Today's Question: Do you think Iran’s elections were rigged?

Friday, June 19, 2009 | 12:07 p.m. CDT; updated 1:48 p.m. CDT, Friday, June 19, 2009

Since the results of Iran’s June 12 presidential elections, the capital city of Tehran has erupted in a stream of protests unlike anything the country has seen since the revolution of 1979. Hundreds of thousands have come to the streets in protests.

The protests stem from results showing a landslide victory for incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with the official vote putting him ahead of the lead challenger, former prime minister Mir Hussein Moussavi. According to The New York Times, Iranian election officials said a record 85 percent voter turnout put Ahmadinejad ahead of Moussavi by 11 million votes.

But Moussavi’s supporters claim the election was a fraud. The day after the polls, both lead candidates claimed victory by a large margin, even though many analysts predicted a runoff election, but then foresaw Moussavi’s overwhelming support as enough to propel him to a first-round victory.

If Iran’s election was indeed legitimate, why is the government cracking down so much on protests, disrupting Internet communication and evicting foreign journalists? For a country that claims to be a republic, those actions seem quite undemocratic.

There’s been a Tweet on Twitter that began circulating a few days ago: “If Iran sleeps tonight, it will sleep forever.” Many are still spearheading that battle cry and sticking to the streets, despite threats of further arrests and violence.

Amnesty International has now spoken out against Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who says the people’s safety will lie in their own hands if they do not disperse.

“We are extremely disturbed at statements made by Ayatollah Khamenei, which seem to give the green light to security forces to violently handle protesters exercising their right to demonstrate and express their views,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme, in a statement.

Do you feel the elections were rigged and what do you see the final outcome being?

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Furqaan Sadiq June 20, 2009 | 9:55 p.m.

I would like to excerpt Robert Fisk's comments from his most recent article in the Independent. He's a veteran correspondent in the middle east and has written extensively on middle eastern affairs. The rest of the article can be read here:

In the aftermath of the Ahmadinejad "success" at the polls, his supporters were handing out leaflets condemning the secular revolutions of Eastern Europe, and their content says much about the anxieties of Iran's clerical leadership. One of them was entitled: "The system of trying to topple an Islamic Republic in a 'velvet revolution'." It then described how it believes Poland, Czechoslovakia, Ukraine and other nations won their freedom.

'Velvet' or 'colourful' revolutions... are methods of exchanging power for social unrest. Colourful and 'velvet' revolutions occurred in post-communist societies of central and Eastern Europe and central Asia. Colourful revolutions have always been initiated during an election and its methods are as follows:

1. Complete despair in the attitude of people when they are certain to lose an election...

2. Choosing one particular colour which is selected solely for the Western media to identify (for their readers or viewers)." Mousavi used green as his campaign colour and his supporters still wear this colour on wristbands, scarves and bandannas.

3) Announcing that there has been advance cheating before an election and repeating it non-stop afterwards... allowing exaggeration by the Western media, especially in the US.

4) Writing letters to officials in the government, claiming vote-rigging in the election. It's interesting to note that in all such 'colourful' projects – for example, in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan – the Western-backed movements have warned of fraud before elections by writing to the incumbent governments. In Islamic Iran, these letters had already been written to the Supreme Leader."

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro June 20, 2009 | 11:14 p.m.

I'll venture to guess that the checks and balances in Iran pale when compared to the accuracy of Boone County Clerk Wendy S. Noren.
Whatever the error factor is in Iran, the outpouring of hundreds of thousands of anti-Ahmadinejad Iranians, sans the millions who supposedly voted for him, seems a little odd.
I for one have had enough of this anti-Israel/anti-America dictator.
Hopefully, the clerics will get him out of Iran, ASAP.
(It is very poignant to see young people and women marching with older men in Iran during this political upheaval.)
I will pray for them all as they risk their lives to shape the future of their country.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking June 21, 2009 | 7:21 a.m.

Ray wrote:

"Whatever the error factor is in Iran, the outpouring of hundreds of thousands of anti-Ahmadinejad Iranians, sans the millions who supposedly voted for him, seems a little odd."

I'd imagine the people that voted for Ahmedinejad have no reason to demonstrate.

A good bit of the world is tired of him and his inflammatory rhetoric. But remember that anti-Israeli feeling is common in much of the Islamic Middle East, not just among their leaders.


(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro June 21, 2009 | 9:13 a.m.

@Mark Foecking:
I was hoping that there just might be enough moderate peace loving Muslims in Iran and maybe, just possibly a few enlightened Muslims sprinkled throughout the Middle East.
Time will tell....
Do you feel the elections were rigged and what do you see the final outcome being?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking June 21, 2009 | 3:36 p.m.

Rigged elections are certainly a possibility, but I don't know what we can do about that from here.

I see a final outcome that Iran will remain more of a radical state than moderate, and they will continue their nuclear work. Moussavi may be less obnoxious than Ahmedinejad, but he still is no friend of Israel. I also think that Israel will attack Iran and when that happens, you'll wish you rode a bicycle more often.

Hopefully not. As you say, time will tell.


(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro June 21, 2009 | 3:59 p.m.

Thanks for answering the question.
I agree with everything you just posted, except if that oil/gas hardship should ever happen, I'd have to git me a horse and buggy.
I'm way too out of shape for pedal power and I'm also allergic to exercise and rain.
We're also way overdue on alternative mechanized vehicles for spoiled cripples like me.
Maybe this new President of ours will get on the stick...

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking June 21, 2009 | 5:12 p.m.

Ray wrote:

"I'm way too out of shape for pedal power and I'm also allergic to exercise and rain."

Out of shape is a reversible condition. Just get off the couch and DO IT!!!

You choose to be allergic to exercise. Yes, they are two four letter words sandwiched back to back, but once you get past that, you'll wonder how you ever did without it. Try.


(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr June 21, 2009 | 7:20 p.m.

Mark Foecking not everybody in this nation wants to go about their day or even part of it being all hot and sweaty. You really need to get over this total obsession you have with this.

It is almost as bad as when you told Rick he had to ride a bike instead of drive his car daily.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro June 21, 2009 | 8:54 p.m.

@Mark Foecking:
I really do know that you and Mayor Hindman mean well.
I also recall hearing about this book entitled, "My Two Mommies."
One, a long time ago, was more then enough.
(I swear to God, Pedneters are like Pod People. I'm actually afraid to fall asleep and wake up craving handlebars.)

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr June 22, 2009 | 4:56 a.m.

(I swear to God, Pedneters are like Pod People. I'm actually afraid to fall asleep and wake up craving handlebars.)

PodNutz? Say it isn't so ray. lol

(Report Comment)

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