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Coup, Unrest after Iranian Election
Friday was supposed to be a day to celebrate in Iran. The Presidential race had been fought with vigorous debates, Western style campaigning and a record number of young citizens voting for the first time. The opposition was hopeful and energized, and by all accounts the beginning of the voting was pointing toward a serious challenge for incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Then chaos took over, and now we are witnessing in real time (although the supreme powers that be in Iran are doing their best to keep the world in the dark).
Here’s the time line of events that can be generally accepted as reality (defined here as multiple source confirmations sprinkled with some common sense):
The election had such a high turnout that it had to be extended for 6 hours
Projections had challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi winning decisively and Ahmadinejad finishing in last place
The Interior Ministry announces an ‘official’ victory for Ahmadinejad with 63% of the vote
An announcement from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, congratulated Ahmadinejad and told the nation to support his presidency and not fall prey to foreign propaganda
An election council created by representatives from all three major presidential candidates reject the ‘official’ results and call for a new election
Massive protests break out all across Iran, with Mousavi’s supporters dressed in Green
Protesters are suppressed with a heavy hand by Revolutionary Guard forces loyal to the Mullahs
A leaked report from the Iranian Interior Ministry gives Mousavi’s true vote count at just under 20 million, in comparison to Ahmadinejad’s 5.7 million
A rumor spread for all of Mousavi’s supporters to gather at his campaign HQ for a rally. Speculation was ripe that it was a trap.
It was. Hundreds of supporters are arrested, including the Ayatollah’s own daughter
Universities across Iran have been attacked by members of the Revolutionary Guard
Professors at Sharif University have resigned their posts in protest
Rumors abound that Mousavi, as well as outspoken critic of the Ayatollah and former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who is also a member of the ruling clerical high council, have been placed under house arrest
UPDATE: Grand Ayatollah Sanei in Iran has declared Ahmadinejad’s presidency illegitimate and cooperating with his government against Islam (as translated by a Farsi language reader of The Atlantic)