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VIDEO: Iran's Sham Election In Houston, Texas.

You'll want to be familiar with this post before you proceed.

Okay, so here's the video thus far (each video is ~ 900 KB and in .wmv format) It is a little raw, and choppy, because I had to edit out the parts showing the faces of people who fear being recognized.

Part 1-

Shara Shirvani:
"A lot of terrorists are here."
"These people are... getting paid by the Islamic government."
"They told this officer to not let us go and sit there."

Part One.


Part 2-

Shara Shirvani: "I need to know why these people, the police officers, that man told them to not let us go in there. Is it because of the way we dress? Why? I need to know why."

"I'm Muslim, but not this kind of Muslim."

"These are the terrorists, and I am here to let them know that the Iranian people are not supporting this government."

"The Iranian people, they are pro-democracy."

Part Two.


Part 3-

Hotel manager: "I'll ask you to leave."

Part Three.


Part 4-

Hotel manager: "If the police is here, I'm not breaking the law. If they are here, that's fine."

Shirvani: "...Bush is against it."

H.P.D.: "Ma'am, that is, that is not our..."
"This an event that they paid for."

Part Four.

[I was packing up my computer and other equipment here, but left the camera rolling, if you were wondering why I wasn't exiting immediately.]


Part 5-

Shara Shirvani:
"Don't you worry about me. I know they are going to report me to the Iranian government... but I don't care, because I'm protecting all the innocent people in Iran who are in need of democracy and freedom."

Me: "Is this a free and fair election? ... Free and fair, like anybody can vote for anybody they want to?"

Iranian agent: "You want to introduce yourself first, maybe."

Me: "My name is Will Franklin."

Iranian agent: "Okay, and... you're a... journalist."

Me: "Journalist."

Iranian agent: "Okay, which organization."

Part Five.

[...at which point the police interrupted the fun. Unfortunately, I stopped filming at that point, not wanting to press my luck.]


Some additional reading on Iran's non-election:

National Review's Michael Ledeen explains when an election is not an election:

Ask yourself two simple questions. Does the president of Iran hold any real power? Has any "candidate" (of which there are eight) been chosen by anyone other than the supreme leader and his cronies?

No, and no....

Sensible folks have learned that it isn't about personality, it's about freedom and tyranny. All the totalitarian regimes of the last century staged elections, and they were all meaningless, because the structure of the state concentrated power in the two hands of the dictator, and exercised through the single party.

Meanwhile, even The New York Times (via Jim-Rose) concurs with the "sham" assessment:

Today's presidential election in Iran is an affront to true democracy, just as the past record of the front-running contender, Ali Akhbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, is an affront to true moderation. As President Bush rightly noted, the voting was effectively rigged in advance by the council of unelected clerics that decided who would and who wouldn't be allowed to run.

More to come, including transcripts from the portions of the video I had to edit out, as well as more description and analysis of what didn't make it onto the tape (plus, a discussion of the phone calls I made to bureaucrats at the State Department, FBI, H.P.D., news organizations, and so on, throughout the day).


Robert Mayer offers his report of the Iranian polling station in Tucson, Arizona. Sounds wild, and a little familiar.

Posted by Will Franklin · 18 June 2005 01:38 PM


Will do you have the names of the police officers?

Was the manager of the hotel Iranian? Sound like it judging by the accent.

Ramada, the Houston Police and, of course, the terrorist regime they are support must all be brought to justice.

Posted by: afshin at June 18, 2005 03:44 PM

I just emailed the Carter Center begging them to denounce the election, and managed to bring up some of the hidden politics that goes on during a revolution. Hopefully, the Center may denounce the election - though it will also have to point out that it had no observers in Iran.
I plan to send an email to the Soros Foundation, because they do surprisingly good work (they managed to get kicked out of Russia), and Soros' influence would encourage many democrats to agree with Bush on this issue.

Posted by: Chris Edwards at June 18, 2005 03:57 PM

The manager of the Ramada sounded as if he had an Iranian accent. I called yesterday and asked if the elections were being held there. He definately had a mideastern accent!...I am so thankful that Will is OK! I just hope these people don't decide to make trouble for him!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at June 18, 2005 07:43 PM

Such a great job, Will. And with video! Who could ask for more?

Posted by: Robert Mayer at June 18, 2005 10:36 PM


I didn't get the names of the police, or their badge numbers. But, calling the Ramada later, I spoke with Officer Cram, badge number 906.

Unfortunately, the whole thing was so whim-bam-boom that I wasn't able to get all the info I had planned.

And, yes, I believe the hotel manager was Iranian. I actually asked him if he was part of the Iranian regime, and he went blank and stopped telling me to leave. The police interjected with "sir, you are entitled to your opinion, but you have to leave."

The manager then said he wasn't Iranian. I wasn't so sure. Had I been able to stay longer, I might have been able to glean more info.

I will try to have more transcripts up soon.

Posted by: Will Franklin at June 18, 2005 10:56 PM