As mother requested; there was my vote.

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"So I put the name of the candidate in this box and then either a number one, two, three or four in the other box", I asked the polling station staff who nodded and agreed. I asked again, in another way, just to be sure. "So what if I can't write in Farsi?", I further asked, "then your friend can write for you". I could have written the name of my candidate of choice myself, but I wasn't wishing to leave anything to chance, worried at the possibility that my vote would be void with the slightest spelling error. It had been discussed before hand by many that one should try to vote in polling stations other than a mosques, and to also take one's own pen. To check this rumour, I used the mosque-supplied pen to write a note saying, 'I didn't vote with this pen', and with the second supplied pen, 'I also didn't vote with this one'. That note still reads the same to this day.

"Why were you taking pictures just then?" came a voice from behind me as I was preparing to leave, "for my dear mother; you know what parents are like", I said warmly before continuing in a mock-mother voice, "dear son, make sure you vote, I want to know you voted OK". We all laughed and and slid away while I could. I'd not only photographed my completed ballot but had also photographed the instructions on how to vote as we stood in line at the door of the mosque.

The procedures for voting were as I remember; hand them my birth certificate, ink my finger up, stamp it, fill out the ballots then fold and post in the plastic containers. On this occasion, not only were we able to vote in the presidential elections but also the Expediency Council elections, so to be absolutely sure I'd covered everything, I filled out my presidential candidate of choice on both ballots. "So the green one goes here and the blue one here?", I asked the observer as I pointed to the two plastic containers. He agreed, but I asked one more time in a different way; I'd regret it if I didn't.

With so much post-election activity you'd be right in wondering why I'm returning back to the vote day itself and even to a moment just before the previous blog entry below. But I'm stuck here and still seeking answers. Fraud has been suggested by three of the four candidates regarding the vote (one of which later withdrew his complaint) and although I am still quite suspicious of the election results and feel fraud might have taken place. I don't necessarily feel that any major fraud had taken place throughout the polling stations, but am rather concerned that the potential for fraud was systemically introduced. I regularly bring this up and still make inquiries regarding my concerns but still I've no answers. Yet to my surprise, people seem confused as to why I'm stuck at this point. It's like they've no faith that the vote and the result have anything to do with one another, by which I mean, suspicion of stuffed ballot boxes or other forms of manipulation still wouldn't relate to the final result.

So back to vote-day.

"So David, who'd you vote for?", asked a friend over the phone jokingly, knowing that I'd continue with my British sensibilities and not reveal this information. "I voted for Iran", I joked in response, "so how about yourself, did you do your democratic duty?", I asked. "Yes, I put 77; Mousavi", responded my friend, "wait a minute, what's the number 77 got to do with anything?", I quickly shot back. I explained how I put only a single digit and how I checked with officials – "you made a mistake", my friend told me. After a short silent pause between us I inquired, "what makes you think that you yourself didn't make a mistake ... so, might one of our votes be considered void; is the number part essential?". Still to this day I've not had an answer to question.

"but Ahmadinejad's code being 44 and Mousavi's – where I was at least – being 4 is weird"

Two years ago I voted in the parliamentary elections whereby I also had the opportunity to vote in the Expediency Council elections. This form did not require names to be written, just simply an 'X' was required within one of twelve boxes. This form had all the markings that would indicate a computer would validate it: barcode and black blocks, no doubt for alignment purposes within a feed-machine of sorts. I've mentioned this curious difference to many I've discussed the vote-day with, confused as to why in a relatively illiterate state, a system needing hand writing would be used, especially where this previously wasn't the case. But more confusing is why a number code box existed; there were only four candidate, none of which shared similarities in names? And why the numbers 44, 55, 66 and 77? Maybe hand written names are less likely to lead to stuffed ballot boxes and the number would simply be back-up should the handwriting be illegible, "but Ahmadinejad's code being 44 and Mousavi's – where I was at least – being 4 is weird, especially as they are the two favoured contenders", I've continued to repeat.

