hour or so. The program: "Racism in the Age of Obama," featuring a panel hosted by former Rep. Cynthia McKinney. Bizarre.



Reader John emails:

Press TV can also be watched thru the livestation service along with good coverage from al jazeera english and other international news channels ... good stuff and chat rooms for discussion.

10:18 PM ET -- Vaclav Havel weighs in.

This from Prague Radio News (if you haven't got it already) --


The former Czech president and dissident Vaclav Havel said on Sunday that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's victory in the Iranian presidential elections was cause for grave concern. "We all know Mr. Ahmadinejad's statements. They are very dangerous and should lead us to greater vigilance and a deeper, more profound reflection about our civilization, its direction, the potential risks, and the power of human obsession. Because what is coming out of Iran now has nothing to do with religion or patriotism, it is pure fanaticism," Havel said.

Passed along by one of HuffPost's best writers, Diane Tucker.

10:09 PM ET -- The 7 demands. An Iranian-American friend comments, "that's asking for a revolution baby..."

7 point statement distributed among the protesters in Tehran today:


1. Dismissal of Khamenei for not being a fair leader
2. Dismissal of Ahmadinejad for his illegal acts
3. Temporary appointment of Ayatollah Montazeri as the Supreme Leader
4. Recognition of Mousavi as the President
5. Forming the Cabinet by Mousavi to prepare for revising the Constitution
6. unconditional and immediate release of all political prisoners
7. Dissolution of all organs of repression, public or secret

9:51 PM ET -- A word about Obama's comments tonight. The video and transcript are below if you haven't seen yet. They were, in my view, pitch perfect. Sympathizing with the opposition without endorsing them. Encouraging self-determination without false sanctimony. "And particularly to the youth of Iran," he said, "I want them to know that we in the United States do not want to make any decisions for the Iranians, but we do believe that the Iranian people and their voices should be heard and respected." Well done.

9:47 PM ET -- A question for Farsi speakers. We noted earlier that the state-run television media ran some footage of the huge opposition rallies. What, if anything, are the state-run print media saying about Monday's events?

9:21 PM ET -- Carrying the wounded. Two videos of what appear to be the same event -- a bloodied, unconscious young man being carried through the throngs:



9:09 PM ET -- Any American Idol connections to the Iran election? We might be able to get Larry King to cover it.

Thank you, thank you, for your updates on Iran. I'm not ordinarily a big fan of Huff Post, but you're doing the American people a REAL service right now with your updates.


Andrew Sullivan at the Atlantic also doing a great job.

Twitter is my #1 source. It says it all.

SHAME SHAME SHAME on the Cable news stations. (I work for one of them, sigh)

Larry King is discussing American Idol tonight. FUCK OFF

I can't even begin to tell you how outraged I am by the lack of coverage in our media. We just DON'T GET IT

Matthew 30, NYC

8:33 PM ET -- Surrounded. More video from Monday's march, this one emailed over by Alex:


8:30 PM ET -- A testy moment. From today's U.S. State Department press briefing.

"I haven't used that word, 'condemn,'" he told the State Department press corps. "We need to see how things unfold."


"You need to see more heads cracked in the middle of the street?" Fox News' James Rosen shot back.

"We need a deeper assessment of what's going on," Kelly said.

8:23 PM ET -- The latest from Iran on Twitter. Great site that shows you which Iranians' Twitter accounts have updated within the last hour.

8:22 PM ET -- One person = one broadcaster. The latest from the Mousavi campaign's official Twitter account: "We have no national press coverage in Iran, everyone should help spread Mousavi's message. One Person = One Broadcaster."

7:42 PM ET -- Something you can do. How to set up a proxy so Iranian web users can get around the censors.

7:04 PM ET -- Video of Obama. Full transcript here. AP write-up:

President Barack Obama on Monday said Iranian voters have a right to feel their ballots mattered and urged the investigation into vote-rigging allegations to go forward without additional violence.


Obama said reports of violence that followed Iranian elections trouble him and all Americans. He said peaceful dissent should never be subject to violence that followed weekend elections that gave President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a second term.

"It would be wrong for me to be silent on what we've seen on the television the last few days," Obama told reporters at the White House.

Obama said he had no way of knowing the results were valid -- he said the United States had no election monitors in the country -- but it was important that the voters' choices be respected.


7:00 PM ET -- Victory: Twitter to delay maintenance work. Here's the full statement:

A critical network upgrade must be performed to ensure continued operation of Twitter. In coordination with Twitter, our network host had planned this upgrade for tonight. However, our network partners at NTT America recognize the role Twitter is currently playing as an important communication tool in Iran. Tonight's planned maintenance has been rescheduled to tomorrow between 2-3p PST (1:30a in Iran).


