Iran’s election held on June 12th was a fraud. President Ahmadinejad used his control of the government to steal the election from Mir Hossein Mousavi.
– 85% voter turnout. That’s 25% more than in 2005. When droves of people vote, so many that polling stations stay open an extra 4 hours it is almost always bad for an incumbent.
– The voting patterns announced by the government were identical in all parts of the country this is an impossibility.
– Western News sources need to stop quoting the IRNA’s statements as fact. The IRNA is the government (Ahmadinejad) controlled media in Iran. They are publishing what he wants them to say, not the truth.
– The high margin of victory for Ahmadinejad in the so-called “results” has lead to two views:
1. The margin was so high it proves he cheated. Opinion polls and rallies were hugely in favour of Mousavi and Ahmadinejad knows he would never win in a run-off election. The results are so high in Ahmadinejad’s favour shows how sloppy the cover-up is.
2. The margin was so high it proves he didn’t cheat as he couldn’t rig an election by that much.
– Analysts also think it is not plausible that Mehdi Karoubi would have received less than 1 percent of the total vote.
– Robert Gibbs on behalf of the White House: “Like the rest of the world, we were impressed by the vigorous debate and enthusiasm that this election generated, particularly among young Iranians. We continue to monitor the entire situation closely, including reports of irregularities.”
– Since facebook is the same as reality lets look at their facebook support (I have been messaged a couple of times about this comment. For the 5th and final time, it is a joke. 70% of Iran’s population is under 30, some have called Iran’s election “the facebook election.” ):
Mir Hossein Mousavi: 42,689 fans
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: 8279 fans
– Ahmadinejad has used the media, the military, the secret police and the government’s economic power to campaign in the past. It would be very easy for him to continue using those levers to rig Iran’s election.
– “I don’t think anyone anticipated this level of fraudulence,” Reuters cited the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Karim Sadjadpour on Friday. “This was a selection, not an election. At least authoritarian regimes like Syria and Egypt have no democratic pretences. In retrospect it appears this entire campaign was a show: Ayatollah Khamenei wasn’t ever going to let Ahmadinejad lose.”
– Thousands of Mr. Mousavi’s volunteer supervisors were not issued credentials by the Interior Ministry, which runs the elections, and were barred from polling stations.
– In 2005, when it appeared that no hard line conservative might survive the first round of the presidential election, there were credible reports of ballot manipulation to insure that Mr Ahmadinejad could run (and win) against former president Rafsanjani in the second round. The lesson seemed to be that the authorities might shift the results in a close election but they would not reverse a landslide vote.
– IRNA has been broadcasting pre-recorded messages calling for everyone to unite behind the Ahmadinejad.
– Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi, who is influential in the military, issued a fatwa authorizing manipulation of the elections. This cleric was also Ahmadinejad’s teacher when he was younger.
– It is claimed that Ahmadinejad won the city of Tabriz with 57%. His main opponent, Mir Hossein Mousavi, is an Azeri from Azerbaijan province, of which Tabriz is the capital. Mousavi, according to such polls as exist in Iran and widespread anecdotal evidence, did better in cities and is popular in Azerbaijan. Certainly, his rallies there were very well attended. So for an Azeri urban center to go so heavily for Ahmadinejad just makes no sense. In past elections, Azeris voted disproportionately for even minor presidential candidates who hailed from that province.
– German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the “course of the election in Iran raises many questions” and called for “authorities in Tehran to carefully look into these accusations to in an effort provide a full explanation.”
– Police surrounded the interior ministry in a bid to block any unrest, as officials repeated an announcement that post-election protests would be banned.
– The offices of two reformist candidates, Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi were seized and locked by intelligence and security forces.
– The results were released in a staggered pattern with many sets contradicting previous ones. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner before the results were even released.
– Mousavi’s Twitter account said he had been put under house arrest overnight Sunday: “Dear Iranian People, Mousavi has not left you alone, he has been put under house arrest by Ministry of Intelligence,” it posted at 740pm EST Saturday. A Los Angeles-based Iranian pro-democracy activist, Pooya Dayanim, said the measure was justified as being for Mousavi’s “own safety.”
– Communications Shut-Down: Opposition newspaper has been closed down and BBC websites also appear to have been blocked by the Iranian authorities. Mir Hossein Mousavi’s website has been shut down. Youtube, twitter and facebook are being blocked. Cells phones were also blocked. Every form of communication that Mousavi’s campaign used were shut down.
– The United States of America needs to do nothing right now but observe. If they recognize Mousavi a huge backlash will occur. If they recognize Mahmoud Ahmadinejad it would stifle any hope the reformists have. If they say anything at all it will backfire.
