Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 13, 2009

A 'Coup' in Iran? We Don't Know.

The news-situation is not yet clear and it is difficult for now to assert what the real results of the Iranian election are. All sides agree that the turnout was pretty high.

The official results claim Amadinejad has 65% of the votes while, immediately after the voting closed, Mousavi's side claimed 54% for itself. Obviously that does not add up and "western" sources suggest fraud by Ahmadinejad. I am not so sure. The numerical difference seems too high for simple fraud.

In the last election Ahmadinejad also won with some 60+% against the very rich and corrupt Rafsanshani but the turnout then was low and Mousavi is perceived to not be corrupt. But two days ago Rafsanshani wrote an open letter against Ahmadinejad and that may well have been bad for Mousavi.

We should not forget that the elections in Iran are pretty much class based with the poor, rural and conservative on Ahmadinejad's side and the middle class, more liberal, affluent city folks - in population numbers still a minority - on the 'reformer' side. While the big demonstrations for Mousavi during the campaign were emphasized in the "western" media, the even bigger demonstrations for Ahmadinejad were less reported on. Some news excerpts:


At a press conference on Friday night, even before the close of polls on Friday, Mousavi declared himself "definitely the winner" based on "all indications from all over Iran." The statement was contradicted at that time by preliminary data of the state election commission.

Mousavi accused the Islamic ruling establishment of "manipulating the people's vote" to keep Ahmadinejad in power and suggested the reformist camp would stand up to challenge the results. "It is our duty to defend people's votes. There is no turning back," Mousavi said, alleging widespread irregularities.

Neither the report in the IRNA news agency nor the competing announcement by Mousavi at a news conference gave details on what their claims were based on.

Al Jazeera:

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's incumbent president, has taken a commanding lead in his bid for re-election with more than two-thirds of ballot boxes counted, Iran's interior ministry has said.

Ahmadinejad is currently ahead with 65.2 per cent of the 28 million ballots counted against 31 per cent for Mir Hossein Mousavi, his main rival, according to results released early on Saturday.

IRNA, Iran's official news agency, announced that Ahmadinejad had won re-election.
Al Jazeera's Nabili said that journalists following the elections have expressed surprise at the speed of vote counting.

"It does seem remarkably quick," he said. "But the explanation they are giving is that the counting has been going on throughout the day. They kept a running tally."

Latest reports show that 80 per cent of Iran's electorate voted in Friday's elections.

Counting throughout the day? That is unusual for any election I am aware of.

Western sources assert fraud:

Trita Parsi, President of national Iranian American council:

"I'm in disbelief that this could be the case. It's one thing if Ahmadinejad had won the first round with 51 or 55 per cent. But this number ... just sounds tremendously strange in a way that doesn't add up ... It is difficult to feel comfortable that this occurred without any cheating.


Shibley Telhami, professor at the university of Maryland

"The most important element in this election is in domestic politics. People may interpret it as a rejection of international pressure, but I don't think that is correct."

Laura Rozen reports:

Leading Iranian opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi was due to give a press conference at 10am Tehran time (8 1/2 hours ahead of EST), a Washington-based Iran hand tells The Cable. Two hours earlier, final vote counts (according to state counters) are expected to be announced.

"If [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei comes and endorses the results prior to 10am, then a Mousavi protest will be more than a confrontation, but war," the Iran hand says.

Meantime, an international human rights group says that it has received unconfirmed reports that Mousavi may have been taken into custody by Iranian intelligence officials.

"We were told by very reliable sources that Mousavi was detained on his way to meet the Supreme Leader by members of the intelligence ministry and taken to a safe house to prevent him from making any public announcement," Hadi Ghaemi, of the Hague-based NGO, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, told The Cable.

There are reasons not to trust the "western" financed Ghaemi:

(A source who just spoke to someone who went to the Mousavi headquarters said the person disputed that Mousavi was detained. The situation is not clear.)
Ghaemi said opposition forces believe there was massive fraud in the vote count but cannot figure out or yet prove where it occurred, perhaps in the computer system pre-planned in advance. He said that they are frightened.

Iran hands have used words like "coup" to describe what they believe may be taking place.

Press TV:

Partial results show that Iran's incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is close to winning the elections in a landslide victory, gaining 64.31 percent of the votes.

His campaign manager Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi has already claimed victory.

According to reports from the Election Commission Headquarters, the latest statistics announced by the Iranian electoral officials show 36 million (94 %) of the ballots have been counted so far.

