A popular football programme on Iranian television became the unlikely conduit for a protest by the pro-democracy “green” movement earlier this month.
Viewers of the “90” show were asked: “What caused the recent decline of the Iranian national football team?” – and invited to vote for one of three answers, with the possibility of winning a prize.
The obviously correct answer was “(a) Management”. The obviously incorrect answer was “(c) The best generation of players had left the team”, since all nine members of the 2006 World Cup squad are still at the height of their game.
Whether by accident or design the state-run show allowed itself to be momentarily hijacked, giving the green movement a rare chance to demonstrate its strength. On the day of the show mobile phones of the pro-democracy supporters passed on a text message urging people to vote for the ludicrous third answer. During the first hour-and-a-half, the third option received 1.1m votes out of a record total of 1.85m.