Iran – 80% Turnout

June 20, 2009

From an interview with Ebrahim Yazdi, leader of Iran's banned Freedom Movement. An eighty-percent turnout? Does Iran want freedom? If that number's accurate, clearly they want something.

Tehran, Asharq Al-Awsat – In this interview, Asharq Al-Awsat speaks to Ebrahim Yazdi, head of Iran’s banned Freedom Movement, in the aftermath of Iran’s presidential elections.

Q) Are you surprised at the reaction of supporters of the reformist current who have taken to the streets of Tehran in protest against the results of the recent election?

A) I must admit I was surprised. I did not expect the reaction to be this big and that protests against the violations that took place in the elections would spread so far. There are some very important signs and we should take note of two things in particular: firstly, that over 80 per cent [of eligible voters in Iran] voted in the elections and this has never happened before in Iran.

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  1. ajacksonian says:

    Consider that the ‘election’ was on a pre-chosen slate of ‘acceptable’ candidates chosen by the Mullahs.
    In theory you cast your vote for who you wanted.
    Leaked reports from the Interior Ministry put A-jad 3rd.
    While the rural areas of Iran are populated, THEY are not coming into the cities to speak up FOR him. There is something wrong with the ‘final’ numbers, just by the numbers showing up in Tehran during the demonstrations. If you feel that even in a rigged election that you have been disenfranchised, then what do you do? Accept that the regime will not even give face value to elections? Mind you there was no international observer force (like in the Philippines where all the votes were OPENLY counted) and more than a few reports of the ballots being burned after a very, very short count period for hand marked ballots. Yeah 80% showed up. You can’t count that many votes in the period of time given. Thus something is wrong.
    This is not about justice, as Obama would like it, but about civil say in government even IN rigged elections. That is civil input into government via corrupt representatives (and we do know how that feels, no?). When the regime will not even respect that, then the march to have your voice heard is not about ‘justice': it is about your limited Liberty and circumscribed Freedom receiving the final abuse from a totalitarian tyrant. The move from Authoritarian to Totalitarian was what was attempted, and now the people have had it with BOTH. Mousavi is not a nice guy, given, but he was the choice on a corrupt ballot by enough people to put over 3 million on the streets, per day, every day, for 5 days. As another commenter put it: he is not a ‘founding father’ but a Boris Yeltsin, not so good in himself but better than what you’ve got and a transitional figure to something better.
    Iran, remember, is the heart of one of the Ancient cultures in the world, and its people are damned civil and expect even a bad government to follow its own rules. To not do so is an insult to the culture and its people. And if those damned Arabs, Kurds and Yezidis in Iraq can figure this representative democracy thing out… well, why can’t Iranians?
    Revolts that turn to revolutions never wind up with what you had: it is either better or far worse depending on the victor. Yes it can go from bad to worse (cf. Africa post-colonialism) but that is not a given (cf. Eastern Europe) and depends upon culture. So this one starts out with protesting elections, supporting Mousavi… and now it is ‘Death to the Regime’ and ‘Death to the Dictator’ being chanted. You aren’t winding up on the square next to the one in the process of ‘election’ and are now in a NEW direction called ‘revolution’. When you have to march and DIE to get your voice heard in government, that IS revolutionary. That was OUR revolution. And it did not wind up from where it started, either.

  2. mark l. says:

    I imagine UBL and Zawahiri watching Iran, and the WH’s policy of non-interference.
    If they didn’t have a plan to overthrow pakistan, they will have one by the end of the day. Chances are, they had one set up, but now must accelerate, given the favorable policy being demonstrated by the us president.

  3. mark l. says:

    the above applies also to chavez and columbia, as well as putin and the ukraine.
    ditto anyone who who wants to carve a larger slice out of africa for themselves.
    obama is like kerosene for the world. no, he didn’t light the fire, but he is helping it burn fast.

  4. jd says:

    My theory on why Obama is saying so little:
    On the night of the election, had Obama not won, it was fully expected in the town I lived in at the time, that there would be riots. I lived in a suburb of Detroit, and it was widespread “knowledge” that if he did not win, the election had been “fixed” and the citizens of Detroit would not stand by quietly and allow it to happen. Watching Obama make a statement about Iran a few moments ago, it seemed clear that if he does not get re-elected he would employ these same measures, therefore he wants to parse his words carefully.