Our partners are taking a huge risk not just for Twitter but also the other services they support worldwide -- we commend them for being flexible in what is essentially an inflexible situation. We chose NTT America Enterprise Hosting Services early last year specifically because of their impeccable history of reliability and global perspective. Today's decision and actions continue to prove why NTT America is such a powerful partner for Twitter.

6:47 PM ET -- Obama: "Deeply troubled." My own transcript (rough) of President Obama just now.

It is up to Iranians to make decisions about who Iran's leaders will be. We respect Iranian sovereignty and want to avoid the United States being the issue inside of iran, which sometimes -- the United States can be a handy political football, or discussions with the United States [can be]. Having said all that, I am deeply troubled by the violence i have seen on television. I think that the democratic process, free speech, the ability of people to peacefully dissent, all of those are universal values, and need to be respected. And whenever I see violence perpetrated on people who are peacefully dissenting, and whenever the American people see that, they are rightfully troubled.

He said more, will have soon.

6:37 PM ET -- AP talks to Iranians about their use of Twitter.

One Twitter user who identified himself only as Mohsen, speaking to the AP from Tehran, said while he's been using Twitter for about two years, he's intensified his "tweets" over the last few days.


He said he sends alerts about "what I see in the streets, about police hitting people, and people who are not police who are hitting Mir Hossein supporters," he said. "These are frames of horror and hate. I think one of the strategies the authorities are doing is stopping news and information, and I use whatever I can to stop them from doing that."

Still waiting on details about Obama's remarks.

6:15 PM ET -- Obama: 'It would be wrong to stay silent.'

# Reuters: Obama says he's deeply troubled by the post-election violence in Iran1 minute ago from BNO Headquarters


# AP: Obama says it's up to Iran to determine its own leaders.

More from CNN: Obama say he's "troubled by the situation in iran, it would be wrong to stay silent..." Still waiting for transcript and video. His remarks came at the end of an Oval Office meeting with Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi.

6:10 PM ET -- Climbing the Freedom Tower. Literally.

A demonstrator climbs the Freedom Tower in Tehran, Iran today, as protesters continued to demonstrate against contested election results. (AP)



6:06 PM ET -- Follow the developments in Iran like a CIA analyst. This isn't what you think -- and I meant to post it earlier. Marc Ambinder of the Atlantic has some smart thoughts on getting the most out of (and avoiding the pitfalls of) the flood of human intelligence we're getting out of Iran right now.

5:50 PM ET -- The Twitter blackout. As noted below, Iranians are encouraging others to help convince Twitter to cancel its planned maintenance tonight. Twitter is the main social network still accessible within Iran, and it's amazing to think of the bonds that have been made using that technology along over the last few days.

Indeed, I'm sure I'm not the only who's concerned right now about the anonymous Iranian student -- @Change_for_Iran -- who has been tweeting almost non-stop the past several days. He's been off the grid for 12 hours how, his last message sent as he was leaving for the huge rally at Azadi Square: "it's worth taking the risk, we're going. I won't be able to update until I'm back. again thanks for your kind support and wish us luck." Hope he's doing okay.

The Twitter protest hashtags: #TwitterStayUp & NoMaintenance

5:41 PM ET -- How Iranians outwit the net censors. Informative article from the New York Times, published back in April.

5:36 PM ET -- A female shot as well? That appears to be the case from this footage, passed on by readers Salim and Arno:


5:22 PM ET -- Rick Sanchez defends CNN's Iran coverage. Sent in by reader Jon:


5:06 PM ET -- Twitter going dark now? Reader Kevin emails over an important point: "I think one thing that we can do right now is to get Twitter to cancel it's 90 minute maintenance at 9:45 PDT. This is 9:15-10:45 AM in Iran. If they must do it, they should do it around 4 AM Iran time. While it may be inconvenient for us, it would be helpful to them." Here here. If you're on Twitter, make your feelings known. The hashtag, via reader John, is #nomaintenance.

This is a good time to encourage folks to join the "Spotlight on Iran" project that HuffPost's citizen journalism unit Eyes&Ears is running. I get the sense, from my emails alone, that many of you have caught the citizen reporting bug. This is a great outlet for it.

5:04 PM ET -- Cantor attacks Obama over Iran. A top House Republican, Rep. Eric Cantor, released a statement reading in part:

The Administration's silence in the face of Iran's brutal suppression of democratic rights represents a step backwards for homegrown democracy in the Middle East. President Obama must take a strong public position in the face of violence and human rights abuses. We have a moral responsibility to lead the world in opposition to Iran's extreme response to peaceful protests.

