At 4 PM Monday Iran time (or, about when it gets light here), anti-regime marches have been called in 20 Iranian cities. This is to be followed by a general strike Tuesday. The main flow of information out of Iran right now is not coming through traditional media — and especially not U.S. media — but via Twitter. Check the #iranelection Twitter feed for continuous updates. Stateside, the blog of the National Iranian-American Council has also been a good source.
Expect hundreds of thousands, if not millions, in the streets Monday. And expect crackdowns. The regime is in a hard place. They can’t give quarter to the protesters, but they also don’t want to create martyrs; the escalation of protests since Friday is very similar to the arc that brought down the Shah in 1979. This is already no longer about a disputed election, but about the legitimacy of the rule of the mullahs.
It’s also worth noting that Iran’s 2005 general presidential election was similarly suspect. Ahmadinejad was expected to finish third out of the four leading candidates, but slipped into second under dubious conditions, and then won the runoff. Is it any wonder the fundamentalists thought they could get away with fraud again this time? (After all, it worked even better for fundamentalists in Ohio in 2004 than it did in Florida in 2000…)
And speaking of American neo-cons, spiritual cousins to Ahmadinejad’s patrons, how despicable is it that the emerging narrative on wingnut sites seems to be that this stolen election is wonderful news, because it ruins Obama’s overtures and makes it more likely that Israel or even the US will launch military attacks on Iran? Rather than support the people in the streets in dozens of Iranian cities, demanding freedom and democracy, our wingnut friends want first to abandon them to Revolutionary Guard thugs (whose acts of violent suppression they’re clearly rooting for), then to bomb them. These cretins sure know how to win friends and influence people.