Fraud suspected in Iranian election
Mar 8, 2012 | Sharyn Mittelman
Following yesterday’s blog post on the outcomes of the Iranian Parliamentary election, there is further speculation that the Iranian government’s claim of an election turnout of 65% is not accurate.
As Max Fisher writes in The Atlantic:
“Ahmadinejad called on Iranians to vote in order to ‘smack the face’ of foreign ‘enemies,’ an unintended admission that Iran’s autocratic backsliding is an embarrassment to the country and a sign of the regime’s weakness. Wouldn’t you know it, state media is report 65% turnout, almost exactly the number that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei stated as his official goal. Meanwhile, an anonymous source in Tehran told PBS, and the BBC also found, that polling stations were deserted. So are the streets: unlike in 2009, the regime seems to have successfully deterred or prevented mass protests, most likely by a combination of imprisoning and intimidating activists and preemptively deploying security forces.”
Also, check out the “bravest, craziest, most ironic vote in Iran’s election” – a young Iranian man who wore a T-shirt that stated “God Bless America” to a polling station.
Fisher writes in another article in The Atlantic that the result of the election was not simply that President Ahmadinejad was defeated and sidelined by forces close to Supreme Leader Khamenei, but the entire “Iranian system now seems to be changing again” in an even more authoritarian direction. He says that Iran has a “half-thought-out combination of democracy and theocracy”, and as the regime feels pressured it has sought to limit its ‘democratic’ institutions:
“As increasingly crippling sanctions and the threat of an Israeli or U.S. military strike lead the Iranian regime to dig in, Tehran’s leaders appear more paranoid, more entrenched, and less willing to tolerate dissent than ever. This means locking up dissidents, bloggers, and activists, but it also means winding down Iran’s more democratic elements and unifying the government into something that more closely resembles a dictatorship. And it’s not just Ahmadinejad who’s being shut out (few analysts believe he will survive in the government beyond 2013, when his current term ends, if he even makes it that long). The entire office of the Iranian presidency could be scrapped.”
To read the full article click here.