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Iran Plans Limited Recount, Media Faces Restrictions

At least 7 people were reported killed in Tehran during ongoing protests of last week's disputed presidential election as Iran's 12-person Guardian Council said it would begin a partial recount of votes. Los Angeles Times reporter Borzou Daragahi talks to Margaret Warner from Tehran.

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    Now an update from Tehran. It comes from Los Angeles Times reporter Borzou Daragahi. Margaret Warner talked with him by phone moments ago.


    Borzou Daragahi, thank you for being with us. I know it's very late now in Tehran. What's the situation right now? Are people still out in the streets?

  • BORZOU DARAGAHI, Los Angeles Times:

    Right now, people have left the streets, as far as I know, and things have gotten calm. It is 1:30 in the morning, but there seems to be a sort of rhythm developing every day, where people who are opponents of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and supporters of the defeated candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, gather for a rally.

    They go to that rally. There are, you know, slight confrontations, violent confrontations as those rallies peter out. And then at night, around 9:00 to 11:00, people get up on their rooftops and they chant, "God is great," and other more political slogans, including "Death to the dictator," and then honk their horns for a few hours.

    And then, in various spots throughout the capital, there are confrontations, it seems nightly, between semi-official pro-government Basij militia and more rowdy, assertive protesters who engage in these street battles with them.


    Now, there were a lot of reports in the American media today about restrictions on the media in Iran and also on the ability of Iranians just to communicate with one another. How tight are the restrictions?


    Well, the government has asked the foreign journalists here to avoid going to unauthorized rallies such as those big protests. And I think it's as much for their own security, because they feel they can't guarantee the journalists' security as much as possibly for control of the images, because the images are getting out because of the ubiquity of video cameras on cell phones and the Internet.

    But Internet has also slowed down, and there might be some technical reasons for that. It has nothing to do with politics. Because of the huge volume of hits coming from North America and Europe to Iranian Web sites, unprecedented as people try to get information out of here, the amount that Iranians are using Web sites. However, many Web sites, popular Web sites like Facebook, are being shuttered, YouTube, as well.