– The Ministry of Interior (election headquarters) was surrounded by concrete barriers and armed men. This was before the results were released.
– Less than 24 hours later, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamene`i publicly announced his congratulations to the winner, apparently confirming that the process was complete and irrevocable, contrary to constitutional requirements.
– Several journalists were beaten badly, and one young, female protester was beaten unconscious by uniformed police.
– Mr. Mousavi was expected to have held a press conference Saturday afternoon. But the building the press conference was supposed to be held in, a newspaper headquarters, was surrounded by anti-riot police and security officers in plain clothes early Saturday afternoon. They barred access to the building.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrested his opponents, shut down all communications and hastily had the results ratified. By doing this he has shown his hand. The results don’t match with pre-polling, exit-polling and anecdotal evidence. Mousavi is under house arrest; you don’t need to arrest the candidate whom seem to have the highest popular support if you didn’t falsify election results. With the help of the military, religious and governmental establishment Mahmoud Ahmadinejad turned an election into a Coup D’etat.
Check out Foreign Policy Magazine’s Website for updates: http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/06/12/iran_elections_update
For Solid on-the-ground updates: http://uskowioniran.blogspot.com/
Ahmadinejad “Wins” Iran presidential Vote
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been re-elected as president of Iran with a resounding victory, the electoral commission says.
With more than 80% of results in, the commission said he won 63% support in an election marked by high turnout.
Reformist Mir Hossein Mousavi also claimed victory, calling the result a “dangerous charade”, as supporters vowed to appeal for a re-run.
Police have sealed off Mr Mousavi’s campaign HQ, preventing his supporters from holding a news conference.
One opposition newspaper has been closed down and BBC websites also appear to have been blocked by the Iranian authorities.
Mr Mousavi was hoping to prevent Mr Ahmadinejad winning more than 50% of the vote, in order to force a run-off election.
However, the Iranian election commission said Mr Mousavi’s share of the vote was around 34%.
Earlier, the state news agency Irna declared Mr Ahmadinejad the “definite winner”, and his campaign manager was quoted as saying “any doubts cast on this victory will be treated as a joke by the public”.
Danger of ‘tyranny’
Mr Mousavi issued a statement shortly after 1300 local time (0930 GMT) on Saturday, after the scale of the hard-line president’s victory became clear.
The former prime minister dismissed the election result as deeply flawed.
“I personally strongly protest the many obvious violations and I’m warning I will not surrender to this dangerous charade,” the Reuters news agency reported him as saying.
“The result of such performance by some officials will jeopardise the pillars of the Islamic Republic and will establish tyranny.”
Mr Mousavi has already said there was a shortage of ballot papers and alleged that millions of people had been denied the right to vote.
His election monitors were not allowed enough access to polling stations, he added, saying he would deal seriously with any irregularities.
The head of the Committee to Protect the People’s Votes, a group set up by all three opposition candidates, said the group would not accept the result, alleging fraud.
They have asked Iran’s Guardian Council – a powerful body controlled by conservative clerics – to cancel the results and re-run the elections.
The BBC’s Jon Leyne, in Tehran, says the result has been greeted with surprise and with deep scepticism by many Iranians.
The figures, if they are to be believed, show Mr Ahmadinejad winning strongly even in the heartland of Mr Mousavi, the main opposition contender.
The scale of Mr Ahmadinejad’s win means that many people who voted for a reformist candidate in the previous presidential election four years ago have apparently switched their votes to Mr Ahmadinejad, he adds.
Supporters of Mr Ahmadinejad took to the streets on Friday night as their candidate declared his own victory.
By Saturday morning, with the opposition angry at the formal results, police in Tehran moved to prevent protests even though there were few signs of organised dissent.
There was heavy security around Mr Mousavi’s campaign headquarters and reports that at least one rally for Mr Mousavi was broken up by police using truncheons against small groups of people.
The AFP news agency said police dispersed opposition supporters on Saturday morning, quoting a senior police official as saying: “The time of dancing and shouting is over.”
One opposition supporter who gave her name as Shirin, told the BBC she still had confidence Mr Mousavi would become president.
“But he advised us, the supporters, not to do anything harsh or trying to… clash with Ahmadinejad’s supporters,” she said.
Our correspondent says the reaction of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will be extremely important.
BBC Iranian affairs analyst Sadeq Saba says the result means that hope for peaceful reform in Iran may die for a long time.
There had been a surge of interest in Iran’s presidential election, with unprecedented live television debates between the candidates and rallies attended by thousands.
There were long queues at polling stations, with turnout said to be higher than 80%.
