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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

The Iranian Uprising, brought to you by Twitter?

Update at 12:39pm by Psychodrew

Multiple tweets about gunfire by pro-government militia at the Tehran rally.

We have heard what sounds like gunshots in distance. still have people on streets we have not heard from. #iranelection


AP News alert FROM IRAN: AP photographer sees pro-government militia fire at opposition protesters, killing at least 1.

jaketapper (of ABC News)

OMG! Iranian state TV says gunfire has erupted at the Mousavi rally in Tehran #iranelection


Video update at 11:16 am EDT USA by John Allen

More after the jump

Another random update at 11:15am by Psychodrew

An image of Mousavi at the Tehran rally.  Most tweets indicate that police along the main roads are standing peacefully aside.  The crowds are reportedly thanking the police for not attacking them.


Another random update at 10:22am by Psychodrew

Mohammad Reza Khatami–brother of former president Mohammad Khatami–is at the rally.


Another random update at 9:56am by Psychodrew

Many Tweets from Iran about nationwide protests.  Many complaints about difficulty uploading pictures and film.  This picture purported depicts protesters in Tehran.


Updated at 9:33pm by Psychodrew

There’s some Twittering about wearing green tomorrow to show solidarity with the Iranian people.  Info here.

Regular Post

The Iranian presidential election was followed by allegations of fraud and street protests.  Most of the protests began on Saturday, when CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News have scaled down TV operations.  Although the Iranian government confiscated video cameras from reporters, shut down telephone lines and text messaging and cut off access to pro-reform websites and social networking websites such as facebook and Twitter, the tech-savvy Iranian netizens have found ways to communicate, especially via Twitter.  I have been closely following an Iranian in Tehran and an Iranian-American on the west coast, who has been communicating with family back in Tehran.  I have been getting information before it was on the news and reading tweets about plans for a protest tomorrow and a general strike on Tuesday.  


What I find so fascinating about this is the government’s inability to keep protesters from communicating with one another and the outside world.  They are relying on their old methods of stiffling dissent and cutting off communication, but technology has begun to outgrow those methods.  My favorite example is the tweet below.  The government has shut down many pro-reform websites, so the protesters have come up with an interesting response.  Shut down the government’s website.

This link takes you to a website that continuously re-boots the webage of the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.  If enough people do this, the website would presumably shut down because it can’t handle the traffic.  If you actually do want to help bring down the Ayatollah’s website, click here.  I started to do it and realized it might not be a good idea to do that from my office computer.

It has been both fascinating and heart-breaking to watch this happen from Twitter.  The tweets about students being beaten.  Videos of women beaten by police and documenting injuries to student protesters.  At the same time, it has been interesting to watch a population use technology to defy the government.

Just to show you an example.  While I was writing this note, the Ayatollah’s website was indeed brought down by protesters and their allies.  The power of Twitter…



  1. louisprandtl

    The decision has been made to talk” regardless of the election outcome, Mr. Biden said Sunday. He added that “talks for Iran are not a reward for good behavior,” but depend on President Obama’s sense of whether such contacts would advance security interests for the United States. Mr. Biden, speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” questioned but did not explicitly challenge Mr. Ahmadinejad’s victory.

    OK..great we’ll talk even though we know you stole an election, suppressed the opposition and killed some of those who opposed you. And what are we going to talk about? Are we going to shake hands before the talk?

    It sure looks like the way they’re suppressing speech, the way they’re suppressing crowds, the way in which people are being treated, that there’s some real doubt” about the result, Mr. Biden said; he also questioned a surprisingly strong showing by Mr. Ahmadinejad in Tehran.

    But while saying that “there’s an awful lot of questions about how this election was run,” Mr. Biden said that American officials “just don’t know enough” to formally reject the official outcome

    I think Vice President Biden needs to take a vacation for a little while. He “just don’t know” to formally reject the official outcome? He doesn’t know what the whole World knows by now? (Site is down for now)

  2. but checked to see for sure and found they are GMT -4:30. That puts them 8 1/2 hours ahead of EDT. The demonstration is supposed to start in a little over 10 hours. I usually don’t get up until around 9. I think I’ll try to be up by 7:30 to see what is happening. I’m getting worried about the response. There are all sorts of rumors flying around. Some claim that the govt has brought in Hezzbolah fighters because the police couldn’t be counted on to fight their own countrymen. Others say they are raiding dormitories at the university. I posted one video that shows students who were beaten. Most of the wounds were obviously made by batons and showed pressure cuts and bruises.

