Where: Tehran, Iran
June 19, 2009 : The Iranian Presidential election results were announced on June 13, 2009, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner for a second term. The popular reformist leader Mirhossein Mousavi was declared defeated. Ever since then, the country has been rocked by widespread demonstrations. Tens of thousands of angry voters took out protest rallies. They claimed the results were fake, and that their leader Mousavi had won.
In 1979, after the Islamic revolution, Iran’s government was taken over by clerics (religious authorities). Around 60 per cent of the population of Iran was born after 1979, and it appears that younger voters have sought modernisation and change. The country is going through an economic crisis, with an inflation rate of 24 percent, rising unemployment and a fall in income from crude oil exports (Iran is the world’s fifth biggest oil exporter). Iran is also caught in a tussle with the Western world over its nuclear program. Mousavi had pledged to improve relations with the West, to ease restrictions on women, and to fix Iran’s ailing economy.
Scores of protesters were arrested. Official reports said seven or eight people were killed.The authorities imposed restrictions on media coverage by foreign as well as domestic agencies. On Thursday, June 18, a few thousands took to the streets wearing black and carrying candles to mourn the people killed in earlier rallies.
The supreme commander of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has been urging the people to back Ahmadinejad, planned to address the nation at Friday prayers. Earlier, US President Barack Obama had called for dialogue with Iran regardless of who won the election. His country had snapped diplomatic ties with Iran three decades ago.