As I say, I don't necessarily feel that critical fraud has taken place at the polling stations, although I feel the potential for it was there. Upon hearing the code overlap between the favoured contenders my worry was that any mention of a number four would be considered a vote for Ahmadinejad, regardless of the name sitting beside it. But this would involve large numbers to be implicated and could never be kept quiet. It was Stalin that said, "It's not the people who vote that count; it's the people who count the votes". I'd be tempted to revise it to: "...it's the person who announces the vote that counts".

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The Green Army take Vanak

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"Ahmadi, bye-bye, Ahmadi bye-bye", come the chants from the Green Army, shooting out peace signs with their fingers to any fellow green-clad passers-by. They may also use, "death to the dictator", or simply, "don't lie", in reference to the debut occurrence of televised debates; oh how those debates still resonate. And among the seas of green, which at one point managed to connect by hands throughout the capital, you'll see the face of Mir Hossein Mousavi, you'll hear his name and you can feel the wind of change or at least the desperate desire for it.

If you ask me, the change has come already, the TV debates set a precedence, the little moment of blocking Facebook, only to reverse the decision two days later, and the SMS mass-organising efforts stand as evidence. It's quite a different environment this time around, both online and off; street dancing, up-beat music pumped out from cars and houses and the girls and guys side-by-side, chanting together in unison; all officially outlawed. But don't let me paint you a picture of an oppressed struggling youth, circumventing these laws are very much part of daily life. The difference here is in its volume and its confidence; within the last few weeks the behavior has been observed by the authorities and not just tolerated.

It is just the two "reformer" candidates that have made statements to rid the streets of both tolerance or observance, by which they refer to the so called moral police, who indiscriminately pack you in a van for a lecture or maybe worse. It was only Mahdi Karoubi, the former head of the parliament; the other of the "reformer" candidates, that to my knowledge went further; publicly placing additional promises beside his candidacy, proposing at one point to have an income for mothers so they need not feel the pressure to work while fulfilling their desires, should they desire.

I put a call out on Facebook to learn more about the favoured "reformer", Mousavi. I'd asked if anyone had a translated English version of his campaign promises, but only had replies from others – Mousavi supports no less – that were also interested in seeing such a document. After the second call, this time asking for it in any language, I was presented with a link to a 103-page PDF. With my reading speed in Farsi, it'd be the subsequent election by the time I'd be done. But it struck me, among the Green Army that increases in numbers before my eyes, I never hear of campaign promises being used to convince me to "go green".

like the American elections before us, it is all about colour

Going green was smart, and since this development it always amused me that like the American elections before us, it is all about colour. Mousavi is a Sayed, meaning via his male lineage, he's related to the prophet Mohammad. To symbolise this, Sayeds use a certain shade of green, also shown in the national flag. Establishing this within his identity was great strategy, but also total luck, for each candidate was assigned a colour by which the state broadcasting group selected at random. For his main rival – the current President, Mr. Ahmadinejad – to identify with his selected colour, red, would be suicide. True, red is the only other colour on the flag but it is also the colour used to represent the enemy of Shi'a Muslims, Shem; the killer of Imam Hossein. So yellow became Karoubi's colour and the remaining candidate, the former leader of the still powerful militia group; Sepah, got blue. Neither of those colours hold any great association within Iran and even if they would, Mousavi struck out first and to follow would be a loser's game. But the current President's troops found their identity to confront the Green Army with; they wrapped themselves in the national flag. If you pass though Tehran's Valiasr, a corridor through the capital from north to south, you can see them 3-up on motorbikes weaving between the increasing numbers of green-clad cars, relentlessly sounding their horns and caped with the flag flapping in the wind behind them.

