Move Along, There’s Nothing to See Here, June 16, 9:12 p.m. IRT
The Financial Times reports that “Iran on Tuesday banned journalists working for foreign media from leaving their offices to cover protests in the capital.” Wire services also announced that due to the ban on their photographers covering the demonstrations, they were forced to relay only images from official Iranian sources.
With or Without Mousavi, June 16, 8:20 p.m. IRT The BBC reports that, according to eyewitness accounts, thousands of opposition protesters took to the streets in North Tehran on Tuesday night despite calls by their presidential candidate, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, to stay off the streets to avoid violence.
Pro-Government Rally, June 16, 6 p.m. IRT Iranian TV shows pictures of President Ahmadinejad’s supporters gathering in Tehran. It’s estimated that about 10,000 people are on the streets. His opponent Mousavi, according to al-Jazeera, has just urged his own supporters not to protest until after the partial election recount agreed to earlier Tuesday by the Guardian Council is completed.
See pictures of Ahmadinejad’s supporters at LIFE.com.
The Limits of Mousavi’s Ambitions, June 16, 5:25 p.m. IRT The attempts on Tuesday by opposition presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi to call off a huge protest rally called for by his supporters in Tehran is a prudent move to avoid further bloodshed after yesterday’s attacks on demonstrators by supporters of the regime. After all, Ahmadinejad’s supporters had scheduled a counter-demonstration of their own for the same part of the city, clearly looking for a fight. But it also reveals a deeper truth about the showdown currently under way: Mousavi represents a faction of the regime that is vying for power with a rival faction led by Ahmadinejad. The opposition candidate is not even identified as a reformist, as such, but rather a pragmatic conservative who was backed by the reformists because he had a better chance of winning. As fierce as the power struggle within the regime may be, neither side can afford to bring the house down. And that suggests that Mousavi may be reluctant to lead any kind of “people power” challenge to the regime itself. Tony Karon
Read an exclusive interview with Ahmadinejad’s opponent, Mir-Hossein Mousavi.
Varying Views, June 16, 5 p.m. IRT As Iran’s parliamentary speaker Al Larijani purportedly tells the West to mind its own business, E.U. spokesman Amadeu Altafaj Tardio said the European Commission is “extremely worried” about the deaths of protesters. Meanwhile, Meir Dagan head of Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad told the Israeli parliament he doesn’t think the civil unrest in Iran will last long.
Read “Ahmadinejad Wins, but the Regime Cracks.”
Foreign Media Banned, June 16, 3:45 p.m. IRT As Mousavi’s supporters gather at Valisar Square, the BBC is reporting that foreign media have been banned from covering it in addition to other “unauthorised events.” A tweet warns against attending the rally due to claims that armed police will be there in force.
See pictures of daily life in Iran.
‘Ahmadinejad Won’: A Contrarian View, June 16, 3:30 p.m. IRT Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett, National Security Council officials on the Iran file under the Bush Administration argue on Politico.com that “the shock of the ‘Iran experts’ [in the U.S.] over Friday’s [election] results is entirely self-generated, based on their preferred assumptions and wishful thinking.” They remind readers that Ahmadinejad was generally agreed to have a commanding lead in the polls two weeks before voting, and that his combative performance in the televised debates had boosted his standing and demoralized the opposition. They sketch the sociology of the incumbent’s support base, and why it would support him against a candidate backed by the widely disliked establishment heavyweight Hashemi Rafsanjani, against whom Ahmadinejad campaigned. They don’t, however, deal with substantive questions about how and whether the votes were counted. The Guardian Council has, after all, ordered a partial recount . And obviously, there are hundreds of thousands of people willing to take to the streets to rebut their argument. Still, a timely reminder that nothing is simple in the current political showdown in Iran. Tony Karon
See TIME’s covers about Iran.
Mousavi Rejects the Recount, June 16, 3 p.m. IRT Despite Iran’s authorities agreeing to recount disputed votes in the presidential election, the main opposition candidate, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, rejects the offer, reiterating his demand for a fresh election, according to CNN. Looks likely that the rival demonstrations planned Tuesday night by supporters of Ahmadinejad and Mousavi will go ahead. Nevertheless, rumors circulate that Mousavi has told supporters the rally shouldn’t proceed. But misinformation has been previously employed to try and confuse protesters.
View TIME’s covers from the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
Russia’s Show of Support for Ahmadinejad, June 16, 2:30 p.m. IRT Iran’s President attends the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and also speaks briefly with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov endorses Ahmadinejad and says, “We welcome the fact that the elections have taken place, and we welcome the newly re-elected Iranian President on the Russian soil.” During the summit itself, Ahmadinejad says “America is enveloped in economic and political crises, and there is no hope for their resolution.” Neither the Iranian election nor unrest were mentioned.
See what Ahmadinejad’s win means for other world leaders.
See pictures of Iran’s presidential elections.