Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Iran: Election and Protests

The response to perceived election fraud in Iran has gripped the world. Incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won last week’s presidential election with a questionable 67 percent of the vote, which seems difficult to imagine considering the massive numbers of urban voters who voted for the reform leader Mir Hossein Mousavi. Granted, with President Ahmadinejad’s strong popularity throughout rural Iran, perhaps he did legitimately achieve such an overwhelming victory. Either way, hundreds of thousands throughout Iran have engaged in protests over the past few days. Interestingly, the protests have been organized through a proliferation of social networking communication; cell phones, twitter, YouTube, and Facebook have all played a vital role in the protest body’s ability to mobilize. Iranian leaders are now attempting to stifle mobilization by blocking websites, intentionally slowing down the internet, and jamming cell phone signals. Now more traditional means of message spreading are being used: word of mouth on the street, in traffic jams, and in public spaces.

At the moment, protesters are calling for a new presidential election, while the electoral authority has conceded to a limited recount of challenged voting sites. Protests will continue. Hopefully a peaceful and just resolution will come from this largest of protests since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The Austin Public Library owns numerous works about modern Iran.

A History of Modern Iran

Culture and Customs of Iran

Voices from Iran: the Changing Lives of Iranian Women

The New Iranian Leadership: Ahmadinejad, Terrorism, Nuclear Ambition, and the Middle East

Iran Awakening

Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution

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