MUHAMMAD SAHIMI, moe at usc.edu
Professor at the University of Southern California, Sahimi has been analyzing Iran’s political developments for the past two decades. He is the editor of the website Iran News & Middle East Reports. Sahimi recently wrote the piece “Iran Has a Right to Enrich — And America Already Recognized It.”
WILLIAM O. BEEMAN, wbeeman at umn.edu, @wbeeman
Author of The ‘Great Satan’ vs. the ‘Mad Mullahs’: How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other, Beeman just wrote the piece “The Iran Accord — Profoundly, and Primarily, Symbolic,” which states: “The principal benefit of the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 nations on November 23 is that Iran and the United States were able to sit down to talk and reach an agreement on something. Given 33 years of estrangement and non-communication, this is an extraordinarily important development — nearly equivalent to the U.S. breakthrough to China — perhaps the signal achievement of the Nixon administration.”
Also today, following the election in Honduras, the Center for Constitutional Rights released a statement urging: “Don’t Rush to Recognize Honduras Election ‘Winner’”: “There must be an opportunity to do a full and accurate count and fully investigate reports of irregularities and intimidation and threats by authorities. Given the context of widespread opposition to the post-coup government and its violent repression of civil society, CCR urges the international community to do everything possible to ensure respect for and protection of Hondurans’ right to free expression, freedom of the press, and peaceful assembly in the coming days.”
ADRIENNE PINE, pine at american.edu, @adriennepine
Assistant professor of anthropology at American University, Pine is currently on leave on a Fulbright scholarship, residing in Tegucigalpa and teaching at the National Autonomous University of Honduras. She blogs at quotha.net. She appeared on “Democracy Now!” this morning: “Honduras Presidential Elections in Dispute as Activists Defy Violence to Back Ousted Leader’s Wife.”
SUYAPA PORTILLO, lavidagris at gmail.com, @aisportillo
A professor at Pritzer College in Claremont, Calif., Portillo wrote early this morning: “The Honduran people’s votes continue to be counted as I write this email. Six hundred and eleven voting centers do not have scanning capacity and those results will come over the next two days. … I witnessed many irregularities the day before voting and the day of voting. … The voting materials boxes arrived late in the voting place I observed in Colonia Kennedy, a LIBRE stronghold; the voting box materials lacked markers needed to sign the ballot boxes; credentials seemed to have been bought by Nationalist party people; the secretary and president of a table did not show up. …
“The U.S. Ambassador came to my voting center with three different armed groups: Cobra soldiers, secret service-like men, and national police with high caliber guns. She visited the tables and the police with military grade guns blocked the entrances for voters and observers; press were pushed aside and almost dropped to the floor; her visit disturbed the voting process and all the men with guns caused tension and fear among voters. She told one table that was well-organized according to her that she would give them a price for high turn out and good organization. …”
MARK WEISBROT, DAN BEETON, beeton at cepr.net, @Dan_Beeton
Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Beeton is international communications director for the group, which stated today: “The official results as being reported by Honduras’ electoral authorities (the TSE) are being disputed by two of the political parties and presidential candidates: Xiomara Castro of the LIBRE party (who the TSE says finished second, based on 54 percent of electoral tallies counted) and Salvador Nasralla of the Anti-Corruption Party (PAC) (who the TSE says finished fourth). Nasralla told various TV and radio outlets last night that the results reported by the TSE did not match those that were transmitted to the parties. As part of the counting process, tally results from the voting centers are shared with the parties.
“Although some international observers reported that the process was clean, transparent, and peaceful, many other observers reported various violations and irregularities throughout the day, both during voting and the tally-counting process. Honduran media outlets and international observers reported that some voting centers were closed off and guarded by military in a violation of requirements that public access to the centers is supposed to be guaranteed. In other centers, international observers were told to leave as they attempted to witness the counting process. During the voting, observers witnessed various incidents of apparent party allegiance buying, where voting center representatives of small parties may have sold their representation to the National Party, as well as National Party intimidation and threats against observers and other party representatives. There are also allegations, with purported photo evidence, of vote-buying by the National Party in various voting centers. These are among other irregularities reported by human rights organizations, lawyers’ delegations, and others, and documented here, here, and here. Further, the murder of two LIBRE leaders on the eve of the elections as well as the murder of five people in Mosquitia, which led to the suspension of the electoral process in the local community, were notable and serious violent incidents that impacted the election.
“Regardless of the final outcome, Honduras’ century-long two-party dominance of the political system has been broken. The LIBRE especially has emerged as a major political force, institutionalizing in a political way the massive social movement that erupted in opposition to the 2009 coup and offering greater representation to the interests of Honduras’ historically disenfranchised sectors.”