Steve Benen picks it apart here.

5:00 PM ET -- Video of paramilitaries firing on crowd. Britain's Channel 4 captures incredible footage (thanks to Adam and Salim for sending):


4:14 PM ET -- 'Follow their lead.' News has slowed from Iran as we enter the late evening. But Americans are still debating how best to support the reformists. Spencer Ackerman's advice:

It's emotionally unsatisfying not to proclaim unequivocal support for the protesters. But the truer measure of support, as Trita Parsi told me, is to follow their lead. Moussavi, for instance, has not issued any statement about what he wants the international community to do. If the protesters begin calling for a more direct American response, then that really will have to compel the administration to reconsider its position. But until then, with so many lives at stake, the administration can't afford to take a stance just because it makes Americans feel just and righteous.

3:39 PM ET -- Five miles long. "The crowd - many wearing the trademark green color of Mousavi's campaign - was more than five miles (nine kilometers) long, and based on previous demonstrations in the square and surrounding streets, its size was estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands."



3:36 PM ET -- Power-sharing agreement? In a WashingtonPost.com chat, Michelle Moghtader of the National Iranian American Council writes, "One theory I heard is that Mousavi isn't suicidal. Meaning, he wants some sort of power or position in the government. And he's asking his people to continue protesting until an agreement is made. This would give people of the opposition more of a voice, but again, don't know how likely this will be."

3:22 PM ET -- The war on computers, continued. Boston Globe posts a huge cache of fantastic, high-quality photos, including this one of a dorm room computer apparently targeted by police.


3:10 PM ET -- Back to basics. An Iranian civics lesson, in comic form, for those who are just getting interested in this. Via emailer Moazzam-Doulat, BBC has an interactive version.


3:08 PM ET -- Video of an alleged shooting victim. Via reader Chas:


2:47 PM ET -- Mousavi's latest. Translated by the NIAC:

"I have submitted my request for canceling the elections to the Guardian Council."


"I am certain recent reactions are not for me, but it is out of concern for the new political order that is being imposed on our country."

2:44 PM ET -- Obama on Iran. Time's Michael Scherer: "Expect Obama to comment on Iran at 5 pm today, when he takes questions with Italian PM Berlusconi." Via reader Stephen.

2:39 PM ET -- The reaction. Via @mohamadreza: "ppl are more angry now because of killed persons - they have more energy now to protest... Qeytarieh is so crowded like last two nights"

2:32 PM ET -- AP releases images from the shooting scene. Two are below.



There is a third photo being sent around on Twitter that I hesitated posting at first, but I've now confirmed it is from the Associated Press also. It's quite graphic so reader beware.

2:24 PM ET -- Rally, national strike planned for tomorrow. The strike has been in the works since early yesterday, but now comes word of another major rally tomorrow. "According to the source, there will be a rally tomorrow for Mousvi tomorrow at 5 pm in Vali Asr Sq. and there will be a national strike by all of Mousavi's supporters."

2:19 PM ET -- More details from Reuters. "Iran's hardline Islamic Basij militiamen killed at least one person on Monday and wounded more when their building was attacked by demonstrators protesting an election they say was stolen by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."

Also:

The U.S. State Department said it was "deeply troubled" by reports of violence and voting irregularities in the election.


"We are deeply troubled by the reports of violence, arrests and possible voting irregularities," said State Department spokesman Iran Kelly, adding that Washington was still assessing what had happened in the election.

1:52 PM ET -- Mousavi speaks at the rally. Also, if you haven't checked the slideshow on HuffPost frontpage, we've placed the same photos here.


1:48 PM ET -- Activists launch hack attack on Iranian regime. Noah Shachtman at Wired has a very thorough overview. A Daily Kos post urges people not to participate in fear of taking down the broader system that is also supporting reformists' web use.

1:27 PM ET -- More violence. Reuters: "Shooting heard in three districts of Northern Tehran: residents"

1:24 PM ET -- Photo. A photo allegedly of one of people shot at the rally. No confirmation on this.


12:59 PM ET -- Reuters witness: "many wounded." "@Reuters: FLASH: Gunman fire on people at pro-Mousavi rally, one killed, many wounded -witness"

12:53 PM ET -- More people shot? Emailer Walt sends a link to this site, which is claiming (in Farsi) that she saw half a dozen hit by gunfire. But I note it because she also includes new cell photos from the scene.

12:47 PM ET -- AP files. "TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- AP photographer sees pro-government militia fire at opposition protesters, killing at least 1."

