Ahmadinejad's Win Sparks Violence in Streets of Tehran | NBC New York

Ahmadinejad's Win Sparks Violence in Streets of Tehran

Mousavi says he won't surrender to "manipulation"



    A supporter of Iranian reformist presidential candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, holds a piece of stone and with his covered his face with green scarf symbolizing his party's color as the others burn a trash bin in Tehran, Saturday, June 13.

    There's rioting in the streets, cell phone service has been cut and the chants of angry citizens are echoing across rooftops in Tehran as Iranians appear to be itching for revolution following what many are calling rigged elections.

    Iran’s Interior Ministry declared incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner with more than 62.6 percent of the vote in an election that drew a record turnout of 85 percent of the 46.2 million eligible voters.

    Several hundred demonstrators — many wearing the trademark green colors of pro-reform candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi's campaign — chanted "the government lied to the people" and gathered near the Interior Ministry as the final count from Friday's presidential election was announced.

    “They didn’t rig the vote,” a man who showed his ministry ID but asked not to be named told The New York Times. “They didn’t even look at the vote. They just wrote the name and put the number in front of it.”

    Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged the nation to unite behind Ahmadinejad, calling the result a "divine assessment."

    A chart of the "divine assessment" as it developed published by Andrew Sullivan showed that the vote tallies for Ahmadinejad and Mousavi progressed at a shockingly steady pace.

    No matter. Ahmadinejad took to national television to defend his "completely free" re-election and blame western media for "psychological warfare" against Iran.

    "This is a great victory at a time and condition when the whole material, political and propaganda facilities outside of Iran and sometimes... inside Iran, were total mobilized against our people," he said, according to the BBC.

    Text messaging across the country was shut off shortly before the polls closed, around the same time that security forces flooded the streets of the city and concrete barricades were erected around the Interior Ministry.

    It was around this time that Mohsen Makhbalbaf, one of Mousavi's top advisers, claimed that the opposition candidate was informed by Interior that he had won the election, and was told to prepare a victory speech that wouldn't inflame Ahmadinejad's supporters. But suddenly the Ministry, had a change of heart, announcing a landslide win for Ahmadinejad.

    Soon thereafter, the plug was pulled on all social networking and wireless communication across the nation.

    Protesters set fire to tires outside the Interior Ministry and anti-riot police fought back with clubs and smashed cars. An Associated Press photographer saw a plainclothes security official beating a woman with his truncheon.

    In another main street of Tehran, some 300 young people blocked the avenue by forming a human chain and chanted "Ahmadi, shame on you. Leave the government alone."

    Mousavi's campaign headquarters urged people to show self-restraint.

    Interior Minister Sadeq Mahsouli, who supervised the elections and heads the nation's police forces, warned people not to join any "unauthorized gatherings." Earlier, the powerful Revolutionary Guard said it would not tolerate any challenges by Mousavi's "green" movement — the color adopted by Mousavi's campaign.

    "I'm warning that I won't surrender to this manipulation," said a statement on Mousavi's Web site. "The outcome of what we've seen from the performance of officials ... is nothing but shaking the pillars of the Islamic Republic of Iran's sacred system and governance of lies and dictatorship."

    He warned "people won't respect those who take power through fraud."

    Late Saturday, Mousavi announced on his Twitter feed that he was under house arrest, Foreign Policy reported.

    Sec. Of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at a press conference in Niagara Falls, was measured in her assessment.

    "The United States has refrained from commenting on the election in Iran. We obviously hope that the outcome reflects the genuine will and desire of the Iranian people."

    Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., was less so.

    "There appears to be pretty good evidence that this is a cooked election," Lungren told FOX News. "And the most depressing thing for me is we were going to see whether in fact the true leaders of this country, the religious leaders, were going to allow for a real election to have an expression of the people.

    "It appears now from what we see coming in is that was not the case," he said. "That gives an indication that they did not have a real intention of really have a change."