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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 June, 2005, 10:57 GMT 11:57 UK
Blogs despair at Iran hardline vote
Iranian women on internet
For many Iranians blogs are the only alternative to mainstream media
Iranian bloggers have been reacting to the landslide victory of hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with a mixture of shock, anger, despair, cynicism and irony.

Some acknowledge Mr Ahmadinejad's success in reaching out to the country's poor, while others doubt that the vote could have made any difference to the country's future.

Iran's weblogs, which represent one of the largest web communities in the world, are seen as mainly the preserve of the urban middle class and liberal-leaning people both inside and outside the country.

Their voices are not heard by the mainstream conservative media and the blogs have become a popular forum for dissent. It is the first time that the Iranian blogs have had the chance to be involved in a presidential election campaign.

As an outsider, Mr Ahmadinejad had been virtually ignored by bloggers until he came second in the first round of voting a week ago.

Humiliation and disgrace

But there was no mistaking the feelings of many in the community about the new president.

I have already left depression behind and I do not care any longer - but this is a disgrace
Ali Moazzami in Inja va aknun
"Iranian Taleban are coming!" writes Vahid on Iran Scan.

"It happened! What we were all afraid of," complains the blogger known as Mr Behi.

"Look who is leaving, Khatami, the intellectual that we were proud of, and see who is coming, a hard line conservative, who makes it humiliating to be Iranian."

Mr Behi suggests that the hardline victory will play into the hands of Iran's enemies.

"I think those who would like the US to attack Iran are loving this most," he says. "The stupid ideas of these conservatives will make it easy to justify it."

For some, there was deep depression, or worse.

" I can still analyse the situation. But the problem is that I can no longer understand my own analysis... I have already left depression behind and I do not care any longer. But this is a disgrace," says Tehran-based Ali Moazzami in Inja va aknun.

Inevitably, many bloggers have been trying to inject humour into the situation.

"Ahmadinejad wins big. True to form, one of our more prominent writers characterises this seminal event so memorably as the victory of ignorance over injustice!" writes "h" on the Brooding Persian site.

Nema, on Iranian Truth, points out one of the additional problems the new president may have created for the West:

"It's official - I guarantee [US President] Bush will never mention Ahmadinejad by his name simply because he won't be able to. Although at least now news commentators on CNN won't be struggling when they say 'Khamenei, Khomeini and Khatami'."

Who to blame?

Farideh Nicknazar, writing on Iran Scan before the result was announced, says the election is a victory for the ruling clerical elite and in particular Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Rafsanjani should have realised that a defeated politician should leave the scene or come back with a facelift
Mehdi Jami in Sibestan
"The true winner is Khamenei himself," he says. "He played the game of politics better than anyone could have imagined. He is now the spiritual leader in control of the presidency.

"In a nutshell, Iran is once again on the verge of falling into yet another dictatorship."

The reformist movement became a target of bloggers for its perceived failures under the last president, Mohammad Khatami.

"Dear Mr Khatami! Thank you for failing to understand the people and shortening the gaps. Your reluctance created a situation in which reformists were no longer a choice and their rivals won the nation's confidence," writes Canada-based Niakahang Kosar.

'Back to the revolution'

Others blamed another former president, the losing candidate Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who for many Iranians seems to represent corruption and economic failure.

"Rafsanjani ... should have known that Ayatollah Khamenei had made up his mind," says the UK-based Mehdi Jami in Sibestan.

"He is too proud to know that it was not a matter of people's choice. He should have realised that a defeated politician should leave the scene or come back with a facelift."

Mr Rafsanjani's failures were clearly exploited by his opponent, says the Toronto-based Hossein Derakhshan of hoder.com

"Rafsanjani is facing the outcome of his own carelessly designed economic policies which also continued during Khatami's term," he says.

"Ahmadinejad ... represents frustrated people who have to work at least two jobs to make a basic living, let alone sending their children to universities.

"They seek help from a man who not only looks like early revolutionaries, but also promises a return to the early principles and methods of the revolution, in a bluntly old-fashioned way."

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