I woke up this morning anxious to check the results of the Iranian elections, in no small part because I’m a politics nerd, but also because I’ve been so moved by the photos coming out of Tehran of Mousavi’s supporters. Proud Iranians, men and women, young hipsters and grandmas, wrapping themselves in a beautiful shade of green to show their support for civil elections as a means to civil world relations, watching Mousavi tear into Ahmedinejad in state-televised debates, calling for an end to pipe dreams of world dominance, an end to the willing-idiocy of Holocaust denial, and a return of focus on Iran’s domestic poverty – it seemed too good to be true. The only good news this morning was that the Guardian’s Michael Tomasky had already written my thoughts for me.
The “election” “result” in Iran can’t possibly be accurate or honest. Ahmadinejad won more than 60% of the vote in Tabriz – Mousavi’s hometown? Right. But what now? The Guardian Council – the board of elections, as we’d say over here – gave the tally its imprimatur. In fact, in a flourish so seemingly corrupt as to be impressive in a way, the council said the election was the cleanest in 30 years or some similar nonsense. What can the Mousavi forces do? What can Obama do? The international community? This would appear to be basically a coup. That’s how the world needs to think of it.
And the photos coming out of Tehran now are very different, except for the green. From what I’ve been able to find, the protesting opposition has been goaded into answerable violence. This is from an excellent set by “mousavi1388”: Everyone in green is a Mousavi supporter who’d just been told that their candidate, polling 20 points ahead two days before the election, has lost in a landslide to the incumbent. Everyone in riot gear is a policeman. Well, at least the United States had no vested interest in an Ahmedinejad win. Right? For more information as it happens, I recommend Talking Points Memo’s admirably level-headed coverage.