More from @persiankiwi: people are running in streets outside. There is panic in streets.people going ino houses to hide.

12:44 PM ET -- At least one reported dead. ABC's Jim Sciutto: "sev reports of pro-govt militia firing on protesters, AP photog reports one protester dead"

From emailer Susan: @kapanak: Eyewitness relative from North Tehran just got back to me. District One and Three are in total Chaos.

12:43 PM ET -- Cracks in the armor. "A source tells us that least one state run media channel has shown pictures of the protests and announced that Mousavi would be at the rally, which indicates that some in the media are refusing marching orders."

12:38 PM ET -- Nightfall. Posted some updates below without a new timestamp. But @persiankiwi sums up the mood:

# We have heard what sounds like gunshots in distance. still have people on streets we have not heard from.


# Bassej are out in force in darkness. this is when they operate best. Streets are dangerous now for young people.

12:21 PM ET -- Gunfire at Azadi Square. Oh no.

# URGENT -- People were seen running in panic after the gunfire but it is unclear if anyone has been shot. Details to come.4 minutes ago from BNO Headquarters


# URGENT -- Iranian state TV says gunfire has erupted at the pro-Mousavi rally in Tehran where hundreds of thousands of people were protesting4 minutes ago from BNO Headquarters

# BULLETIN -- GUNFIRE ERUPTS AT PRO-MOUSAVI RALLY IN TEHRAN, PEOPLE RUNNING.

More: @abzole People are getting killed in Azadi Sq.

@laraabcnews: Iranian State TV reports gun shots at Mousavi rally; AP photog sees govt militia fire at protesters #Iranelection

Still collecting information on the shootings. But please read this excellent account of the rally by the New York Times:

Hundreds of thousands of people marched in silence through central Tehran Monday to protest Iran's disputed presidential election, in an extraordinary but peaceful show of defiance that appeared to be the largest demonstration in Iran since the 1979 revolution.


A broad river of people -- young and old, dressed in traditional Islamic gowns and the latest Western fashions -- marched slowly from Revolution Square to Freedom Square for more than three hours, many of them wearing the signature bright green ribbons of Mr. Moussavi's campaign, and holding up their hands in victory signs. When the occasional shout or chant went up, the crowd quickly hushed them, and some held up signs bearing the word "silence." [...]

Mr. Moussavi attended the rally, addressing a sea of supporters from the roof of a car in his first public appearance since the disputed vote. "The vote of the people is more important than Moussavi or any other person," the Agence France-Presse quoted him as saying. "God willing, we will get back our rights."

The protestors said they would continue, with another major rally planned for Tuesday. But it was too soon to tell whether Mr. Khamenei's decision to launch a probe, or the government's decision to let the silent rally proceed unmolested, would change the election results. Many in the crowd said they believed the government was simply buying time, and hoping the protests would dissipate -- as smaller protest movements have in 1999 and 2003.


12:11 PM ET -- The latest from the White House. From the press gaggle with Robert Gibbs aboard Air Force One (no link yet). No major shift in position here, though (encouragingly) no backtracking from their previous concerns about the legitimacy of the results.

Q Does the President think the Iranian election was run fairly and that the announced results are accurate?


MR. GIBBS: Well, I don't have a lot to add to what -- the statement that we put out this weekend and what Vice President Biden said yesterday. Obviously we continue to have concern about what we've seen. Obviously the Iranians are looking into this, as well. We continue to be heartened by the enthusiasm of young people in Iran.

But I think what's important is the concerns that we have about their nuclear weapons program, and the concern we have about their support for terror isn't any different than it was on Friday.

Q Does the margin of victory announced for Ahmadinejad seem reasonable or plausible to the White House?

MR. GIBBS: I think there are a number of factors that give us some concern about what we've seen.

12:08 PM ET -- Andrew Sullivan faces possible digital attack. A definite frustration, of course, but also, I imagine, a source of pride for Sullivan, who's been a live-blog fellow traveler over the last three days.

12:05 PM ET -- What Obama should be doing. The National Security Network weighs in:

[T]he Obama administration should continue to pursue a responsible course that refrains from legitimizing the results, expresses support for the human rights of Iran's opposition, as well as ensures that the U.S. is not strengthening the regime by being seen as directly meddling. Going forward, the Obama administration must continue its policy of attempting to engage Iran and its people. Past U.S. policy of isolating and threatening Iran completely failed in both weakening Iran and stopping its nuclear program - and only served to strengthen hardliners.

12:01 PM ET -- Keeping the students busy. "Just now, Iran's state-run news agency IRNA reported that university exams are to follow as usual. The schedule will be the same and students are required to participate in a peaceful manner."