It is expected that vote counting will finish in two hours, our correspondent added.

Former prime minister, Mir Hossein Mousavi, who had earlier claimed victory with 54 percent of the votes, has so far gained 32.57 percent of the votes that were counted up to 8:30 a.m. local time (0400 GMT).
Mousavi complained of irregularities in the election, including a shortage of ballot papers and attacks on his campaign offices.

The official news agency IRNA website is not reachable. The Iranian Labor News Agency ILNA seems to be down too. Not sure what to make of this. AP:

Nationwide, the text messaging system remained down Saturday and pro-Mousavi Web sites were blocked or difficult to access. Text messaging is frequently used by many Iranians — especially young Mousavi supporters — to spread election news.

In Tehran's streets Saturday morning, Iranians heading to work gathered around newspaper stands to read the headlines, which did not specifically declare a victor — or carry word of Mousavi's claims.

Mousavi's paper, Kalemeh Sabz, or the Green Word, and other reformist dailies were ordered to change their headlines originally declaring Mousavi the victor, according to editors at the papers, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. The papers had blank spots where articles were removed.

A tidbit from AFP on expat voters:

Ali, a 25-year-old Iranian studying in California, revealed he had voted for Ahmadinejad, saying his options amounted to a choice between "bad or worse."

"I chose the bad," he said.

What do you think about this?

Posted by b on June 13, 2009 at 6:27 UTC | Permalink


most underreported fact of the year: Ahmadinejad introduced free health care for 22 million people


me, personally, I do not believe in middle class revolutions, not in this century.

the western press basically has been partisan to a large extent - not doing their jobs.

the Iranians know how a successful revolution is done, if they really want it, they will do it (and get real change - not change they have to believe in - sorry I had to get this in :-))).

another thought: as the religious leader trying to stay in power, needing a safety valve for a people who know how to do a successful revolution - would I allow an election to be rigged between candidates I had the chance to vet carefully beforehand and who have been given ample space to fight it out in public?

all the accusations about Ahmadinejad's mismanaging the economy e.g. inflation basically come down to him actually handing out cash to people.

of course Ahmadinejad's style is offensive. it seems to work for him.

Posted by: outsider | Jun 13 2009 7:05 utc | 1

IRNA claims that Ahmadinejad got 65.24 percent of the votes (GMT: 6/13/2009 3:15:30 AM, timestamp).
IRNA loaded fine from here throughout the day, JST, btw.

The 'western' expectations & analysis were always misplaced. Suffice to read J. Cole and his 'Obama effect'. That said, the numbers for Ahmadinejad seem quite high.

Posted by: Philippe | Jun 13 2009 7:15 utc | 2

actually Wikipedia is better than the press

Posted by: outsider | Jun 13 2009 7:54 utc | 3

I consider the results as possible and likely, though of course there probably were instances of rigging by enthusiastic supporters one way or the other. For example this populist former minister of Nuclear Energy used to be able to get similar results in the then religious conservative free state of Bavaria

the green color videos shown in the blogosphere had a touch of "why don't you eat cake" disdain. I cannnot imagine this going down well in any country.

Posted by: outsider | Jun 13 2009 8:08 utc | 4

Posted by: outsider | Jun 13 2009 11:38 utc | 5

Thanks outsider, that piece is indeed spot on:

As far as international media coverage is concerned, it seems that wishful thinking got the better of credible reporting.
In the future, observers would do us a favour by taking a deeper look into Iranian society, giving us a more accurate picture of the very organic religious structures of the country, and dispensing with the narrative of liberal inevitability. It is the religious aspects of enigmatic Persia that helped put an 80-year-old exiled ascetic at the head of state 30 years ago, then the charismatic cleric Khatami in office 12 years ago, the honest son of a blacksmith – Ahmedinejad – four years ago, and the same yesterday.

Posted by: b | Jun 13 2009 12:10 utc | 6

Maybe my memory isn't what it used to be, but I do remember complaints from clerics and other conservatives at the time Ahmadinejad was first elected that he wasn't religious enough, that he was almost secular. If that's correct, it may account for his appeal to the liberal middle class as well. Of course, the Western press would ignore that, wanting to make him some kind of Muslim wacko.

Posted by: ensley | Jun 13 2009 13:33 utc | 7

The more I think about it (why did I not do that beforehand?) the more does the result makes sense.

While in west seen as "conservative" Ahmadinejad is no such thing.