"Mr. Mousavi, I like you...", squinted the President, leaning in and preparing for yet another inappropriate statement during the second of the televised debates. To call these hugely popular events a debate would be misrepresentation; they were simply an opportunity to discredit the integrity of the opponents. It was "Dr. Ahmadinejad" that excelled in this practice, going as far defaming the character of his opponent's wife, and not content with that, finding senior players in the government to take down. "Shameless", shrieked the party crowd I sat with, who'd put a hold on boogying to see the leader of their Green Army get a opportunity to shoot down the man who they felt assumed an emperor like position in their republic. Shots were traded and cheers and gasps echoed around the living room, but this terrain is familiar for the President and as much as neither supporter would say the other won the battle, I'd say the President had them dancing. With such overwhelming fanaticism a shift in opinion was hard to find, and of those undecided voters, they were surely not won over by a great display of merits.

There's too much to be said about the debates and there's still so much being said about them. That single debate with Mousavi and the President sparked catchphrases and jokes that I doubt will be forgotten about anytime soon. That debate was to be my first exposure to Mousavi, for which I was hoping he would gain my support, but he failed. I looked to Karoubi to perform well against the President and for 5-minutes he did, but his ranting made the wheezing of this 72-year old man notice more. He hinged his opinions on religion as a good Mullah does but the foaming at the mouth, general bad on-screen behavior and uncontrolled anger made it an easy battle for his opponent. Karoubi failed too. He was so disappointing that a friend who'd been campaigning with the Karoubi Camp, whom I sat and watched with, went green.

As I write, it is the last day before vote day. As is the case, campaigning during this day is forbidden and may result in your right to vote being revoked. I've just revisited the place at which I exited my taxi upon coming home last night, a journey that took three hours due to the volume of supporters on the street, I got out of the taxi to what appeared to be a riot, with police struggling to keep the supporters from blocking traffic; revving their motorbikes before coming at the crowd with swinging batons. The supporters came back at them! Then the supporters came rushing in my direction and away from the police coming back at them. I'd survived a stampede. Today, in the light of day, I'd be forgiven in thinking I made it all up. The streets are clear and clean and pretty much no signs of an imminent election can be seen.

I've seen a face, I've seen the green and I see the desperate connection between

So up until today, I've seen a face, I've seen the green and I see the desperate connection between. I guess that Mir Hossein Mousavi is the most credible of the faces, for many, to bridge between the current reality and the future desires. As a dispassionate observer it's frustrating to see this shown in fanaticism. But the fanaticism is the change and going green, itself, is what's paving the way to the future desires. But on the other hand, the fanaticism surrounding Ahmadinejad's support is very much about his personality, thus we see a personality and it's antitype put before us on our voting slips.

So with a day to go, I'm still unsure of who to vote for and with complete ignorance to my British sensitivities, I'm being asked this with every greeting. The Green Army that surrounds me assures me that there is only one choice and any hint that I'd question that is seen as me playing silly, or even making a mockery of them and the nation. So I ask them why I should vote for Mousavi, and in nearly every case I'm presented with why I should vote against Ahmadinejad. This isn't my question though. On one occasion I was told of Mousavi's previous standing in government and how he help lead the country through it's most difficult times during the Iran, Iraq war. Commendable, but I'm still looking for campaign promises, and never hear them spoken about. As a friend put it to me, his campaign promises are very simple; they are to be the next president and to not be like the last.

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One of the many white canvases put out for marking in Tehran

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A quick response to Al Jazeera regarding the upcoming Iranian presidential elections

I'm not sure I'd be a good person to ask regarding the elections. My information on this is generally funneled through western minds. My only outstanding thought is that the fielded candidates are a very disappointing bunch. My concern, as with most elections around the world, is that people are not so much voting for what they want as oppose to voting for a person who is against what they don't want. Mousavi seems an odd choice for Iranians and yet he seems likely to win - at least if you stand this side of Vanak. Mousavi doesn't appear to be a uniter by nature and displays little leadership qualities - features that Iranians historically seem to need in my mind. Ahmadinejad in my mind shows these to a better degree. The people are united in a shade of green; of change, and the face is Mousavi's. I'm hoping that this will turn out to be a "yes we can" matter, in that people will understand their own role in shaping the future having invested themselves so much. For the first time, I think people are seeing aspects of a democratic nation develop, by this I mean the televised debates and the use of the internet what with the reversal of a decision to block Facebook. These are important steps towards the desires of the people.

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