Update on Iran’s Disputed Elections

23Jun09

After a week of massive protests by hundreds of thousands of Iranians alleging fraud in the country’s June 12th presidential election, which declared a victory for hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran continues to be in a state of turmoil.  Over the weekend, the Basij militia brutally repressed demonstrators, resulting in bloodshed on the streets, and yesterday, the Revolutionary Guards released a statement threatening a “revolutionary confrontation” if protests continued.

Iran has been of deep concern to the world and the Jewish community due to the Iranian government’s nuclear ambitions and its flagrant human rights abuses.  President Ahamadinejad has repeatedly called for the destruction of the State of Israel and has antagonized the West by criticizing its political arena and defying its calls to halt Iran’s nuclear program.

The turmoil in the streets of Tehran represents Iran’s worst internal conflict since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and has prompted a potentially explosive political crisis that could have real and wide ranging effects for the future of Iran.

On Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of Iran: “It is a regime whose real nature has been unmasked, and it’s been unmasked by incredible acts of courage by Iran’s citizens. . . . They go into the streets and face bullets. . . . Something very deep, very fundamental is going on.  There’s an expression of a deep desire amid the people of Iran for freedom.”

In a written statement issued on Saturday, President Barack Obama said, “We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. . . . The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.”

Iranian authorities have been working to curb foreign press coverage of the demonstrations, yet some news is still getting through sources such as The New York Times, CNN, and BBC.  In addition, many Iranian citizens have shared footage of developments through the social media websites Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.  Although much of the information on these websites is not verified, the Iranian government’s restrictions on foreign media have made them an extremely valuable source for accessing the most up-to-date information.  We also recommend The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations for continuing updates.

Share this backgrounder with your friends, family, and contacts and make sure to visit the Advocacy and the Zionism and Education Sections of the Hadassah website for continuing updates and more information: http://www.hadassah.org/advocacy

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