Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Fall of Night

One possible explanation for today's results is that the people of Iran voted Mahmood Ahmadinejad in for another term. Despite his mangling of the economy, they still liked his anti-corruption crusade and strong foreign policy stance. While there was some vote-rigging, his margin was convincing enough that he was the clear victor.

Given the build-up to the election, and particularly the rhetoric deployed in the days leading up to it, however, I'm inclined to believe that we have just witnessed a seizure of power by an axis consisting of Ahmadinejad, Khamene'i, and the elite military and paramilitary units. This has gone against not only the popular will, but other powerful figures within the establishment, such as Rafsanjani.

Now we have this from Laura Rozen:
"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 government controlled Interior Ministry is declaring Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as 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."
As for the margin, she has this:
"He (Ghaemi) said opposition forces believe there was massive fraud in the vote count but cannot figure out where it occurred, perhaps in the computer system pre-planned in advance. He said that they are frightened."
The early returns are that the 2009 Presidential election has brought, not a new day of reform, but a night of repression.

(Crossposted to American Footprints)



Anonymous Jonathan Edelstein said...

I could believe Ahmadinejad winning. What I can't believe is him winning by more than two to one, and the other two candidates getting almost no votes. The obviously pre-planned security response is also very suspicious.

The bottom line is that I agree with you - this isn't a coup. So much for Iran being, at least within limits, a democracy.

10:45 AM  

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