What’s really happening in Iran? And Twitter is involved?

Many times, it seems as though Americans (myself included) get caught up in their own American issues and forget there is a whole big world out there. I’m sure (or at least I hope) many of you have seen the news recently and have heard about the big controversy going on Iran.

Well, I didn’t.

It wasn’t really until tonight; via @ecomentario on Twitter that I realized that Iran is a big mess right now. So, I put on my little journalist hat and did some research. Here’s what I came up with.

The entire conflict in Iran stems from the 2009 Presidential Elections. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became President of Iran in 2005. It was after this election that the losing candidates claimed the election was unfair and there were irregularities at the polls. However, this was never investigated. Even after a formal protest, the argument was dismissed.

Now, Ahmadinejad has been re-elected in the 2009 elections that were held on June 12. And once again, the controversy is revived.

According to the Islamic Republic News Agency, Ahmadinejad won the election with 66 percent of the votes while Mir-Hossein Mousavi received the remaining 33 percent. Now, concerns of alleged irregularities during the vote have been brought to the forefront.

According to an article from CNN, there is no independent election monitoring; only theCouncil of the Guardians of the Constitution would be in charge of monitoring/regulating anything to do with the election.

“Candidates are not allowed to be present at polling stations during voting or counting. Many voters are illiterate and officials help them fill in their ballot papers, so the possibilities for rigging are immense. And there are no booths in the polling stations so voting is done in public, not in private — a major obstacle for transparency,” said Amir Taheri, a Mideast analyst.

No one was watching.

While Ahmadinejad does have public support in Iran, Taheri believes that winning 66 percent of the votes is “impossible.”

Now, there are protests in the streets of Iran – people are dying because of this “stolen” election. And the government seems to be fighting fire with fire.

It is also believed that having Ahmadinejad as President for another four years will stunt the growth of the U.S.-Iran relationship.

According to Karim Sadjapour (from the article from CNN), another Iran expert, “[Ahmadinejad] presses the worst buttons in the context of domestic U.S. politics with his denial of the Holocaust and belligerence towards Israel. Domestically in Iran he has profoundly mismanaged the economy with one of the highest inflation rates in the world and high unemployment.”

Now, like America does it, Obama has come forward and said that Iranians should have every vote counted, should look into a full investigation into the possibility of vote rigging and should stop all the violence.

Duh.

However, what interests me the most about this conflict is how it’s affecting social media. I know, I know – I’m a nut, but it’s really fascinating.

@ecomentario, who seems to be right in all the action in Iran, tweeted earlier, “If you’re outside Iran, change your Twitter profile time zone to GMT +03.30 Tehran, and your location to Tehran to confuse government.”

Now, the government is trying to track down protestors via Twitter. And now avid Twitterers are using specific hash tags in order to remain under the radar.

In fact, Twitter had a scheduled maintenance that was due to occur tonight, but has now been rescheduled.

According to the Twitter blog, “A critical network upgrade must be performed to ensure continued operation of Twitter. In coordination with Twitter, our network host had planned this upgrade for tonight. However, our network partners at NTT America recognize the role Twitter is currently playing as an important communication tool in Iran. Tonight’s planned maintenance has been rescheduled to tomorrow between 2-3p PST (1:30a in Iran).”

This rescheduling was due to the new hash tag, “#nomaintenance” in order to stop the maintenance from occurring so people could continue to tweet the events occurring in Iran.

Just another reason Twitter and its users are capable of ruling the world.

More information as the story unfolds…

Other informational sites

Summary of the issue

Obama urges investigation of Iran election

Twitter reschedules maintenance

Live blog of the events in Iran

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Robin Shen June 16, 2009 at 7:48 am

Very nice summary, I wasn’t really following it all but I feel informed, and more importantly, I am now actively seeking more news about Iran.

Reply

KirAsh4@Twitter June 16, 2009 at 1:05 pm

I think it was a wise decision on Twitter’s part to reschedule. Unfortunately other services didn’t fare too well, FriendFeed being one of those that got blocked by the Iranian government. Those folks getting to those services are having to use anonymous proxies to get there. In a way I’m surprised that Twitter didn’t get blocked also, but I’m not about to try and understand their decisions.

Reply

How I Make $300 a Day Online June 17, 2009 at 9:42 pm

Hey, great post, really well written. You should post more about this.

Reply

MrMadman July 29, 2009 at 10:39 am

You’re not crazy! Well, not for being impressed by Twitter’s role in Iran unrest. It is pretty amazing for Twitter to be not just reporting big news (as in Mumbai, etc.) but in this case to be part of the event. Somehow when the Iranian gov’t shut down phones and ordinary internet, and everything else they could think of, Twitter kept running, allowing the organizers and demonstrators to communicate and plan and spread word in and out of Iran. I think a technical artifact of some sort.

Iran has a large population of intense, dedicated, prolific, articulate bloggers, some quite radical. Occasionally they get arrested. Statistics from the last election make it pretty clear the thing was fudged. And while I agree Americans are provincial/isolated, um, I think most of us had heard about the kerfuffle some time before. (I know, you’ve been busy!)

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: