The decisive margin of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory in elections last week stunned many observers and angered his opponents’ supporters, who in the ensuing days took to the streets in protest by the hundreds of thousands.
At least eight people have died in clashes, according to government-funded Press TV.
Some experts have called the effect unprecedented: Several powerful figures have openly supported the top challenger, Mir Hossein Moussavi, even as the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has endorsed the official results favoring Ahmadinejad.
In the meantime, using online social networking sites such as Twitter, Iranians have been able to get around the government’s efforts to restrict media coverage, and the outcry against the election result has intensified.
At Friday prayers in Tehran, Khamenei told a partisan audience the “ruling elites” would be “held accountable for all violence and blood and rioting.” CNN spoke with Fareed Zakaria about the significance of the recent protests and the leadership’s response:
CNN: As you’ve seen the situation in Iran develop over the last week, what are your thoughts?
Fareed Zakaria: One of the first things that strikes me is we are watching the fall of Islam… >>>