You knew this was going to happen.
Tens of thousands of Iranians took to the streets of Tehran Monday, defying a country-wide crackdown with protests against the hotly-disputed results of last week’s hotly-disputed presidential election.
Chanting crowds, some wearing green campaign colors, greeted Mir Hossein Mousavi, the defeated candidate in Friday’s election, as he slowly moved through the streets on the back of a car.
Scuffles broke out as Ahmadinejad supporters, riding motorbikes and armed with sticks, attacked the demonstrators along the route.
“The vote of the people is more important than Mousavi or any other person!” said Mousavi, standing on the car roof in Revolution Square and speaking through a loudspeaker.
The crowds of young and old who packed several miles of his route, shouted back: “Mousavi, we support you! We will die but retrieve our votes!”
……Both Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, another defeated candidate who appeared alongside him Monday, have lodged complaints that the vote was rigged.
Some of the results — which awarded a record-breaking 25 million votes and 63 percent of the electorate to Ahmadinejad — were announced before the ballot boxes had even been opened.
On Monday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, ordered 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 Ahmadinejad’s re-election.
The bottom line here is just how much Ahmadinejad will crack down on dissent, and how far, in the face of growing discontent, the hardline mullahs and the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (IRGC) will support his hold on power.
Iran’s top legislative body—the unelected Guardian Council—will issue a ruling based on the complaints of Ahmadinejad’s opponents, within 10 days.
The ruling clerics made sure that all serious contenders for the presidency were disqualified, but they underestimated Mousavi’s popularity and were not prepared for the onslaught of pissed off Iranian voters.
As for the world’s reaction:
The U.S. and Canada challenged Iran’s claims that hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won re-election, but much of the rest of the world remained silent Saturday despite claims of fraud and scenes of clashes on the streets of Tehran.
……The U.S. refused to accept Ahmadinejad’s claim of a landslide and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she hoped the outcome reflected the “genuine will and desire” of Iranian voters.
“We are monitoring the situation as it unfolds in Iran, but we, like the rest of the world, are waiting and watching to see what the Iranian people decide,” Clinton told reporters during a visit to Canada.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said his country, too, was “deeply concerned” by reports of irregularities.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said concerns about ballot counting that candidates have expressed are an issue for Iranian authorities to address. “Our priority is that Iran engages with the concerns of the world community, above all on the issue of nuclear proliferation,” he said.
But most countries appeared to be taking a wait-and-see approach, including the European Union and China, Germany, Italy and Japan — nations with strong economic ties to Iran.
France said it was closely following the situation.
Wow. Everything from ‘hoping the outcome reflects the “genuine will and desire” of Iranian voters’ to ‘closely monitoring the situation’.
Yeah, that oughta scare Mahmoud.
Somehow I don’t think Ahmadinejad and the rulling clerics are too concerned with any “reaction” from the White House. The biggest threat for the Iranian regime is from the internal unrest.