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Iran Elections: Celebration Now, A Long and Unpredictable Path Ahead

By Tori Egherman

In the past few days there have been threats against the families of BBC reporters. The Internet in Iran was slowed to a crawl. The Iranian Cyber Army launched botnet attacks against a number of media sites including BBC, Radio Farda, and Radio Zamaneh. Pundits predicted a win for Saeed Jalili, calling him the Supreme Leader's favorite. Others predicted a run-off between the conservative mayor of Tehran, Mohammad Qalibaf and the most moderate candidate Hassan Rouhani.

VOA reporter Negar Mortazavi tweeted:

Which prompted this response from the director of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center Gissou Nia:

Well…no one was more surprised than Iranians themselves by the results (except for Gissou Nia). Today, Hassan Rouhani was declared president with more than 50% of the votes. The Internet is back on and images and videos are flooding out of Iran.

Financial Times Journalist, Borzou Daraghi writes on Facebook that hardliners had so thoroughly convinced themselves that they really “won” 2009′s elections that they were completely caught by surprise:

When you begin to believe your own lies, you become extremely vulnerable.

Khabar City shares images of voters on their blog along with this tidbit:

به گزارش خبرنگار خبرگزاری فارس از شهرستان ساری، مردم ایران بار دیگر با نشان دادن شناسنامه و حضور در انتخابات لرزه بر اندام دشمنان انداختند. 90 درصد مردم مازندران در انتخابات شرکت کردند.

The Fars News stringer reporting from the city of Sari  said that just by voting, the people of Iran have made their enemies shake in their boots. 90% of voters in Mazandaran cast their votes.

Celebrations of Election Results in Tehran taken by Instagram user roozbehonline

Celebrations of Election Results in Tehran taken by Instagram user roozbehonline

On Saturday, June 15, people all over Iran went into the streets to celebrate the election. New York Times journalist Thomas Erdbrink tweeted:

Photos from the celebrations are being shared at lightning speed on Instagram and Facebook. Mehr News, which operates in Iran, has an entire page of pictures that can be seen here.

Photo from Instagram user alirezamalihi  of celebrations at Tehran's bazaar

Photo from Instagram user alirezamalihi of celebrations at Tehran's bazaar

During the campaign, Rouhani's campaign rallies rocked with chants of “Political prisoners must go free” “Mir Hussein, ya Hussein!” (for the 2009 candidate Mir Hussein Moussavi who is currently under house arrest). In the streets following the announcement of the results, people have been chanting as well.

Female=Male reports:

الان، خیابان های تهران: ای خواهر شهیدم، رای تو پس گرفتم

Now in the streets of Tehran: Yo my martyred sisters, we got your vote back.

Tehran Bureau adds this one:

We miss Neda (referring to the young woman whose death during the 2009 demonstrations was caught on camera)

We miss Neda (referring to the young woman whose death during the 2009 demonstrations was caught on camera)

On her blog Sidewalk Lyrics, Pedestrian wrote of the struggle between the state and the people in Iran, the desire of Iranians all over the world to remain part of the changes happening in their country, and the coalitions and reassurances that made the vote possible.

I think today we were a witness to such a moment where unquantifiable victories are won. When people’s decisions for calm and pragmatism is reflected in their physical space and in the life for which they aspire. When despite the absolute agony they have suffered, they can still look ahead with grace, dignity and promise.

Many are speculating on the meaning of the elections. Will they bring about change?, is a question being asked by many. Persian Banoo speaks for many when she tweets:

I don't want to hear any bad news or engage in any discussions with anybody. Right or wrong, the fact is a majority of people made a selection, and I am happy. This is democracy.

Finally, the grassroots group Havaar shared this post on their Facebook page:

Hassan Rouhani has officially won the election in Iran with 18 million and 600 thousand votes. Many people are celebrating in the streets at this very moment. A long and unpredictable path is ahead but there is still hope.

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