  3. Shaun Appleby


      1. i am going to masjed tekkieh to pray. I will try to log on later today. #Iranelectionabout 1 hour ago from web

      2.…. #Iranelectionabout 1 hour ago from web

      3. farsi link from gooya:… . #Iranelectionabout 1 hour ago from web

      4. confirmed – tehran uni dorm 17 seriously injured. no deaths reported yet. will post link. #Iranelectionabout 1 hour ago from web

      5. have no more news from uni dorm. i must go to pray now. today we will need god. #Iranelectionabout 1 hour ago from web

      6. dawn is breaking. can hear prayers from mosques. #Iranelectionabout 1 hour ago from web

      7. occasionally hear gunshots in distance. no idea where. seems to be all over city. just like 79. #Iranelectionabout 1 hour ago from web

      8. everytime i press refresh, system cuts out. no incoming at all. crazy. #Iranelectionabout 1 hour ago from web

      9. internet very slow. dialup only. no facebook, no bbc, cnn nothing. even arab stations blocked. #Iranelectionabout 1 hour ago from web

     10. have lost mobile contact in university dorm. cannot recoonect. cannot get info. #Iranelectionabout 1 hour ago from web

     11. moussavi demo at 4pm this afternoon in 19 cities announced. expect millions. #Iranelectionabout 2 hours ago from web

     12. this will not stop. #Iranelectionabout 2 hours ago from web

     13. 4am and people still on streets and rooftops shouting ‘death to the dictator’. #Iranelectionabout 2 hours ago from web

     14. students being killed in tehran uni dorm in amirabad right now. this must stop, ahmadinejad must stop. #Iranelectionabout 2 hours ago from web

     15. apparently there is running battles in tehran uni right now. i can hear shooting on the phone line. #Iranelectionabout 2 hours ago from web

     16. gov trying to arrest all people suspected in organising demo tomorrow and strike on tuesday. #Iranelectionabout 2 hours ago from web

     17. i have just been told that moussavihas called national strike on tuesday. #Iranelectionabout 2 hours ago from web

     18. i am hearing that students beaten severly at tehran uni tonight. am speaking with someone on the scene now on mobile. #Iranelectionabout 2 hours ago from web

     19. i am not sure if students killed in tehran uni dorm. unconfirmed that there was shooting heard there. no students seen. #Iranelectionabout 2 hours ago from web

     20. tomorrow if army come we will greet them with roses. #Iranelectionabout 2 hours ago from web


    Compelling stuff, apparently overseas twitterers are providing proxy server addresses for Iranian’s blocked from the Internet and, unconfirmed, engaging in DOS attacks on some Iranian government websites.

  4. Shaun Appleby

    From a Canadian free-lance jounalist detained on Sunday:

    For a few terrifying hours Sunday, I was mistaken for an anti-government protester, giving me a glimpse into how the hundreds arrested over the weekend are being treated by authorities in a system where dissidents are known to “disappear” and not be seen again for months.

    George McLeod – Globe freelancer detained, beaten The Globe and Mail 14 Jun 09

    Worth reading the whole thing.

  5. But some fascinating background here. Looks like Khamenei has agreed to open an inquiry into vote rigging. There are also fascinating details about a call from the interior ministry telling Mousavi he’d won, and also complaints from all the other candidates, liberal and conservative alike

  6. louisprandtl

    EU foreign ministers expressed “serious concern” and called for an inquiry into the conduct of the election.

    France and Germany have summoned their Iranian ambassadors to explain what happened.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised the use of “completely unacceptable” force against protesters.

    “We are worried about the limitations of media coverage and we believe there should be a transparent evaluation of the election result. There are signs of irregularities,” she said.

  7. and was disgusted with the anchor’s response to Christiane Amanpour’s report. He sounded like my grandson and his friends when I told them what was happening in Iran. Comments like, “Wow”, “I had no idea”, and the like.

    Here’s Sully’s latest comment on CNN:

    CNN gets some video, finally. But then you hear a simple statement from the anchor that Mousavi lost the election and telling us to wait for the official results in ten days’ time. CNN no longer qualifies as a news channel:

  8. louisprandtl


    Manchester, Vt.: Some are critcizing President Obama for not more strongly supporting the opposition in Iran. Do you think he should and why or why not?