Four candidates contested the election, with Mohsen Razai and Mehdi Karroubi only registering a small percentage of votes.
President Ahmadinejad draws support mainly from the urban poor and rural areas, while his rivals have support among the middle classes and the educated urban population.
Iran is ruled under a system known as Velayat-e Faqih, or “Rule by the Supreme Jurist”, who is currently Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
It was adopted by an overwhelming majority in 1979 following the Islamic revolution which overthrew the autocratic Western-backed Shah.
But the constitution also stipulates that the people are the source of power and the country holds phased presidential and parliamentary elections every four years.
All candidates are vetted by the powerful conservative-controlled Guardian Council, which also has the power to veto legislation it deems inconsistent with revolutionary principles.
Iran Election Update: Reformist Candidate’s Headquarters Seized and Locked
Partial Vote Count Declaring Ahmadinejad Win Amidst Allegations of Widespread Fraud “Gross violation of the right to a free and fair election”
(13 June 2009) [As of 7 am Tehran time] After a disputed election, the offices of two reformist candidates, Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi were seized and locked by intelligence and security forces. As the Interior Ministry is declaring Ahmadinejad as the victor, the security apparatus loyal to him have taken to the streets in an overwhelming show of force.
According to unconfirmed reports, Mir Hossein Moussavi may have been detained by intelligence agents as he traveled to the Supreme Leader’s residence to meet with him.
By all indications, the government of Ahmadinejad, which is in charge of conducting the elections and counting votes, is using a combination of intimidation and military might to prevent any challenges to announced results of the election.
“It appears that a coup has taken place in Iran overnight to force the results on other parties. These elections cannot be considered fair by any measure under such circumstances,” said Hadi Ghaemi, spokesperson for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
Moussavi’s official website, http://www.ghalamnews.ir, reported that when his supporters gathered around his headquarters to celebrate what they believed was his victory based on reports of his representatives at polling stations, police forces confronted them using pepper spray and violently dispersed them. Moussavi’s headquarters have been since shut, similar to Karroubi’s headquarters.
At 11 PM Tehran time, Moussavi told a press conference, “I am the absolute winner of the election by a very wide margin. It is our duty to defend people’s votes. There is no turning back.”
However, since then the situation seems to have drastically shifted in favor of Ahmadinejad, with continuous announcements of his wide margin of victory. According to reports from Tehran, heavy armed agents, many in plainclothes, have taken control of major intersections.
As of this writing, crowds of Ahmadinejad’s supporters are reportedly already celebrating his victory in the streets.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran expressed its serious concerns about the vote counting process and the intimidation of candidates to accept results of government counts without any challenge. The Campaign is also seriously concerned about the safety of Moussavi and Karroubi and their top advisors, as well as the possibility of violence against any protestors who may publicly challenge the government.
“The Iranian people, throughout this entire election process, believed that through peaceful and legal means significant change could be achieved and they participated enthusiastically, but their right to a free and fair election has been grossly violated,” Ghaemi said.
Could voter fraud explain Ahmadinejad’s win?
There certainly are numerous ways that the vote tally could be manipulated, but it’s unlikely that it could be successfully manipulated to the give the incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the degree of victory he is said to have achieved.
Mehdi Khalaji, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Studies (and a Shiite theologian trained in Qom, Iran) has studied the intricacies of Iran’s voting and vote-counting system.
He notes that there are at least five ways that voting can be manipulated.
In Iran, there is no voter registration. Instead, a person’s voting eligibility is determined by his or her birth certificate, a document that looks like a passport, with pages that can be stamped.
Mr. Khalaji notes that there have been reports in the past that various groups have “rented” birth certificates from the poor, and used them to secure and fill in ballots fraudulently. Such activity, he says, is often perpetrated after regular voting hours, or when polls remain open for many hours after the designated closing time – as was the case Friday.
“In previous elections,” he wrote this week, “reports have surfaced that the Imam Khomeini Committee, a large state charity affiliated with the [supreme] leader, Ali Khamenei, ‘rent’ birth certificates belonging to the poor.”
Relying on birth certificates complicates the calculation of eligible voters, Mr. Khalaji, says. Different government offices give very different estimates: “While the Interior Ministry puts the total number of eligible Iranian voters at 46 million, Iran’s Center for Statistics claims the number is over 51 million,” he explains.
Without an accurate estimate of eligible voters, it’s impossible to determine if “ghost” votes have been cast.The National Organization for Civil Registration says that the number of existing birth certificates greatly exceeds the number of Iranians. This can be caused by the loss or theft of certificates, which are then replaced.
