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Ahmadinejad Backer: Some Mousavi Backers Violent

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Yesterday we heard from a supporter of Mir Hossein Mousavi. Today we hear from someone who supports Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His name is Mostafa Hessami. He's a 23-year-old student of software engineering, and he's an activist. He joins us from Mashhad, Iran - that's the second largest city in Iran. And thank you very much for being with us.

Mr. MOSTAFA HESSAMI: Hello, thank you, too.

NORRIS: I understand that you voted for the incumbent president in the recent election. Can you tell us why you support Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

Mr. HESSAMI: Yes, I voted for Mr. Ahmadinejad because I think he is economical and his foreign policies are very much correct, because regarding our economy, we need fundamental reforms and this is something that Mr. Ahmadinejad has done very well so far. But it takes time until we can see the positive effects. And around Iran in many other cities, in many rural areas, Ahmadinejad has the majority of people supporting him.

NORRIS: Why does Ahmadinejad have more support in rural areas?

Mr. HESSAMI: Because we are told that he has (unintelligible) economical development plans. And he has done many constructions for the villages, for people living in small cities, you know, he has constructed many roads for many, you know, like health centers, like hospitals. And so people support him for all the good things that he has done for them.

NORRIS: What's been happening there in Mashhad in the days after the presidential election? Have you seen the same kinds of large protests that we've seen in Tehran?

Mr. HESSAMI: No, it was not as large as Tehran. There was some, you know, small protests in the streets, but right now everything is quite normal.

NORRIS: As you watch what's going on in Tehran there, from Mashhad, what do you make of that? What is your reaction to what you're seeing there? And are you at all troubled by the violence from the militias against the Mousavi supporters?

Mr. HESSAMI: I think that the majority of supporters of Mousavi are quite good people. But there are some minor enemy elements who will try to turn the protest into violence. So they attacked many, you know, banks, they put the cars unto fire, they put the banks unto fire - and some of them were armed. So police has to confront them because police is responsible for the security.

NORRIS: Did you have a chance to watch the supreme leader's address today?

Mr. HESSAMI: Yeah, I watched it completely live.

NORRIS: And you know, then, that he dismissed the idea of vote rigging, called for an immediate end to the protest. Do you think that is going to end the conflict or inflame the supporters of Mousavi?

Mr. HESSAMI: No, I think that is going to end the protest. Because Mousavi is now - if he wants to continue protesting like this, he will actually stand against the whole nation. So I think that would be very much bad for him.

NORRIS: So I must ask you a what-if question. What if he does continue to protest? His supporters continue to take to the streets - what then?

Mr. HESSAMI: Okay, so they provide the government for enough excuse for confronting them.

NORRIS: Thank you very much for speaking with us.

Mr. HESSAMI: Thank you, too, very much. That was a pleasure.

NORRIS: That was Mustafa Hessami. He's an engineering student in Mashhad, Iran and a supporter of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.