12:00 PM ET -- The odds of fraud. ABC examines:

An outfit called Terror Free Tomorrow claims in an op-ed in today's Washington Post that the contested Iranian elections likely were not fraudulent, since a pre-election poll it sponsored showed the declared winner, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with a big lead.


TFT's own data, though, tell a different story - as, oddly, did its own previous polling analysis.

The Washington Post's own pollster picks apart the TFT poll also, here.

11:18 AM ET -- No fear. "Tens of thousands of protestors are chanting 'No fear, No fear, we are with each other.'"

11:12 AM ET -- Mousavi appears. "Mir Hossein Mousavi (C) raises his arms as he appears at an opposition demonstration in Tehran on June 15, 2009, for the first time since an election that has divided the nation. Opposition supporters defied a ban to stage a mass rally in Tehran in protest at President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's landslide election win, as Iran faced a growing international backlash over the validity of the election and the subsequent crackdown on opposition protests." (Getty).

Some tweets translated from Farsi by the NIAL:

"People were holding signs saying: We are not sheep."


"Hundreds of thousands of people are demonstrating from Engelab to Azadi. The number of people is constantly increasing as more people join to protest against the coup d'état."

"Mir Hossein and Khatami gave a speech among people."

11:05 AM ET -- Neocon reaction. It feels messy wading into that right now, but two brief points. One, highlighted by Andrew Sullivan, is this line by the New Republic's neocon-in-chief Marty Peretz:

Maybe the regime fiddled around a bit with the numbers at the polls and after the polling. Still, the outcome had a sense of authenticity.

As Andrew writes, "Even I am a little taken aback by the neocons' desire for an Ahmadinejad victory."

And here's another surprise: Bill Kristol sticking up for President Obama:

There have been very good grounds to criticize President Obama's foreign policy so far. There will be much more to criticize over the next three and a half years.


But he is our president. We could be at an historical inflection point in Iran. The United States may be able to play an important role. The task now is to explain what the Obama administration (and Congress) should be saying and doing, and to urge them to do what they should be doing. Presuming ahead of time that Obama will fail to exercise leadership, and cataloguing this episode pre-emptively as another in a list of Obama failures, would be a mistake. The U.S. has a huge stake in the possible transformation, or at least reformation, of the Iranian regime. If there's some chance of that happening, and some chance of U.S. policy contributing to that outcome, we should hope Obama does the right thing, and urge and pressure him to do so--because then the United States will be doing the right thing, and the United States, and the world, will benefit.

This too is the role of a loyal opposition.

10:49 AM ET -- Speechless.


10:47 AM ET -- "The End of the Islamic Republic." The National Iranian American Council reprints a "note from Ayatollah Mohajerani, Khatami's first Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, posted on Mousavi's website."

The End of the Islamic Republic, the Beginning of the Islamic Government


A friend called who with a shaking voice asked me for an explanation on what is happening in Iran, in our country.

I said, the Supreme Leader has decided to replace the Islamic Republic with an Islamic government and that we all have to participate in this "great celebration" and be "deeply happy..."

These young people who are being beaten in the streets of Tehran and other provinces, whose faces look stunned, Mr. Mousavi and fighting clergies who issue statements, think it is possible to protect the Republic and the people's votes. It is very clear to me that 22 Khordad 1388, four months after the revolution turned 30, the time of Republic has come to an end in our country. Ahmadinejad, with confirmation of the Supreme Leader, has obtained the necessary votes and won. Congratulations on this victory...Although no celebration happens without victims and the bigger the celebration, the larger the number of casualties...

22 Bahman was the beginning of the Islamic Revolution and 22 Khordad is the beginning of the Islamic Government.

My friend started crying louder; bitterly crying.

10:44 AM ET -- "Police, police, thank you." Unreal: "Protestors march towards Enqelab Square, dpa reports. Chants of 'Police, police, thank you' as anti-riot forces keep distance."

Live tweets geolocated within 15 miles of Tehran are here.

10:36 AM ET -- As far as the eye can see.

From Twitter:

@persiankiwi Tehran streets are a sea of GREEN - many many hundreds of thousands. ... Militia still attacking people in sidestreets but main roads are peaceful marchers."

Via Radio Farda:

A couple screen shots from television here.

More video from Sky News:


9:58 AM ET -- Pro-reform marchers "fill the streets." The latest:

Tens of thousands of supporters of pro-reform leader Mir Hossein Mousavi are streaming through the center of Tehran in a boisterous protest against election results that declared President Mamoud Ahmadinejad the winner.


