Has the Election Been Stolen in Iran?
(June 13, 2009) -- If it is true that Ahmadinejad's victory is fraudulent, it'll be a dream come true for those pushing a more confrontational approach with
It is certainly not unprecedented for Western observers to miscalculate the outcome of an election in a country where pre-election polls are not as rigorous as Western countries, particularly when there is a clear bias towards a particular candidate. At the same time, the predictions of knowledgeable Iranian observers from various countries and from across the political spectrum were nearly unanimous in the belief that the leading challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi would defeat incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad decisively in yesterday’s presidential election, certainly in the runoff if not in the first round. This also appeared to be the assumption among independent observers in
So overwhelming were the signs of imminent Ahmadinejad defeat and so massive was the margin of his alleged victory, the only reasonable assumption was that there has been fraud on a massive scale. What polls did exist showed Mousavi leading by a clear majority and Ahmadinejad well under 40%, a margin roughly similar to what most analysts had suggested based on anecdotal evidence. Instead, the official results show Ahmadinejad winning by an overwhelming 63% of the vote.
The unmistakable political trend in
Ahmadinejad won a tight presidential race four years ago campaigning as an economic populist, gaining wide support among the poor for his calls for reducing inequality and fighting endemic corruption. However, his administration has been at least as corrupt as his predecessors, his economic policies have resulted in high inflation and high unemployment, and he has been ruthless in suppressing labor unions, such as the bus drivers strike in
There are also more direct indications of fraud.
In past elections, there have been substantial variations in the vote of various candidates based on ethnicity and geography, but the official results show Ahmadinejad’s vote totals being relatively uniform across the country. Mousavi, an Azeri from the
Among the most implausible part of the official results is the claim that Ahmadinejad won a clear majority in the capital of
The electoral system under the Islamic Republic has always been tightly controlled to the point that the Guardian Council pre-screened potential candidates for what they considered to be appropriate adherence to their theocratic order. However, within that rather limited range of legitimacy, previous elections were deemed relatively free and fair. This massive fraud, then, is unprecedented. Indeed, as security forces seized newspapers and other media election night to ensure the fraud would not be reported and government has shut down much of the country’s electronic communication, Iranians spoke in terms of what appears to be nothing less than a internal coup.
While there is much to criticize about
The stealing of the Iranian presidential elections is a dream come true for American neo-conservatives and others pushing for a more confrontational approach with