Also, says Mr. Khalaji, some Iranians do not invalidate their relatives’ birth certificates after they die.
“In the last presidential election, reformist sources announced that more than two million fraudulent birth certificates may have been used … to obtain ballots.”
A lot of Iranians, about 20 per cent, are illiterate, yet the ballot each person casts requires the voter to write out the name of his or her choice – an X is not allowed.
This makes it possible for polling station “volunteers” to write in the name of the candidate they favour, without the voter knowing any better.
Mobile polling stations
In the name of greater voter participation, an estimated 14,000 mobile ballot boxes were to be used in Friday’s vote. These were intended to reach those who could not reach any of the 47,000 regular voting stations (because of disability, members of the military, etc).
However, notes Mr. Khalaji, adequate supervision of the mobile boxes is extremely difficult, creating a situation where no one watches who casts the ballots or is present during the tally.”
Counting the ballots is the area with the greatest potential for abuse.
The Guardian Council has the duty of supervising the process at each polling station and has uses observation committees with more than 130,000 members. Importantly, notes Mr. Khalaji, “each candidate has the right to send an observer to each fixed polling station to observe both the voting process and the ballot count.”
However, after the vote is counted at each station the results are recorded on a form, but not released to the press or public. This form is then sent to the Interior Ministry where all the forms are tallied and published. There is no guarantee that the first form’s figures are used in later forms, and no outside or candidates’ observers are allowed to oversee this compilation.
“In other words,” says Mr. Khalaji, “it is possible for agents from the Guardian Council or the Interior Ministry to change the vote totals before announcing them.”
Once tallied, the results must be validated in a two-stage process.
The first stage is validation by the Guardian Council. Candidates have three days in which to appeal to this body if fraud or manipulation is suspected. But such an appeal is a double-edged sword.
In the past, says Mr. Khalaji, “the Guardian Council has canceled the voting in some districts where voting problems allegedly occurred and, not surprisingly, these are often districts where reformers do well.”
The second stage of validation is by Supreme Leader Khamenei, who has the constitutional authority to overrule the voters if he so chooses. Ayatollah Khamenei’s official statement issued Saturday embracing the election of Mr. Ahmadinejad, puts an end to and chance of him overturned the results.
In an open letter published last Sunday, a group of Interior Ministry employees expressed concern about the ministry’s plans to manipulate the vote. They cited a fatwa issued by an ayatollah in Qom – allegedly Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, who was Mr. Ahmadinejad’s teacher — that justifies such manipulation.
All in all, concludes Mr. Khajali, “it is abundantly clear that Iran’s election procedures leave ample opportunity for massive voter fraud.”
The Real Votes: Mousavi at 52%
A reliable source at Iran’s Ministry of Interior today has told Uskowi on Iran that the real final vote count for Mousavi and Ahmadinejad was as follows:
Mousavi: 19,075,623 = 52%
Ahmadinejad: 13,387,104 = 37%
Uskowi on Iran is also advised that the ministry officials called Mousavi’s campaign HQ in Tehran after the final tally and informed them of Mousavi’s win and telling them that the results would be officially released within the hour by the director of the ministry’s electoral commission.
Half an hour after the phone call from the Ministry to Mousavi’s campaign HQ, however, IRNA, the official Iran’s news agency, announced that Ahmadinejad was leading the pack by 69% of 5,150,188 votes counted by then. IRNA’s official release also said the votes counted by then constituted 19.43% of the total votes cast.
According to IRNA’s own calculations, the total vote cast was 26,520,021 or a 57% turnout of the 46.2 million eligible voters. But at day’s end, the turnout was changed to 80%, with Ahmadinejad receiving nearly 24 million votes!
It is clear now that in the period between the phone call to Mousavi’s office and IRNA‘s first announcement, the officials changed the vote counts to steal Mousavi’s victory and to prevent a devastating defeat for Ahmadinjad in the very first round of the election. We have referred to this move as a coup. A designation that fits the crime.
The real looser of the election is the Islamic Republic. Unlike shah’s government, or those of the neighboring Arab world, the Islamic Republic claims moral high ground for maintaining a democratic process in choosing its president. This year, Islamic Republic’s own watchdog body qualified four candidates out of nearly 500 who applied, and many qualified persons who did not run fearing the certain disqualification by the government. Then the Islamic Republic told the Iranian people that they were free to choose between the four candidates. The youths came out in droves to vote for change. But the government steals the election from a “trustworthy” former premier, one of the four who was deemed loyal enough.
These are sad days for Iran, but the real looser is the Islamic Republic; loosing its legitimacy and its moral claim to an Islamic democracy.