The crowd -- many wearing the trademark green color of Mousavi's campaign -- was headed toward the capital's huge Freedom Square in the largest display of opposition unity since Friday's elections ended with Mousavi claiming widespread fraud.

There was no sign of violence or challenges from security forces. Anti-riot stood by with their helmets off and shields at their sides.

The march Monday came hours of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ordering an examination into Mousavi's claims of vote rigging. But it was unclear how the investigation will proceed.

Some video below, Sky News has more:


BBC Persia is streaming live, in Farsi, here (thanks to Chas and Ilya).

9:27 AM ET -- Understanding Khamenei's voter fraud shift. It's still unclear why Khamenei decided to announce a probe of possible election fraud, or what that investigation might look like. (It was strange enough that he came out on Sunday and re-blessed Ahmadinejad's victory.)

Justifiably skeptical readers note that, at the very least, this announcement can buy the Supreme Leader time and relieve some of the urgency felt by pro-Mousavi Iranians.

Another emailer, Reza, is even more pessimistic: "Please put the Supreme Leader's request to probe the election results in perspective for your readers. The body that will be probing election is appointed by the Supreme Leader and all its members are hardliners and backers of Ahmadinejad and his policies. This is nothing but a sham in an attempt to extinguish the fever for change that's taking hold in the country."

This may very well be true. On the other hand, Khamenei is most certainly feeling pressure from various quarters -- popular unrest, the more ideologically-moderate camp of former President Rafsanjani, a host of Ayatollahs, and so on -- to address the election allegations. And it's unclear at this point how Khamenei addresses any of those pressures by having a sham probe give a seal of approval to the results.

9:12 AM ET -- The computer is the enemy. We reported last night on accounts of major violence at Tehran University. The AP adds some more detail this morning:

Overnight, police and hard-line militia stormed the campus at the city's biggest university, ransacking dormitories and arresting dozens of students angry over what they say was mass election fraud.


The nighttime gathering of about 3,000 students at dormitories of Tehran University started with students chanting "Death to the dictator." But it quickly erupted into clashes as students threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police, who fought back with tear gas and plastic bullets, a 25-year-old student who witnessed the fighting told The Associated Press. He would only give one name, Akbar, out of fears for his safety.

The students set a truck and other vehicles on fire and hurled stones and bricks at the police, he said. Hard-line militia volunteers loyal to the Revolutionary Guard stormed the dormitories, ransacking student rooms and smashing computers and furniture with axes and wooden sticks, Akbar said.

Before leaving around 4 a.m., the police took away memory cards and computer software material, Akbar said, adding that dozens of students were arrested.

He said many students suffered bruises, cuts and broken bones in the scuffling and that there was still smoldering garbage on the campus by midmorning but that the situation had calmed down.

"Many students are now leaving to go home to their families, they are scared," he said. "But others are staying. The police and militia say they will be back and arrest any students they see."

"I want to stay because they beat us and we won't retreat," he added.

Tehran University was the site of serious clashes against student-led protests in 1999 and is one of the nerve centers of the pro-reform movement.

Tim Karr links to these photos and points out: "Note how security forces target computers in dorm raid at Tehran university."


9:02 AM ET -- Iranian election results by province. For those interested, Nate Silver has them.

8:35 AM ET -- NBC's Richard Engel on Khamenei's voter fraud probe. A report from one of the best American foreign affairs reporters:


8:30 AM ET -- Using Twitter to help Iranians. During the first day, people were focused on spreading the Twitter accounts of people based in Iran, to help publicize the news they were helping to get out. Now, as emailer Tim notes, the efforts have become more sophisticated:

There's an interesting effort via Twitter's #iranelection feed to provide in-country bloggers, tweeters, etc. with Internet proxies, as the government works to cut the outflow of unofficial information via existing IP addresses.


People following events via Twitter have latched onto this (like they latched onto the #CNNFail push earlier) as a way to help from afar.

Like others I have often felt helpless merely following people on the ground as security closes in. It's worth noting the ways people have pulled together worldwide to keep information flowing, and - hopefully - make the government there more accountable to world opinion.

Here's one example of thousands.

8:23 AM ET -- Live fire authorized? "The BBC's Jon Leyne, in Tehran, says he understands plain-clothed militias have been authorised to use live ammunition for the first time." Rumors about live-fire authorization have been on Twitter for hours but this is the first I've seen of it in a major news report.

8:14 AM ET -- The Mousavi rally is on. "Thousands of supporters of opposition leader Mir Hossein Moussavi on Monday started a protest rally against alleged fraud in the recent presidential election despite a ban by the Interior Ministry."