His distribution policies are straight social-democratic -in that he is on the left. His support is thereby with the poor and worker people. Still living on modest means himself, he is their hero. At the same time he is the one who actually challenged the ruling mullah class when he attacked Rafsanjani. His frequent visits in the provinces will have helped too. He is pious and not afraid to show that.

Mousani is the economic conservative guy, mainly caring for the rich and bazaaris. Being supported by Rafsanjani, the richest crook in Iran overall, obviously showed that.

In a land with a relatively small middle class it is therefore not astonishing to see Ahmadinejad win.

Wonder what Parviz (top middleclass) thinks about this.

Posted by: b | Jun 13 2009 14:50 utc | 8

Rafsanjani strikes me as corrupt and unpopular, but also too powerful for there to be a fully rigged election against a close ally of his by an opponent of his.

The fast vote-counting does strike me as suspicious, but I can't put together a who and how for committing an act of fraud on this scale against some of the most powerful figures in Iranian society.

Ahmadinejad really was a populist leader and probably was rewarded for that. During the debate he told Mousavi that when he had been president, he only visited 3 or 4 provinces, but Ahmadinejad has been to every province in the country.

And then to have to courage to call Rafsanjani and the other older clerics corrupt on national television during a debate may well have been impressive.

To the degree Ahmadinejad got Mousavi to defend Rafsanjani Ahmadinejad may have turned the election into another referendum on the corruption of the old-guard clerics, which is notorious in Iran, to his benefit.

My guess is foreign policy played almost no role in this election beyond that the general feeling in Iran is that there is not a serious foreign threat from the Americans.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Jun 13 2009 14:56 utc | 9

b, you'd slobber affections on anybody who appears to pose an imagined threat to "empire."

The Guardian Council, run by Ali Khamenei, is wholly the unaccountable political authority in Iran. Who cares which puppet wins?

Also,>Counterpunch!, babe.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 13 2009 15:23 utc | 10

b, you'd slobber affections on anybody who appears to pose an imagined threat to "empire."

The Guardian Council, run by Ali Khamenei, is wholly the unaccountable political authority in Iran. Who cares which puppet wins?

Also,>Counterpunch!, babe.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 13 2009 15:23 utc | 11

According to the BBC, there were considerable clashes in Tehran today.

I suspect we are not looking at a revolution but there is serious anger.

says Simpson, a fine journalist, on the ground.

I don't think it is so simple as saying: "Oh well, we just didn't understand how popular Ahmadinejad is in Iran". The opposition don't seem to have expected this kind of runaway win either.

Posted by: Alex_no | Jun 13 2009 16:21 utc | 12

Pat Lang:

Ahmadinajad's win is bad news unless you are looking forward to the day when the US goes to war with Iran. Israeli propaganda will continue to program the American public in preparation for that day. They have been doing very well in this effort so far. The media outlets and media friends are busy every day inculcating the idea that Iran is a deadly threat and must be "stopped." The effort to discredit US intelligence is also progressing nicely. The goal there is to gain general acceptance in the US of the notion that Israeli intelligence is better, smarter, more effective than US intelligence and therefore the Israeli estimate of the Iranian "menace" should govern decisions.

If nothing interrupts the progress of this "informational" campaign the US will attack Iran at some not too far distant time, not tomorrow, not next week, maybe not net month, but, soon. The "end of the year" now takes on greater meaning.

Posted by: b | Jun 13 2009 17:08 utc | 13

The US presidential election of 2004, re-done Iranian style, I suspect, with Ahmedinejad reprising the role played by George W. Bush then.

There are some specious things, but I wouldn't doubt very substantial electoral support base for Ahmedinejad this time around. Unlikely that Ahmedinejad won on the account of a fraud, even though I don't really think he won by this much of a landslide.

Those of us outside Iran obviously don't understand the dynamics of domestic Iranian politics enough: just that we don't understand what happened does not mean that we are right and the reality must be wrong, somehow--a common delusion held by a lot of Western do-gooders.

Posted by: kao-hsien-chih | Jun 13 2009 17:11 utc | 14

If nothing interrupts the progress of this "informational" campaign the US will attack Iran at some not too far distant time, not tomorrow, not next week, maybe not net month, but, soon.

I did wonder whether Israel and/or US did not have a hidden hand in the election result, given how well it suits the warmongers, but then hesitated as I couldn't see how it could be done.

Posted by: Alex_no | Jun 13 2009 18:11 utc | 15

Thanks for that link, slothrop. You have to love those who define themselves as Liberals and/or Progressives. Because Mousavi is painted as a Liberal Reformer, Liberals/Progressives in the West should throw their support behind him, and now we see he's just abother scumbag.....but he's their scumbag, so that makes it all good.

