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June 18, 2009
Iran seeks political solution as post-election turmoil deepens

In Iran on Thursday, hundreds of thousands turned out to mourn those killed during days of protests surrounding the country’s disputed presidential election.

Mir-Hossein Mousavi — the challenging reformist candidate who many claim to be the true winner — will meet with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Guardian Council on Saturday, along with two other losing candidates.

Numerous demonstrators have reportedly been physically abused by the Revolutionary Guard since the start of the street protests.

Ervand Abrahamian, a distinguished professor of history at the City University of New York, joins Martin Savidge to discuss what the future may hold for this post-election tumult.

A journalist with Tehran Bureau who wishes to remain anonymous sends a description of recent happenings to Worldfocus:

On Wednesday, another huge throng (several tens of thousands of protesters) marched peacefully from Haft-e-Tir Square to Enqelab Square in central Tehran — in silence (no slogan-chanting), dressed in black (for mourning) and green (for Mousavi), carrying flowers and the following types of placards:

– blown-up photos of the dead & wounded in past days (from photos circulating on the Internet)

– the text of a constitutional article that states “all peaceful demonstrations are allowed” under the law

– caricatures of Ahmadinejad with a Hitler-like moustache

Nahid Siamdoust of Time Magazine discusses the political climate in Iran.

– sympathy messages for the families of the fallen

– slogans printed on banners, such as: (phrases rhyme in Farsi)

  • “Election, not selection”
  • “Coup d’etat state, step down!”
  • “Liar! Where’s your 63 percent?” (i.e., of votes)
  • “Cheating — 1 or 2 percent, not 53 percent!”
  • “Wretched Mahmoud — you still call it football?” (in reference to his answer to Christiane Amanpour, comparing protesters to dissapointed soccer fans)

Today’s march is slated for Toopkhaneh Square to the Grand Bazaar (South Tehran). It appears that a different route & different district is chosen everyday, so to increase visibility among Tehran’s 15 million residents. Of course, all routes chosen so far are large and busy thoroughfares, which is causing heavy traffic.

A protest in front of the U.N. mission is also planned for earlier in the day.

Energy for protests seems to be gaining momentum, because every day more people learn about the peaceful nature of the marches and their massive attendance and join in for the next day’s. More importantly, fear of police intervention in these marches has subsided, as police simply stand by and watch.

Interestingly, info is now spreading by word-of-mouth on the street. Strangers literally tell each other about the next day’s march location, from car to car and passerby to passerby. Some are printing & distributing infosheets on the streets as well (the type of info found on chain e-mails, to give to those who may not have Internet access).

There are increasing reports of raids on private homes to take away satellite dishes. People are increasingly turning to radio as a source of news.

For more, view our Voices of Iran extended coverage page and listen to our online radio show on Baha’i faith and modern Iran.

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