More: "Marchers have clashed with Ahmadinejad supporters, Reuters agency reports. Defeated candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi said he would attend and urge calm... Following two days of unrest, the interior ministry said on Monday: 'Some seditious elements had planned to hold a rally.' It added: 'Any disrupter of public security would be dealt with according to the law.'"

8:10 AM ET -- BBC Persia phones jammed. "'In the name of God, this is Iran International Switching Centre: the number you have dialed does not exist in the network.' That's the message we get when trying to speak to some of our contacts on the ground just now." Via emailer Thomas.

7:24 AM ET -- At least four reporters arrested. "The France-based media rights group Reporters Without Borders said it had confirmed the arrest of four reporters by Iranian authorities, including one who won the organization's press freedom prize in 2001. In addition, it said, it had no information about 10 other reporters who had either gone into hiding or had been arrested."

7:17 AM ET -- Mousavi to appear at rally? Mir-Hossein Mousavi has not been seen in public in well over 48 hours, but that may be about to change. The official Mousavi campaign Twitter account just posted: "CONFIRMED BY BBC PERSIAN, PLEASE TELL EVERYONE TO JOIN THEM: MOUSAVI, KAROUBI & KHATAMI WILL BE AT THE PROTEST." Iran-based Twitterer @persiankiwi: "the march has started. tens of thousands in streets."

6:50 AM ET -- Ahmadinejad cancels Russia trip. "In Moscow, the Iranian Embassy said Ahmadinejad has put off a visit to Russia, and it is unclear whether he will come at all. Ahmadinejad had been expected to travel to the Russian city of Yekaterinburg and meet on Monday with President Dmitry Medvedev on the sidelines of a regional summit."

6:47 AM ET -- More on the rallies. It's afternoon in Iran now and Twitter is full of accounts of groups of several thousands marching in different cities in Iran. Emailer Dean notes the posts from @TehranBureau: "Please let everyone know in Iran that Mr. Mosavi asked all the supporters whom participating in today's demonstration to carry Imam Khomeini's picture, these will bring security to people and also won't allow opposition group to label Mosavi's supporters as an anti regime." Incidentally, after several hours offline, TehranBurueau.com is back up.

6:42 AM ET -- "Worse unrest in Tehran in a decade." So reports the AP, which also notes that the major Mousavi rally planned for today has been "delayed." Many on Twitter are saying they still plan to be in the streets.

Protesters set fires and battled anti-riot police, including a clash overnight at Tehran University after 3,000 students gathered to oppose the election results.


One of Mousavi's Web sites said a student protester was killed early Monday during clashes with plainclothes hard-liners in Shiraz, southern Iran. But there was no independent confirmation of the report. There also have been unconfirmed reports of unrest breaking out in other cities across Iran.

Security forces also have struck back with targeted arrests of pro-reform activists and blocks on text messaging and pro-Mousavi Web sites used to rally his supporters.

A top Mousavi aide, Ali Reza Adeli, told The Associated Press that a rally planned for later Monday was delayed. Iran's Interior Ministry rejected a request from Mousavi to hold the rally and warned any defiance would be "illegal," state radio said.

But one of Mousavi's Web sites still accessible in Iran said Mousavi and another candidate, Mahdi Karroubi, planned to walk through Tehran streets to appeal for calm. A third candidate, the conservative Mohsen Rezaei, has also alleged irregularities in the voting.

6:25 AM ET -- Supreme Leader Khamenei orders vote rigging probe. A huge development just in from the Associated Press:

Iran's supreme leader ordered Monday an investigation into allegations of election fraud, marking a stunning turnaround by the country's most powerful figure and offering hope to opposition forces who have waged street clashes to protest the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


State television quoted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei directing a high-level clerical panel, the Guardian Council, to look into charges by pro-reform candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who has said he is the rightful winner of Friday's presidential election.

The decision comes after Mousavi wrote a letter appealing to the Guardian Council and met Sunday with Khamenei, who holds almost limitless power over Iranian affairs. Such an election probe by the 12-member council is uncharted territory and it not immediately clear how it would proceed or how long it would take.

Election results must be authorized by the council, composed of clerics closely allied with the unelected supreme leader. All three of Ahmadinejad's challengers in the election -- Mousavi and two others -- have made public allegations of fraud after results showed the president winning by a 2-to-1 margin.

"Issues must be pursued through a legal channel," state TV quoted Khamenei as saying. The supreme leader said he has "insisted that the Guardian Council carefully probe this letter."

The day after the election, Khamenei urged the nation to unite behind Ahmadinejad and called the result a "divine assessment."

