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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Iran election opposition reaches UA

    Iran is more than 7,000 miles from campus, but it was close enough to the hearts of some UA students to spur a protest on Monday against alleged fraudulent election results in the Middle-Eastern country.

    Iran held presidential elections on June 12, with the main candidates being current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and reformist Mir-Hossein Mousavi. With Ahmadinejad’s victory, suspicions of fraud has both parties claiming to be the victor.

    “”The first thing I thought when I heard the election was that I was sure it was fraudulent,”” said Mohammad Mostofi, a graduate law student. “”They cheated. These are not the results.””

    In opposition to the election results, about 50 Iranian students and Iranian members of the Tucson community gathered on the UA Mall, sporting green shirts with pictures pinned to them of fires started by guards attacking protestors in Iran.

    Protesters also held green signs stating, “”Where’s my vote?”” and pictures of Ahmadinejad with a line striking through it. Some went so far as to tape their mouths in a symbolic act of the government silencing the people’s voices. Entire families turned out, with ages ranging from the elderly to young children. They gathered in a group facing the west, the sun beating in their eyes, wind whipping at their clothes and signs.

    The University of Arizona Police Department were within sight of the protestors in the surrounding area.

    The first act of the group was to begin singing the Iranian national anthem, ending with loud cheers of nationalism and pride.

    After, a man holding a loud speaker handed the mouthpiece to a woman who read their goals.

    Their goals included the annulment of the election results, the implementation of a new round of elections and the release of protesters to the election who have recently been detained in Iran.

    The international community, including governments and heads of state, should refuse to acknowledge Ahmadinejad as the elected president of the Iranian people, protesters said.

    “”We had a gathering of about 10 people after the election, and we spread the idea for the protest by word of mouth, email and Facebook,”” Mostofi said. “”We want the world, Tucson citizens and UA students to know this is not our president. We did not vote for him, and they should not recognize him as such.

    Iranian election results have inspired several protests in Iran, at which many of the hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have been arrested. At least one protester is confirmed dead after violence broke out at a rally in Tehran on June 15.

    Several Tehran University students were severely injured on June 15 when police attacked a campus dormitory and began beating students who were attempting to assemble in opposition of the election results, according to the Associated Press.

    Mall protesters expressed fear that the election results could result in an overt dictatorship headed by Ahmadinejad.

    “”We are already afraid of a dictatorship,”” said Farrokh Saleka, a graduate optical sciences student. “”We want new elections or this could be the last election.””

    The chants of the protestors could be heard throughout the Mall. “”What do we want? Our vote! When do we want it? Right now!”” they shouted.

    Other chants included “”UN, do not recognize; election results based on lies!”” and “”Where’s my vote? Where’s my say? Bring democracy on its way!””

    Some students passing by were drawn to the display of election opposition who may otherwise had not known of the controversy.

    “”I haven’t heard of this fraud. I didn’t know it was happening,”” said Clarissa Estrada, a sociology sophomore. “”I’m glad they’re doing something about it; I’m glad they’re out here.””

    Although the turnout was less than the expected 100 participants, the group’s presence in the middle of the Mall at least raises awareness and informs students of Middle-East corruption, said Amanda Edais, a family studies and human development freshman.

    “”I love to see people who are passionate about certain things. It takes guts to stand out there,”” she said. “”I respect that. It really does raise awareness.””

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