Connect to share and comment

'New' dawn breaks over Iran

Mousavi supporters cry foul as news of Ahmadinejad's win spreads.

An injured supporter of Iran's moderate presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi has blood wiped off his face during a protest against the election results in Tehran June 13, 2009. Hundreds of supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and moderate challenger Mousavi clashed in Tehran on Saturday after a landslide victory for Ahmadinejad in a presidential election, a Reuters witness said. (Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

TEHRAN — It's 4.30 a.m. in North Tehran's Tajrish Square and the sky is turning gray as dawn approaches.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's supporters are out in force, celebrating. Fifty cars have gathered in the middle of the square honking horns and shouting slogans. As young men set off fireworks, the president's supporters dance alongside them. Immediately, police cars with sirens flashing, and plain-clothes policemen in unmarked Kia cars holding walkie-talkies, converge on the scene to ensure the jubilation does not get out of hand.

"We had 16 years where nothing changed, but Iran has moved in these past four years," said Esmat Mostafavi, 43, a teacher holding an Ahmadinejad poster standing outside her car along Tehran's main Vali Asr highway. "The only person who made progress on this was our president."

Later in the morning, the uptown commercial district of Tajrish starts bustling. The busy arcades are humming with fashionably dressed young people and their parents window-shopping, bargaining and flirting. News is making the rounds that Ahmadinejad is ahead in the vote count.

"I still can't believe it," says one young man into his cellphone.

Two teenagers sit behind the till at a money-changer's. In a sign that the black market is getting ever more entrenched, they have written their prices on a whiteboard and festooned the store with dollar and euro notes.

A pro-Mousavi Iranian journalist calls me to ask what's going on. For some reason, Iranians attribute divine powers to foreigners.

"I have no idea," I reply.

"So it's all over?" he whines into the phone.

The authorities have disabled sending of SMS messages and several reformist sites but Facebook is still available.

Messages and status alerts from pro-Mousavi supporters have flooded my account.

Mousavi will be holding a press conference at 2 p.m. at the reformist Etelaat newspaper and is planning to march up to the Interior Ministry with his supporters, potentially providing a flashpoint.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/middle-east/090613/new-dawn-breaks-over-iran