How popular is Ahmadinejad among the poor and rural population?

And is it true that Mousavi’s support is limited to students and the middle classes?

Or is this a convenient split that outsiders rely too heavily on?

I suspected the latter, so I asked my secret squirrel for his opinion.

Letters from Iran – Day 7 June 19 2009

Hi Jess

Ahmadinejad had the support of the poorer people at the beginning of his presidency.  Actually his manner of talking and dressing is so that poor people can relate to him as one of their own.  He tries to live more like a worker than a president.  

During the last four years he travelled to a lot of the poorer cities and villages and he paid a lot of cash to poor people!!  It’s stupid.  This is not providing basic infrastructure for the country, it is only cheating the poor people.  Instead of developing the country he is developing beggars.  

Instead of paying cash to the people he should invest the money to create jobs for them.  But even by spending so much money he has only a little support from poor people.  But they are the majority of his supporters.

Ahmadinejad has no support among the mid-level, and higher level and educated people of country.  Only 25% – 30% of Iran’s population are living in small towns and villages where Ahamadi has the majority of his supporters.

In the big cities he has very little support and he does not have the support of educated people in villages.  Thinking very, very optimistically, he could not get more than 25% of the votes – not 63%!!

Before the election I asked many, many people – my friends and family all around the country, and I could see no support for him.  There is a quote, I believe from Adolf Hitler, and it goes like this: “When you want to lie, tell a lie so, so big that no one can even think of opposing it.”  I guess Ahmadinejad and his team are executing Hitler’s scenario!!

I expect a very huge demonstration for tomorrow, and willing so, I will send you the pictures.  I considered your selection of my previous pictures and now I’ve learnt what kinds of pictures will be accepted by you and the media.  So I’m also learning some journalism alphabet from you.

I’m going to take a cup of tea and I’ll try to find a non-blocked satellite TV station to watch.  BBC Persian and VOA channels are blocked.  It’s the same with almost all the useful websites, but whenever the Government tries to kick the people out from the door they enter from window!

My Iran video diaries: harrassed by the Basij and a mullah

Here are a couple of videos I made when I was in Iran this year.  I had two separate incidents with the Basij and a mullah – neither more than a little unpleasant. But had I been a Iranian woman incorrectly dressed in ‘hijab’ (my thighs were not covered by a baggy men’s shirt), the official punishment is a public flogging. 

VIDEO 1: After I failed in my efforts to find a market selling hijab, or ‘modest dress’, the Basij (religious police), accosted me on the street.  They must be quite alert – it was my first day in Iran. 

VIDEO 2: I met a far-too-friendly mullah in Qom.  When I told Iranians this story they shook their heads – but not with disbelief.

‘The Basij attacked our cars and homes’ – letters from an Iranian protestor

June 16 2009

Day 4 of the protests

 Hi Jess

 It’s taken two 2 hours to attach a compressed file for you because the internet speed is so slow.  I just keep trying and trying until it’s done.

 Uuuhhh… Stupid Ahmadinejad Government! It is trying to close our access to any kind of media.  For one week all the SMS servers have been down.  When there is a demonstration in support of Mousavi all the mobile providers also stop their service.

 Today we had news that the Government is removing the satellite receivers antenna from peoples’ roofs.  They started in the north of Tehran and now they’re coming towards the south.  The Government is so afraid of the peoples’ movement so they try to eliminate their contact media. 

 I hope we people can get a good result out of this situation.

 June 17 2009

Day 5 of the protests

 Hi Jess

 Today the direction of the protest was changed several times for security reasons.

 Eight people were killed during Monday’s demonstration and there was news today that revolutionary gunmen would attack demonstrators near Azadi [Freedom] Square, which is where those eight people were killed.

 So with just two hours before the demonstration started the direction was changed to another square in the centre of Tehran.  I joined the protest and got some pictures for you.

 Tomorrow at 4pm there will be a demonstration in Enghelab Square as well as on Friday.  Karroubi (one of the candidates) has asked people to wear black and join the Friday Prayer.  It will be led by the Supreme Leader of Iran and people will show their anger directly to him.

 Thank you for putting the pictures on your blog.  I don’t know how long you were in Iran for but the situation is that if the government finds out who has sent you the pictures it is called spying!  Maybe I’m too sensitive about this but if you are going to work with any Iranian for a long time you have to take care of these things or you will lose contacts every 5-6 months!!  And then have to look for new ones!!!

 It’s really stupid, but I think you have already seen some cases like this before.

 I’m sorry to repeat this in my every letter, but I have no other choice.

 June 18 2009

Day 5 of the protests

 Hi Jess

 On Sunday there was much violence all over the city.  In the evening many people gathered in different parts and were protesting until midnight.

 Around 2am about 100 revolutionary guards attacked the residential complex where I live.  These guards, called the Basij, are very cruel. They are dressed as normal people and have all sorts of guns, tear gas, batons, big knives, and any other thing that can harm the people.

 The complex is a closed area with private security guards and all the incoming and outgoing people have to pass through a security gate.

 They were on motorbikes and when they rushed to the complex many people were sleeping.  I was watching BBC Persian and heard the sounds of violence so I went to the balcony.  For security reasons the managers of the complex had turned off the lights that night so it was totally dark.  

 But I could see the Basij militia rush towards the building and then they broke all the entrance doors and furniture, security, lifts and fire systems, and anything else.  They took the fire extinguisher capsules and started attacking the cars on the street.

 I could only watch and shout at them but they don’t listen to the people.  We called the emergency police but there was no help.  When the Basij attacks, the police just look on, because they know the Basij are supported by the extreme forces.

 All the cars in the area were damaged, as you can see in the pictures.  When the Basij had finished attacking the cars they shouted at us and said never to come to the street to protest against the Government.  Then they left.

 It was really hard for all residents just to watch their houses and cars being damaged, but there was nothing else we could do.  If we try to stop them they will easily kill us, just as they killed those eight demonstrators on Monday.

 Uuhhh, I think I have given you a headache with so much talk!

 I have to get some sleep, because tomorrow I will join the demonstration.

 These days I forgot all my business, but it really is worth more than that.

 18 June 2009

Day 6 of the protests

 Hi Jess

 Today the protest was amazing – again.  Every day before I reach the protest I think, maybe today people there will be less people than yesterday.  But this does not happen.

Why don’t people get tired? Because they want to release themselves from 30 years of pressure. It’s not one or two years – it’s a lifetime.  So I believe people will continue to protest until we get a good result.  

 The next protest will be on Saturday at 4 pm from Enghelab Square.

 Tomorrow Mr Karroubi asked his supporters to join in the Friday prayer but Mousavi officials said nothing about it.  I’m sure he wouldn’t like his supporters to join a Friday prayer when Ahmadinejad is going to be there, sitting in the front row!!

 I feel so tired, but tomorrow I don’t have to wake early in the morning, so I’ll try to take enough of that!

 

A resident's car after the Basij attacked it
A resident's car after the Basij attacked it
A resident's car kicked with a boot of a Basij
A resident's car kicked with a boot of a Basij