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Tehran's Odd Get-Out-The-Vote Banners (UPDATED)


A number of sources tell RFE/RL's Radio Farda that Iran's Basij paramilitary units are behind an unorthodox get-out-the-vote campaign ahead of Iran's March 2 national elections.

Here's a photo of one of what are said to be dozens of banners around Tehran attributing an implied threat to Radio Farda.

The banner reads: "Radio Farda: If the turnout of the Iranian people in upcoming parliamentary election is less than 50 percent, the U.S. can easily attack Iran."

Radio Farda never said any such thing, of course.

But authorities are clearly keen on boosting turnout for the vote, the first major elections since a fiercely disputed election in 2009 returned Mahmud Ahmadinejad to the presidency.

Similar attacks have targeted VOA, "The Independent," and "Le Monde," our Farda colleagues report.

UPDATE: "The New York Times" has a terrifically informative article on Iran's "stern warnings against a vast Western conspiracy, driven by panic, to undermine the vote."

The official news media have amplified the campaign: “U.S. Dreads Iranians’ Turnout in Elections,” read one typical banner on Press TV, the state-run English-language vehicle.

That may come as a surprise outside Iran, where the elections are widely ignored, or dismissed as a contest among an ever-narrower circle of archconservatives. But this is no ordinary election. It is the first one to take place since the presidential election of 2009, which set off widespread accusations of fraud, vast street protests and a bloody crackdown lasting months that effectively eviscerated any viable opposition.

-- Andy Heil

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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