1:57 AM ET -- A plea from Mousavi. Andrew Sullivan passes along a telephone plea from Mousavi, via his contacts at BBC Persia:

I AM UNDER EXTREME PRESSURE TO ACCEPT THE RESULTS OF THE SHAM ELECTION. THEY HAVE CUT ME OFF FROM ANY COMMUNICATION WITH PEOPLE AND AM UNDER SURVEILLANCE. I ASK THE PEOPLE TO STAY IN THE STREETS BUT AVOID VIOLENCE.

1:34 AM ET -- What comes next? Laura Rozen has some answers.

Iranian opposition presidential candidate Mir Hussein Moussavi is planning a march of his supporters at 4 p.m. Monday in Tehran, Iranian sources said. He apparently went to see the supreme leader Sunday to seek a permit for it, but one hasn't yet been obtained. If he is prevented from getting permission, he has said he plans to march to the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomenei, an act that Iranians say the authorities of the Islamic Republic would be disinclined to prevent.


Iranian sources said former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is in Qom, seeking to persuade clerics not to certify the Iranian elections.

Another presidential candidate, Mohsen Rezai, the former head of the Revolutionary Guards, issued a statement today saying he wants to have the ballots examined, Iranian sources said.

Meanwhile: "Iran has rejected a request by defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi to hold a nationwide march on Monday to protest at the disputed election results, the Interior Ministry said. 'No authorisation for a march or gathering has been issued and any kind of gathering or march is illegal,' an official with the ministry's public relations department told news agency AFP."

12:51 AM ET -- Canadian journalist detained and beaten: a first-person account. "For a few terrifying hours Sunday, I was mistaken for an anti-government protester, giving me a glimpse into how the hundreds arrested over the weekend are being treated by authorities in a system where dissidents are known to 'disappear' and not be seen again for months." Read the full thing here. Thanks to readers Salim, Chas, and Dexter for passing it along.

12:38 AM ET -- The Hezbollah rumors. I've seen several comments like this one, from reader Reza: "I was just talking to my aunt and uncle in Tehran. They told me that the news on the street is that the 'police' who are actually beating up the Iranian people are the Lebanese Hizbollah. Iranians are beating them back and are actually telling those Arabs off."

I've seen no evidence that this is the case (such evidence, admittedly, would be hard to obtain). But it is worth noting that it would not be unprecedented. As one informed Iranian-American noted to me, Hezbollah forces from Lebanon were brought into Iran in 2004 when there was great concern about violence on the 5th anniversary of the notorious student protests of 1999 -- much the same way China had to bring in troops from outside Beijing to put down activists at Tiananmen square.

12:30 AM ET -- "We were all together, shouting and chanting... Our hearts were broken." A poetic and heartbreaking email passed along by a reader who wished to remain anonymous:

My dear friend,


I can't say that I wish you were here.... actually I am happy that you are not here to feel our disillusionment and frustration....

After all these efforts, all these street rallies, what happened was that the Islamic Republic of Iran did not count us as human! ..... This is excruciating... especially for us, the youth who did not see the revolution and who have never experienced a crisis like this before... The generation before us can absorb this tragedy much better than we can ...

Yesterday, I was choking on a lump in my throat... I thought I could no longer breath.... We gathered in Vanak circle.... Total strangers were unified... It was an incredible movement.... We were all together, shouting and chanting... Our hearts were broken....

I am not exaggerating...

We were chanting "this is not our vote" "this is not our vote"... tears were coming down my face, other people were much stronger than I was...

We went from Vanak circle to main street "valiaasr".... It was a long way and pedestrians were joining us along the way.... The crowd was growing every second...... Suddenly the revolutionary guard, I am sure you've seen them before, menacing soldiers with black faces and batons, attacked us from behind... In a moment the screaming crowd scattered.... I was terrified.... X was with me but I lost him..... The crowd was shoving me towards the side walk... A hand grabbed me from behind..... It was X.... I felt relieved, nothing was important anymore, we were together... we stood in a corner... people were terrified... then the people attacked the police, they beat them and put their motorcycles on fire... I couldn't believe what I was seeing... I felt I was in Beirut...Everything was very strange...

I was lost in the moment...

Last night my dreams were very disturbing...

I dreamt that I was surrounded by little children, I was playing with them to distract them from what was going on outside.... I burst in to tears... My heart burned for these children because I can not see a future for them...

I burst in to tears...All the children turned and looked at me and I covered my face with my scarf.... I was choking on my sobs......


12:22 AM ET -- A candidate joins the protests. Mehdi Karrobi, one of the two other presidential candidates in the race besides Mousavi and Ahmadinejad,