June 15, 2009


Iran Supreme Leader Orders Vote Fraud Probe (ANNA JOHNSON and ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Jun. 15, 2009, TIME)

Iran's state television says the supreme leader has ordered an investigation into claims of fraud in last week's presidential election.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is ordering the powerful Guardian Council to examine the allegations by pro-reform candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who claims widespread vote rigging in Friday's election.

A New Islamic Revolution?: How the Iranian regime betrayed its ideals (Reihan Salam, 06.15.09, Forbes)

The great strength of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been its ability to mask its fundamentally authoritarian character with the trappings of democratic elections. To be sure, the only candidates who are allowed to run for office are those who accept the basic--and very narrow--contours of Iran's constitutional order. Those who believe that the state treasury shouldn't be used as a piggy bank for elite military officers and their mistresses and cronies, for example, are ineligible for office, which is convenient.

But even so, Iran's elections have traditionally been a good way to let off steam, and also a good way to distract attention from Iran's so-called deep state. With a reformist at the helm like Khatami or a clown like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the real powers-that-be can do their dastardly deeds undisturbed. Now, however, Iran's real rulers have signed their death warrant.

Tehran is running scared of the uncontrollable forces of freedom: The surge of revolt threatened to become a tidal wave. So the Islamic republic responded with ‘a coup against the coup (Martin Fletcher , 6/15/09, Times of London)
Scarcely had polling ended than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's cronies in the Interior Ministry and Elections Commission declared him the winner. They gave him not a razor-thin victory, which might just have been credible - the President did have legions of diehard supporters among the pious and rural poor. They gave him nearly two thirds of the vote, a figure that defied belief and raised two unmistakable fingers to the Iranian people and the world. They claimed that the main challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi, lost heavily even in his own village. The number of votes allegedly cast for Mr Ahmadinejad, 24.5 million, was probably chosen so that he could claim to have more support than any president in the republic's 30-year history. The previous high was just over 20 million, cast for the reformist Mohammad Khatami in 1997.

The crackdown began instantly. Mobile phone and text messaging systems were taken down so the opposition could not organise. Opposition websites and international news services were blocked. Baton-wielding security forces flooded on to the streets. Overnight the festive atmosphere turned to fear, exuberance to terror, as the regime showed how evil it is.

All weekend protests were ruthlessly suppressed. Demonstrators were beaten. Foreign journalists, including a reporter and photographer from The Times, were detained. Leading reformists were arrested. Iran's “Prague Spring”, its “Velvet Revolution”, was crushed with Soviet-style ruthlessness by a regime practised in silencing dissent. Mr Ahmadinejad, the self-styled man of the people and champion of the oppressed, unleashed the full force of the state machinery on his own population. Meanwhile, congratulations poured in from... well, Syria and Venezuela.

Why the volte-face? Why did the regime open the door a crack, only to slam it shut so violently? Almost certainly because it was appalled by what it saw on the other side.

-Iran's Military Coup: Iran election protest The Iranian election was bald-faced election fraud, writes the Daily Beast’s Reza Aslan, perpetrated by a powerful intelligence unit known as the Pasdaran. ( Reza Aslan, 6/15/09, Daily Beast)
So let’s get this straight. We are supposed to believe that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was reelected in Iran’s presidential election last week by a 2 to 1 margin against his reformist rival Mir Hossein Mousavi. That this deeply unpopular president, whose gross mismanagement of the state budget is widely blamed for Iran’s economy hovering on the edge of total collapse, received approximately the same percentage of votes as Mohammad Khatami, by far Iran’s most popular past president, received in both 1997 and 2001? That Mousavi, whom all independent polls predicted would at the very least take Ahmadinejad into a run-off election, lost not only his main base of support, Tehran, but also his own hometown of Khameneh in East Azerbaijan (which, as any Azeri will tell you, never votes for anyone but its own native sons)…and by a landslide. That we should all take the word of the Interior Ministry, led by a man put in his position by Ahmadinejad himself, a man who called the election for the incumbent before the polls were even officially closed, that the election was a fair representation of the will of the Iranian people.


Posted by Orrin Judd at June 15, 2009 6:18 AM
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