NOTE: this post will be updated as more reaction comes in.
The news is now out, Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad are the two top vote-getters and will contest in a run-off. The bloggers’ favorite, reformist Dr. Mostafa Moeen, the only candidate with his own blog, did not do well.
After visiting Moeen campaign headquarters as the ballots were being counted, Hossein Derakhshan (Hoder) reported optimism that Moeen would advance to the run-off. They were disappointed. Hoder observed that the strong showing by Ahmadinejad and another conservative candidate, Karrubi, was the result of “the widening income gap between upper and lower class. Voting for Ahmadinejad and Karrubi means a major dissatisfaction with their income.”
In his next post, once the results were finalized Hoder writes:
Even if Rafsanjani goes to the second ruond with Ahmadinejad the Khamanei voting machine will act again and will make Ahmadinejad the new president of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The pro-reform youth are so dissapointed and depressed. Nobody knows what will happen next. But Khamenei is the biggest winner of this game. He now has both the big turn-out (plus a middle-finger to Bush), and a quasi-president who is only a cover for his excellency.
Mr. Behi points to this article at Commondreams.org. The article's first sentence: “Iran's most repressive clerics and the USA's most militaristic neocons share a common interest: They're very eager to see the failure of Iranian activism for democracy and human rights.” Mr. Behi then writes:
This fantastic article by Norman Solomon is a must read for many Iranians who love Bush to come and rescue them. It is really sensible here in Iran and the last case was yesterday when the national TV was so excited about Bush recent speech against the election (I am not implying that the content of his speech was wrong) but it was the biggest gift Bush could give the conservatives who are always waiting for such speeches to call the United States a number one enemy of the nation by heating up and misusing the sense of patriotism among the people.
(See GV's recent chat with Mr. Behi here. )
Iranian Truth also thinks Bush's speech dismissing the election as undemocratic was used to fan voters’ nationalist sentiment.
Omid sees discrepancies between the Ministry of Interior and Guardian Council.
Iran Votes 2005 has running coverage.
More about Iranian election blogging:
Blogging Iran's Election at Opendemocracy.
Bloggers in Iran from The Nation.