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FiveThirtyEight

Politics

Since the Iranian elections were held a week ago Friday, this website has received 2,065 visits from Iran. That’s not particularly many and represents just a fraction of a percent of our overall traffic. But considering that we’d had just a couple dozen visitors from Iran in the entire history of this website prior to 6/12, it becomes more impressive.

One thing I noticed, however, is that 67 percent of our Iranian visitors are from Tehran, even though Tehran accounts for only about 10 percent of the country’s population. This is not particularly surprising considering that Internet access in Iran is highly inequitable: of the 33 ISP’s in Iran as of 2005, 19 were in Tehran Province.

Nevertheless, it does seem to underscore the point that so many other commentators have been making: the protests are being facilitated to a large degree by the Internet. We’ve heard very little about protests outside of Tehran, even though there are some other fairly large cities — Tabriz, Zahedan, Ardabil, Yazd — where Ahmadinejad (ostensibly) received 50 percent or less of the vote. But we’re seeing hardly any visitors from those other cities, except for Yazd from which we’ve gotten quite a few. If our traffic is even a loose proxy for the Internet situation in Iran in general, these people aren’t Tweeting, and they certainly aren’t reading the New York Times or the BBC. And they also, apparently, aren’t protesting in great numbers.

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