    Michelle Moghtader: Obama so far is playing it safe by staying silent. He said he would pursue talks with Iran, which are not dependent on who the President is.

    He is trying to avoid a 1953 scenario when the US over threw the democratically elected Mossadegh. If Obama responds by supporting the opposition, he will strengthen Ahmadinejad by allowing him to criticize the Americans and rally his supporters even more.

    Agreed that is smart foreign policy. But that would also mean Biden not sending out confusing signals. He still need that vacation from Press.

  9. anna shane

    wasn’t a technical possibility before the internet revolution.  But once started, it’s very hard to stop, impossible.  The kids are angry and they must be heard.  This may be the next ‘shot heard round the world.’

  10. louisprandtl

    The Iranian election fiasco–or coup–poses a challenge for President Barack Obama. How should he continue his policy of engagement with a regime that appears to have stolen an election so brazenly? The United States does routinely deal with autocrats and democracy-suppressers around the world: Egypt, China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and others. Few suggest that Washington shouldn’t have diplomatic relations with Beijing until China becomes a multi-party state with free elections. But should Obama withhold his support for the movement for reform and democracy in Iran? Could he do so without causing harm by tainting the opposition (Washington is not so popular in Iran)? And could he do so without killing the possibility of reaching any future accommodation with the present leaders of Tehran, who could end up staying in charge for years to come? No doubt, neocons and others who have been calling for a hardline on Iran will exploit Tehran’s crackdown on democracy and make the ready-for-cable argument that the West cannot deal with the Iranian regime and there’s only one course of action: get tough and tougher and tougher.

    On Saturday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs released a statement: “Like the rest of the world, we were impressed by the vigorous debate and enthusiasm that this election generated, particularly among young Iranians. We continue to monitor the entire situation closely, including reports of irregularities.” This brief statement did not reflect the dilemma faced by Obama.

    And that dilemma will be shaped by how the Iranian opposition led by Mir Hossein Mousavi responds to the crisis. With the dust still swirling, there’s no telling yet what direction the opposition will take. Will it fade and Ahmadinejad consolidate power? Will it spread and force some sort of societal show-down that threatens the autocrats of Allah?

    More at

  11. with Berlusconi at 5pm. There will surely be some questions about the Iranian situation at that press conference. I will be surprised to hear anything that differs much from Biden’s comments on MTP on Sunday.

  12. Andrew Sullivan’s blog, The Daily Dish, has changed it’s accent color to green. He’s been covering the events in Iran more fully than any other blog. In fact, his posts ever since Friday’s vote have all been about Iran. We could do the same by changing our top banner to green. I’m not sure who did the original.

  13. louisprandtl

    in Middle East…Tom Friedman’s analysis on how pro American is not a dirty word on Arab streets any more.

    Fortunately, each one of these Islamist groups overplayed their hand by imposing religious lifestyles or by dragging their societies into confrontations the people didn’t want. This alienated and frightened more secular, mainstream Arabs and Muslims and has triggered an “awakening” backlash among moderates from Lebanon to Pakistan to Iran. The Times’s Robert Mackey reported that in Tehran “chants of ‘Death to America’ ” at rallies for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week were answered by chants of “Death to the Taliban – in Kabul and Tehran” at a rally for his opponent, Mir Hussein Moussavi.

    Finally, along came President Barack Hussein Obama. Arab and Muslim regimes found it very useful to run against George Bush. The Bush team demonized them, and they demonized the Bush team. Autocratic regimes, like Iran’s, drew energy and legitimacy from that confrontation, and it made it very easy for them to discredit anyone associated with America. Mr. Obama’s soft power has defused a lot of that. As result, “pro-American” is not such an insult anymore.

    I don’t know how all this shakes out; the forces against change in this region are very powerful – see Iran – and ruthless. But for the first time in a long time, the forces for decency, democracy and pluralism have a little wind at their backs. Good for them

    We really have one heck of a smart dude as our Pres…

  14. This has become an incredible real time diary. So glad I frontpaged it psychodrew (yes and now it’s a hit I’m taking credit for that)

    My substantive comment is this: Iran is NOT China. This is not Tianamen. The original Iranian revolution did not form from some guerillas in the hills, but from popular street protest in Iran.

