Turmoil in Tehran

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Supporters of defeated Presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi–now being referred to as a “moderate” by the AP and other news sources–are rioting in Tehran. For up to the minute coverage, check out Michael Totten’s site. Totten has posted a number of videos, including this one, which he describes as “a human wave of demonstrators chasing frightened police officers.”

Other videos you can see at Totten’s site and others convey a sense of how large the demonstrations are. News reports indicate that cell phone coverage has been cut, as well as access to YouTube and Facebook.

It’s ironic that this battle is being waged on behalf of Mousavi, who, as Paul and others have pointed out, would not obviously be an improvement on Ahmadinejad. The ostensible point of the Tehran riots is that voter fraud was committed on behalf of Ahmadinejad. I don’t doubt that that’s true; at the same time, I’m not aware of any reason to believe that most Iranians did not, in fact, vote for the incumbent.

I could well be wrong about this–Iran’s culture and political system are vastly different from ours–but my sense is that Mousavi’s supporters are largely urban sophisticates who care deeply about how Iran is viewed by other, presumably more advanced, countries. In this respect one can draw an analogy between them and Obama supporters here in the U.S. Our instinct is naturally to applaud rebellion against the mullahs–I do applaud it–but I’m afraid that progress in Iran is, at best, very far off.

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