Iranian Election 2009

After the presidential election on June 12, 2009 thousands of Iranian demonstrators took to the streets demanding an annulment. Incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner, while opposition leader and former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi claimed fraud. They were the two leading candidates out of four contenders approved by the Council of Guardians to campaign in the election.

Security forces struck down hard on protesters, killing several. Although the government tried to block access to online social media like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, images and descriptions of events have flowed from citizens in Iran to the rest of the world. Once foreign journalists were also banned on reporting, pictures and words by ordinary citizens transmitted over the internet became a crucial source of news.

Global Voices posts about the protests

17 Jul – Iran: “Death to Russia” at Friday Prayer
16 Jul – Iran: Protests prompt emergence of underground Internet newspapers
16 Jul – Iran: Online videos send messages to Joe Biden
12 Jul – Iran: Protesters defy Islamic regime again
04 Jul – Iran: Myth and reality about Twitter
02 Jul – Hungary: Rallying for Iran – and for “Nothing, Never”
30 Jun – Iran: Protest movement inspires art
29 Jun – Israel: Would Israeli grassroots support harm the Iranian uprising?
28 Jun – Iraq: Reflecting on Iran
27 Jun – Iranian officials ‘crowd-source’ protester identities
25 Jun – Iran: Art for protest's sake
24 Jun – Iran: Neda becomes a symbol for the protesters
22 Jun – Iran: Videos of protests and vigils
22 Jun – Greece: Bloggers interview Iranian protesters
21 Jun – Maghreb: Views on Iran
20 Jun – Iran: Protesters break a taboo and defy Khamenei
19 Jun – The Irony of Iran's ‘Twitter Revolution’
19 Jun – Iran: Reformist and activist bloggers arrested
18 Jun – Iran: Green Silent Protest Movement in photos
18 Jun – Bahrain: Ahmedinajad, For and Against
18 Jun – Arab World: “Iran is a Democratic Dictatorship”
18 Jun – Lebanon: Bloggers React to Iran Crisis
17 Jun – Iran: Islamist bloggers react to protest movement
17 Jun – Arab World: Let the Iranians do Whatever they Want
16 Jun – Iran: More citizen video from protests
15 Jun – Iran: Protests and Repression
13 Jun – Iran: Storm of protest after election

Citizen media resources

Twitter aggregation

Breaking Tweets – Middle East
Twazzup on Iran


Citizen journalists upload and index their photos with, Demotix.

Also, check Flickr photographer Hamed Saber's photo stream for great creative commons images.


16 Jul – Iran: Protests prompt emergence of underground Internet newspapers
04 Jul – Iran: Myth and reality about Twitter
19 Jun – The Irony of Iran's ‘Twitter Revolution’ – Gaurav Mishra
18 Jun – Iran, citizen media and media attention, Ethan Zuckerman
17 Jun – The API revolution « BuzzMachine
TED Blog: Q&A with Clay Shirky on Twitter and Iran
17 Jun – In Coverage of Iran, Amateurs Take the Lead – Media Decoder Blog –
14 Jun – Twittering the uprising? – SacredFacts

Pre-election web strategies of candidates

Iran's Guardian Council approved four candidates for the presidential election on June 12. The lucky finalists were chosen from hundreds of registered candidates. They were: current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi, ex-parliamentary speaker Mehdi Karroubi and the former head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Mohsen Rezai.

All of the candidates and their supporters used the internet to promote their campaign and attract votes. Although Facebook and YouTube were previously filtered in Iran, the candidates including President Ahmadinjead grew enamored of the sites during their campaigns.

Candidate web strategies

  • Ahmadinejad's supporters launched Dar Emtedade Mehr (”Following Kindness”) where almost any imaginable digital tool, from YouTube and Facebook to Twitter, is used to promote the candidate's merit and provide opportunity for Ahmadinejad's fans to reach others.
  • Mousavi's supporters claim to have the support of more than 3600 bloggers and chose ‘green’ colour in their real and virtual campaigns to attract attention.
  • Rezai writes on his personal site where we can find a list of his supporting bloggers and all the news about his campaign.
  • Mehdi Karroubi's campaigners are armed with Facebook and publish videos and news of their candidate whose slogan is “Change” (sound familiar?).

Other websites supporting the candidates

The former vice president, Mohammad Ali Abtahi (a blogger himself) is the official internet adviser to Karroubi, and has said in his blog that except for Ahmadinejad, who has national radio and TV at his service, the other candidates must rely primarily on online media. Additionally, he says Rezai has Tabnak News website, Mousavi's official site is Kalameh, and Ghlamnews also supports his campaign. Several websites back Karroubi's candidacy such as Etemadmeli, Teribon, and Sedayeh Zanan. According to Abtahi, Rajanews and Kalmehnews are among the websites supporting president Ahmadinejad.

Global Voices posts about the Iranian elections

11 Jun – Mapping Iran’s Blogosphere on Election Eve
10 Jun – Iran: To Vote or Not to Vote
09 Jun – Iranian Election in Photos
06 Jun – Iran: Bloggers react to fiery presidential debate
31 May – Iran: Khatami answers bloggers’ questions
30 May – Iran: YouTube, Broadway music and the Election
21 May – Iran: Ex-revolutionary guard leader uses internet least
16 May – Iran: Karroubi supporters armed with Facebook
11 May – Iran: Online grassroots campaign for Ahmadinejad
06 May – Iran: Movement of 1000 bloggers supports Mousavi
05 May – Iran: Eccentric candidates of the presidential election
21 Apr – Iran: Free Potatoes Inflamed Electoral Fever

Global Voices in FarsiContact us if you would like to become a translator on Global Voices in Farsi. Hamid Tehrani is Iran editor at Global Voices.