Iranians around the world took to the streets Monday to protest what has widely been called the "coup" of 2009 after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defeated reformist Mir Hossein Mousavi by a landslide in the hotly contested elections that have brought the Islamic Republic on the brink of another revolution.
As France and Germany summoned Iranian ambassadors, people across the world demonstrated outside their embassies and consulates in Britain, the United States, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, the Netherlands and Malaysia.
"Where is my vote?"
More than 200 Iranians gathered outside their consulate in Dubai, some 200 kilometers (120 miles) across the Gulf from Iran, and flouted a ban on protests as they chanted slogans calling Ahmadinejad a "dictator" and accused the Islamic Republic of rigging the elections.
"Where is my vote?" they shouted in unison as many of them said that they had cast their ballots in favor of runner-up Mousavi.
"I want to tell Mr. Mousavi to get my vote back," Assad told Al Arabiya. "I don’t accept this regime, it's a dictatorship," the 27-year-old, who refused to give his full name for security reasons, said.
Although the protest was not authorized, as public demonstrations are not permitted in the UAE, anti-riot police allowed the protesters to stand for more than two hours outside the consulate before they began ushering them away.
Iranians are one of the largest expatriate communities in the UAE at around 400,000.
Like many other protesters, Assad, who works in a tourism company, said he covered his face with sunglasses and a mask so that the authorities would not be able to identify him when he returns to Iran.
"We voted for one person but another name came out," Assad said.
The "Coup of 2009"
Meanwhile, Iranian expatriates living in European cities in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the Netherlands gathered outside their embassies on Sunday in peaceful protests against elections they saw as unfair.
Across the United States people in Los Angeles -- nicknamed "Tehrangeles" because of its huge Iranian population -- Washington, Dallas and New York held demonstrations and chanted anti-Ahmadinejad slogans as they slammed the 2009 "coup," an apparent reference to the 1953 and 1979 revolution that ousted the U.S.-backed Shah.
"A coup is a coup! 1953 and 2009," read one of the banners held up by a protestor outside of the United Nations building in New York.
Before the results were announced, U.S. President Barack Obama said that he thought there was a "possibility of change" in U.S.-Iran relations and welcomed the "robust debate" taking place as Iranians rushed out in droves to vote in the tight elections.
In Kuala Lumpur, some two hundred Iranian protestors gathered in front of the United Nations office and police fired five tear-gas shells to disperse the protestors who were marching on the road with banners and shouting slogans.
Members of Sydney's Iranian community also headed to the streets and protested outside a polling booth in Sydney's north as members of the 'Committee to Boycott Show Election in Iran' gathered to highlight what the group called a "lack of democratic process in Iran and the brutality of the regime in undermining human rights."
Meanwhile in escalating pressure on the Iranian government, Germany and France summoned their Iranian ambassadors to protest heavy-handed police action against protestors and to clear up any irregularities in the results.
"The actions of the Iranian security forces are completely unacceptable," Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on public television.
He also called on Iran to clear up "immediately and without delay" allegations of irregularities in the election that sparked the protests, which analysts say have underscored shortcomings in the tactics of the Ahmadinejad camp.
France also summoned its ambassador to hear its concerns over disputed elections and said: "France as well as its European partners is awaiting clear answers to the doubts raised over irregularities in the vote," said ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier.
Human rights groups also slammed the government's violent crackdown on protesters and called for investigations into the arrests of more than 170 people as well as allegations of voter fraud.
"We deplore that the new presidential term is heralded with widespread abuses," said Amnesty International, adding that it "considers anyone arrested simply for demanding transparency and for questioning the results of the elections to be a prisoner of conscience, who should be immediately and unconditionally released.”