Tracking: Iran Election Blogs & Realtime Web Feeds

Updated: 6/22 is collecting links to realtime citizen and mainstream news feeds and blogs following the turmoil in Iran. Post updated information sources in the comments section below. Not all citizen-media postings are clearly sourced, and include propaganda as well as first-person witnessing. Use your judgment when interpreting the text, video and images. Twitter hashtag: #IranElection
140-character bulletins and links sent by members of the public.

Heavy Spin Cycle on Iran Reporting

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s annual visit to the United Nations General Assembly has brought the usual round of troubling stories about Iran’s nuclear ambitions and his anti-Israel views. But a glance at the world’s press offers some less-expected — and sometimes less credible — angles. Hong Kong’s Asia Times newspaper gives a new image for the country, that of Iran the diplomatic power. According to contributor Kaveh L. Afrasiabi, Iran has recently helped to reduce tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan and in post-war Georgia and Russia. This is not entirely selfless, however.

Iran Grapples with Discrimination, Division

Despite an ongoing crackdown on dissent, women’s rights and ethnic separatism remain a thorn in the side of Iran’s fundamentalist government. Reuters reports that the “Million Signatures Campaign,” aimed at improving the legal standing of Iranian women in divorce, child custody, inheritance and other cases, continues unabated despite the periodic jailing of its leaders. One Iranian cleric told Reuters that religious law ensures women there are not turned into “products” and sex symbols in the Western fashion. But according to campaigners — who collect signatures on buses, in shopping centers and at social events — the strict Islamic dress code is less important to them than social equity. Advocates say the social standing of women in Iran has improved, and that the majority of university students today are women, although the law of the land continues to reinforce discrimination.

Iran's Other Little Problem — Inflation

Nary a word about Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s nuclear ambitions or headline-grabbing trip to the United States appeared in a recent Agence France-Presse article. Instead, the piece focused entirely on complaints about his economic stewardship, which experts say will push inflation to more than 20 percent this year. Rising costs for food and services have hit the poor hardest, prompting a leading reformist ayatollah to claim that the problem is “making the people cry out.” Opponents blame Ahmadinejad for “frittering away” abundant oil revenue on highly visible infrastructure projects, which one conservative in Parliament said has awakened “the inflation monster.” Source:
“Ahmadinejad’s economic performance under fire again – from both sides”
Agence France-Presse, October 30, 2007

Iran: Dissent Crackdown Deepens

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government is in the midst of an unprecedented crackdown on civilians, criminals and dissenters. Experts suggest that the government is afraid a recent economic downturn will breed unrest across the country, and has resolved to “govern by fear.” At least 60 criminals convicted of murder, rape, drug trafficking or abduction have been convicted and hung since May, including 21 people on one day alone, reports the World Press Review. International human rights campaigners believe the trials are rigged, while the executions are carefully filmed and uploaded to the Web for all Iranians to see — some suggest as cautionary tales engineered by the state. Iranian police have also detaining about 122,000 people since April, most of them women, for flouting the Islamic dress code, according to All Headline News.

Khatami's Losing Hand

Iranian reformist and former president Mohammad Khatami’s inopportune handshake with an Italian woman has outraged religious conservatives, prompting him to withdraw from the 2009 presidential race.
Photo: Khatami in Cuba/Carlos Coutinho

Khatami’s Losing Hand

Former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami announced he will not run for president in the 2009 election, despite his popularity as a reformist candidate, following a scandal over an incident in Italy when he shook hands with a woman. Such handshakes are generally forbidden under Islam except for between family members. Khatami denied the incident took place even as a video circulated on YouTube. Radical clerics have circulated a petition calling for Khatami to be defrocked, and posters of Khatami have been defaced. Supporters see his decision to not run as capitulation to extremists.

Iran: Vice Squad Targets Women on Bicycles

Thousands of women have been cited and hundreds will stand trial for not complying with the Iranian government’s new rules on stricter Islamic dress, listening to Western music and even walking a dog in public, which officials consider impure. Activists are circulating photos of a woman they say was beaten bloody by police during a confrontation over her clothing and veil, provoking an uproar among Iranian bloggers. The new restrictions, introduced for “the country’s moral health,” also include a ban on satellite dishes, co-ed Internet cafes, and any public establishment with darkened windows that prevent officials from peering in, according to ADNKronos. Iranian clergy are also designing a new bicycle for women that has a cabin to cover half of a woman’s body. Officials consider women’s body movements on a bicycle to be “provocative” to men, as are female athletes — who must compete wearing scarves and gowns.

IRAN: Rumors of Missiles Fly in April

Newspaper Web sites around the world are rife with rumors of new aggression in the Persian Gulf. Russia’s national news agency say U.S. military exercises in there are not just a show of strength, but also a warmup for an April 6 attack on Iranian nuclear sites, and that U.S. naval forces in the Gulf match levels prior to the Iraq invasion. The Israeli Web site DEBKA quotes “Arab sources” who say that Bahrain is being used as a staging ground for Patriot anti- missile units, hotels there are filling up with U.S. military personnel, reporters are arriving in “packs,” and that American businesses are being advised to leave the country. Some rumors claim that the attack will be a joint operation with Israel, and will also target Syria and Hezbollah. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said no such plans are in the works.