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US Bloggers Take On Iran's Elections

The government in Iran has declared President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner in last Friday's election, finishing far ahead of his closest challenger, reformist Mir Hossein Mousavi. The election results have sparked charges of a rigged election and violent street protests by angry Mousavi supporters.

Following are some samples of U.S. blogger opinions on the Iranian election and subsequent protests:

Growing Dissent

“Despite the increased repression of recent years, Iran has witnessed a growing civil society movement and increasing calls for greater freedom. Indeed, those in the Iranian regime correctly recognize that the biggest threat to their grip on power comes not from the United States or Israel, but from their own people. Civilian-based insurrections have played a critical role over the past century in challenging Iranian rulers, such as during the Constitutional Revolution of 1907 and the overthrow of the Shah in 1979. Iran's clerical leaders, faced with growing dissent -- particularly among youth, women, the middle class, and urban dwellers -- realize that they may be next.” --- Steven Zunes, Chair of Mid-Eastern Studies program at the University of San Francisco in the Huffington Post Blog

The Police State

“We are right to call on President Obama to speak out in support of Mir Hossein Mousavi and the courageous opposition.” “And we are right to remember that Iran is not a democracy, however vibrant its culture, but a police state, and that the Iranian people are subjected to appalling oppression.” --- Michael J.W. Stickings in The Reaction

Regime Takes a Hit

“The public demonstrations against the result don't appear to be that big. In the past decade, reformers have always backed down in Iran when challenged by hardliners, in part because no one wants to relive the horrible Great Terror of the 1980s after the revolution, when faction-fighting produced blood in the streets. Mousavi is still from that generation."

"My own guess is that you have to get a leadership born after the revolution, who does not remember it and its sanguinary aftermath, before you get people willing to push back hard against the rightwingers."

"So, there are protests against an allegedly stolen election. The Basij paramilitary thugs and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards will break some heads. Unless there has been a sea change in Iran, the theocrats may well get away with this soft coup for the moment. But the regime's legitimacy will take a critical hit, and its ultimate demise may have been hastened, over the next decade or two.” --- Juan Cole in Informed Comment

Standing Up To Fraud

"I don't know what to say. Isn't rioting in the streets the appropriate reaction when your country is taken over through election fraud? What's the alternative, to reward theft?" --- Susie Madrak in Crooks and Liars

Go After Khamenei

“Few doubt that the results presented by the interior minister are rigged. In fact, there are increasing questions as to whether the votes were ever even counted. If this were really a landslide in favor of Ahmadinejad, where are those 63 percent of the people right now? Shouldn't they be celebrating their victory on the streets?"

"Clearly, the anti-Ahmadinejad camp has been taken by surprise and is scrambling for a plan. Increasingly, given their failure to get Khamenei to intervene, their only option seems to be to directly challenge -- or threaten to challenge -- the supreme leader."

"Here's where the powerful chairman of the Assembly of Experts, Mousavi supporter Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, comes in. Only this assembly has the formal authority to call for Khamenei's dismissal, and it is now widely assumed that Rafsanjani is quietly assessing whether he has the votes to do so or not.” --- Trita Parsi in FP Passport

Mousavi’s Future

“Where the struggle is headed in Iran over the next few days and weeks is hardly a settled question. Undoubtedly, the government will continue its crackdown and intimidation to end the protest. Whether they succeed is another matter. There is also the question of what to do with Mir Hussein Mousavi. He is an international figure now. Simply locking him away in jail or keeping him under house arrest hardly seems like a tenable position for the ruling elite to take, but they may certainly do so, while engaging to character assassination and possibly bringing charges against him for sedition. --- Webster Brooks in Brooks Foreign Policy Review