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Teacher In Iran Dismayed By Election Results

GUY RAZ, host:

Many of the protestors disputing the election results are young and hungry for change. One of them is 27-year-old Amir Soulemani, an English teacher in Tehran, who joins us on the line now. Mr. Soulemani, I take it you're disappointed with the election result.

Mr. AMIR SOULEMANI (English Teacher, Tehran): Sure, I definitely am. I'm in a state of absolute shock and dismay right now. We were planning big celebrations on the street of Tehran, but now we have to come to terms with the result.

RAZ: Do you trust the results, the official results that had been announced?

Mr. SOULEMANI: Not at all. Not at all. If you were on the streets of Tehran yesterday, you could easily say that the results were supposed to be different. And you know, the question isn't why Mr. Ahmadinejad has won, but the question is why the difference between the votes. We were expecting a four-to-one win for Mr. Mousavi.

RAZ: Mr. Soulemani, you're in Tehran. Is it possible that because you're in Tehran it seemed as if your favorite candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, should have received more votes? Is your perspective skewed because you're in Tehran and perhaps Mr. Ahmadinejad was simply more popular in the rest of the country?

Mr. SOULEMANI: I don't think that's the case because first of all, I do have some friends all over the country and in different provinces. When I talked to them yesterday, all of them were talking about an easy victory for Mr. Mousavi. Even if what you are suggesting is right, we shouldn't expect such a big margin of difference between the two candidates.

RAZ: And in the days and weeks and months leading up to this election, there was a lot of excitement primarily among young people. Did you ever go out on the street to demonstrate?

Mr. SOULEMANI: Yeah, many times, many times. I went to the streets, and that was exciting. Perhaps that was the only exciting part of this election.

RAZ: I mean, the Islamic Revolution happened about three years before you were even born.


RAZ: Does that revolution mean much to you or to your friends?

Mr. SOULEMANI: Well, in one sense, yeah. It means a lot to me because I can safely claim that it has managed to ruin my life over here. Just take this example. Imagine you're in Iran and you want to buy a book from Amazon. You can not own a credit card here and you're not allowed to buy something from Amazon. So, purchasing something via the World Wide Web from outside Iran is out of the question. At a more important level, you cannot talk about your choice. You cannot talk about the policies of the government. You cannot easily berate the president. And above all, you cannot talk about the supreme leader who has managed to become the (unintelligible) of the whole society these days.

RAZ: And do you feel comfortable criticizing President Ahmadinejad now that it appears he's going to be staying for another four-year term?

Mr. SOULEMANI: Well, you know, to be honest with you, I'm seriously considering leaving the country because as a visually impaired individual, I see no future in this country. And I can say many friends of mine are in the same boat.

RAZ: 27-year-old Amir Soulemani is an Iranian who voted for Mir Hossein Mousavi in yesterday's presidential election. He joined us from his home in Tehran.

Mr. Soulemani, thanks so much.

Mr. SOULEMANI: It's always a pleasure. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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