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Iran: Karroubi supporters armed with Facebook in presidential election

campaign88Facebook was banned in Iran until recently, but now supporters of the former speaker of the Iranian parliament, Mehdi Karroubi, use it as a vehicle to promote his candidacy in the upcoming presidential election.

Facebook is an important component of Karroubi's “Campaign 88″ web strategy. Mohmmad Ali Abtahi, who is the former vice president and a very active blogger himself, has become one of Karroubi's advisers.

Nik Ahang, an Iranian cartoonist and blogger, has called the former parliament speaker, “Barack Karroubi” because he insists he is the candidate of “change”. The blogger also drew a cartoon of him. Karroubi has called [fa] for an end to the execution of minors in Iran and pledged to create more freedom in the country. He also advocates negotiation in international relations.

On Facebook we find several videos where Karroubi and his advisers answer questions about the election. In one of these films Karroubi describes the Holocaust as a reality. So far that makes him the only major candidate in the running to take a clear position on this issue.

There are also photos of Karroubi at different meetings around the country and a survey about people's preferences in the election.

Support for Karroubi on his Facebook page has still not risen above 300 adherents.

Reset, an Iranian blogger, mentions several reasons that he/she will vote for Karroubi. The blogger says his advisers are the only ones who have talked about the necessity of fast, broadband internet for Iran.

There are several blogs created to support Karroubi's candidacy but it is nothing compared to the large number of bloggers who back his opponent, Mir Hussein Mousavi.

One of these blogs is Karroubi's supporters’ blog. This blog covers news about their favorite canidate.

Mohmmad Ali Abtahi says [fa] in his blog that Karroubi warned military forces not to intervene in the election.

An interesting thing is that Mehdi Karroubi is not alone in his campaign photo (see above). He is pictured with the former mayor of Tehran, Gholamhossein Karbasschi's in the circle just behind him. Perhaps the “change” slogan is not the only thing that Karroubi borrowed from the U.S. election.

Has he created himself an unofficial running mate?

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