Demonstrations have been staged by Iranians around the world - with banners
asking "Where are our votes?" News websites including BBC and CNN as
well as social networks such as Facebook have been blocked in Iran following
the violent protest demonstrations in the streets of Tehran for depicting the
public anger against the fabricated election results of the Islamic Republic.
Text messaging and other means of communication are all blocked. It was terrible to see the horrific photos from Tehran showing the police beating young protesters drenched in blood, many of whom had voted for the first time in a hope for "change." Many of whom now say, "our votes have been disregarded, we will never cast a vote again!"
Former reformist candidates have demanded that the Guardian Council - an unelected body that supervises elections - dismiss the fabricated results of the election and regain public trust with a new ballot. Mir Hussein Moussavi, the main rival of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, requested his supporters continue non-violent protest demonstrations against the results. The second strongest rival, Mr. Mehdi Karrobi, has said that he does not recognize Ahmedinejad as President. Meanwhile, supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei has ordered an investigation into the election results.
According to official results, Ahmedinejad won with 62.63 percent of the vote. Mir Hussein Moussavi secured 33.75 percent. Polling hours were extended till late at night due to huge voter turnout. Immediately after the polls were closed, an official Iranian news agency declared Ahmedinejad the winner. This raises questions as to how the results could be announced so quickly. How did they count all the ballots, from far-flung rural parts of the country that take an entire day to be counted? Based on these facts, the supporters of Ahmedinejad's rivals accuse the government of fraud in the election results. They say as many as 17 million votes are missing. Some of Mr. Moussavi's campaigners claim that the results of many ballots were announced even without boxes being opened after the polls were closed.
Seeing the keen interest of large parts of Iran's youth in the 10th presidential elections, foreign media predicted a change of administration in Tehran. For the first time, Iranians were participating in large numbers with enthusiasm, but the predictions went wrong when the fabricated results were announced. It seems very likely that the investigation will result in favor of Ahmedinejad, riots will continue for some days or weeks, and then everything will calm down.
The will of Iranians has been broken long before the "elections." It was broken when Ahmadinejad became the favorite of the decision maker, the unelected supreme leader Mr Khamenei.
Whoever the president may be, the Supreme Leader remains the final decision maker in Iran. Khamenei's support for Ahmedinejad was evident long ago, but Iranians didn't expect him to ignore their will so blatantly.
Soon after Ahmedinejad's victory was announced on the election night, Khamenei greeted the "re-election" by asking people to accept the results. According to election regulations, Khamenei had to wait for three days to hear any complaints arising before approving the final results, but he rushed to declare Ahmedinejad's victory immediately.
Iranians know very well that these fraudulent elections were blessed by the Supreme Leader. Although the theocratic regime has attempted to legitimize its rule by holding fake parliamentary and presidential elections, the real power always remains with the unelected Supreme Leader.
Khamenei supported Ahmedinejad's confrontational approach to the leadership of Iran. Reformists had promised to change it, but Khamenei did not want this.
Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the regime has tried to legitimize the dictatorial system with so-called democratic drama, but the most recent elections showed Iranians that they would never be able to bring change within the theocratic dictatorship. They need a revolution to overthrow the entire political set up and clerical regime.
The cautious international reaction to the Iranian election is surprising. In his Cairo speech Barack Obama claimed that America would not impose any system of government on any country, but would support democracy with the same spirit.
The US, the European Union and other international powers should react to the call of thousands protesting in Tehran. Pressure should be placed on Iran. The nation should be further isolated with more sanctions in order to compel it to accept the demand of the masses for democratic values.
Abbas Daiyar is an editorial writer and columnist currently affiliated with the Daily Outlook Afghanistan.
Related Materials from the Atlantic Community:
- Editorial Team: How to Respond to the Iranian Elections?
- Editorial Team: Is Apologizing a Sign of Weakness or Strength?
- Sepideh Parsa: "Weblogistan" Key to Democratization in Iran