    Apart from some Iranian friends, I know no more than you guys, but my hunch is that this is more like Eastern Europe in 1989 than China

    We live in hope

  15. It’s for Iranians to make the decision… we don’t want this to be about the US… we’re often a political football.

    But having said that he is upset by the violence. Free speech and dissent is a universal value, and whenever he or the Americans see violence on peaceful demonstrators we are troubled.

    They didn’t have observers so he can’t say what really happened. But people were so helpful and so engaged and committed to democracy now feel betrayed.

    What happens next should not result in bloodshed or people stifling others views.

    As for the US, no matter how odious he finds some of the leaders, the use of tough hard headed diplomacy – with no illusions – is critical to pursuing national security interests, especially a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Those are core interests to the US and the world in general. Tough dialogue will be pursued.

    Even as we do so, Obama says it would be wrong to be silence now. To all those who put so much energy and hope into this election, the world is watching. Particularly to the youth in Iran – we don’t want to make any decisions for them – but their voice should be respected


  16. louisprandtl

    So, what does the future hold for Iran, and its relationship with the West? Repression of the society that began under Mr. Ahmadinejad will deepen. There will likely be a wide ranging crackdown on the reformist/democratic groups, as well as university students and human rights advocates. We may see nationally broadcast “confessions” of political figures, admitting their “crimes.” The IRGC’s influence in the state’s affairs, which began under Mr. Ahmadinejad, will spread, and its financial empire will expand in order to control all aspects of Iran’s economy.

    As for the reformists, they will hopefully learn that just participating in the electoral process is not enough to confront the conservatives who control all levers of power. They need to organize the masses, and form strong non-governmental organizations and political groups, and develop a young leadership that can connect effectively with the people.

    In the international arena, the aggressive foreign policy of Mr. Ahmadinejad will continue. The Obama administration will find it more difficult to reach a negotiated solution to its dispute with Iran over its nuclear program, given that all the moderate dissenting voices within Iran are being suppressed.

    The international community must refuse to recognize the legitimacy of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s re-election, demand cancellation of the elections, and holding new fair and democratic elections that can be monitored by international monitors.

  17. louisprandtl

    President Barack Obama on Monday said Iranian voters have a right to feel their ballots mattered and urged the investigation into vote-rigging allegations to go forward without additional violence.

    Obama said reports of violence that followed Iranian elections trouble him and all Americans. He said peaceful dissent should never be subject to violence that followed weekend elections that gave President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a second term.

    “It would be wrong for me to be silent on what we’ve seen on the television the last few days,” Obama told reporters at the White House.

    Obama said he had no way of knowing the results were valid — he said the United States had no election monitors in the country — but it was important that the voters’ choices be respected.

  18. creamer

    But I do think that we are limited in being able to do anything else. Obama has said that “we respect Iranian sovreignty”, I think thats the most important part of his words on the subject. If it get’s bloodier and more chaotic, we will still merely be spectators. AT the end of the day we will have to make a decision about trying to engage with the Iranian government, proably led by Ahmadinejad.

     We deal with leaders all over the world who hold power without free and fair elections. And while I share everyones facination and hope for a “green” outcome, and while the Mullahs might not like it, I don’t they care about mine or anyone else’s opinion.

  19. creamer

    Observers are suggesting this miight be a sign of a crackdown. Giving Ahmadi some space between himself and the coming violence.

  20. since this diary is at the top of the rec list.

    Google has launched a Persian to English and English to Persian translation service. I just tested it as best I could since I don’t know Farsi and found it seems to work pretty well. –

    I couldn’t get this comment block to display the original in Farsi, but you should get the picture. Speaking of pictures, that’s why I picked this article from the ones available in Farsi. It had a picture of Hillary. A horrible picture, btw.

    Google translation:

    Elbow defeat Hillary Clinton

    18:11 – 28 June 1388

    Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State United States the way the White House fell to the ground.

    Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State United States yesterday, while the Wednesday in the White House went to ground in the incident that happened right hand, his elbow bone failure.

    One American diplomat announced yesterday the Clinton White House meeting was to be present but after this incident occurred, to the George Washington University Hospital transferred. After taking pictures of the bones of Clinton, he was transferred to their home.

    According to this diplomat, Clinton announced the result taking pictures until the hand bones, the doctor prescribed medicines will be used.

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