Posted by: Obamageddon | Jun 13 2009 18:14 utc | 16

Mousavi has been under house arrest based on some reports. Anyway check this out:

Faulty Election Data

Posted by: Anthony | Jun 13 2009 18:29 utc | 17

@Anthony @17 -

Tehran Bureau is a western organistaion run by Iranian expats with -who knows- money.

That graph does not say much - when, where were those numbers published. The official news varied quite a bit around the numbers.

Posted by: b | Jun 13 2009 18:41 utc | 18

on the strength of reformists,_2008

looks like a rerun from last year

Posted by: outsider | Jun 13 2009 18:51 utc | 19

@ b, how about this:

Posted by: Anthony | Jun 13 2009 19:14 utc | 20

@ b, how about this:

Juan Cole has too much of an agenda on these things--of a liberal Western academic. I've found his analyses of ME elections a bit dubious and overly sanctimonious in the past. I don't have any reason to believe that he has much better idea what drove Iranian electoral results than did Western European liberal intellectuals about the US presidential election of 2004.

I'm not saying there is nothing dubious about the news coming out of Iran. There is, however, there is no smoking gun that indicates electoral fraud on substantive scale took place. That Ahmedinejad won and we don't like him much is NOT evidence of electoral fraud, however much we might wish it were true.

Posted by: kao-hsien-chih | Jun 13 2009 19:32 utc | 21

Well, you have your skepticism, but Cole has his facts.

Whatever. But as every barfly here knows, Juan Cole is a CIA spy whose website is no more than a propaganda shop for neocon psy-ops.

And he never publishes in Counterpunch! That's a red flag, right there.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 13 2009 20:45 utc | 22

@21. I don't think it is useful to slag off Juan Cole as a liberal academic. He put a case for fraud, and it should be evaluated for the arguments.

The point I was thinking about is why Khamenaei moved so strongly in favour of Ahmedinejad. If Ahmedinejad was going to win by so much, no intervention was necessary. Yet we've heard of blocking western websites, shutting down texting, and in particular the immediate announcement of victory, when the law requires 3 days delay. Sounds like Khamenaei panicked when it seemed possible that Mousavi could win.

Why should it matter to Kh. whether Ahmedinejad won or not? The president has limited power. Mousavi could have been emasculated as Khatami was. An emasculated reformist has the advantage of fending off Western aggression, while not changing real Iranian policy. Ahmedinejad in place once again runs a real risk of an Israeli-US attack, which I would have thought Khamenaei would want to avoid.

So what were the arguments that weighed so heavily in favour of Ahmedinejad?

Cole says a bad personal relationship between Mousavi and Khamenaei. It's a possibility I could believe in, though no doubt it's not all. Personal predilections do play a big role in political decisions; the Iraq invasion is a good example. It would be interesting to know Khamenaei's thinking.

Curious that we haven't heard yet from Parviz, though no doubt he will weigh in soon. An internet blocking?

Posted by: Alex_no | Jun 13 2009 20:48 utc | 23

This report of a nationally representative poll, cited by Babbak Makkinejad in the comments section of Sic Semper Tyrannis does not support Cole's case for fraud. It shows a 2 to 1 ratio of Ahmedinejad to Moussavi voters, and that this ratio is the same in Azeri regions as in Farsi regions. Cole argues that Azeri regions would surely have favoured Moussavi on the basis of ethnicity.

Posted by: pmr9 | Jun 13 2009 21:58 utc | 24

cole's facts are themselves selective. his so called expertise has often been found to be very far from the facts

& yes the empire that sells its narratives so that the liberal intelligentsia want their dreams to become reality will find the election result not to their liking

i've no brief for ahmedinejad but i have no reason to doubt the 'authenticity' of the elections. if you wanted to go down to the wire on this one - electoral fraud has been a part & parcel of the western electoral process whether it is by disenfranchisement or through destroying the community level of politics of the people

that is why the electoral wins in latin america disturb the west so much - because that branch level/local politics has been completely anhilated in the western world - that is all done for them by the corrupted commentariat who know nothing about anything other than their baser needs

& slothrop - you should be ashamed of yourself - what no class analysis - you just repeat the boohooing of the bores who imagine themselves makers & shakers of this world gone wrong

ahmedinijad bringing up openly in his speeches the corruption of rafsanjani was itself a pure expression of class politics - the all visiting ahmedinijad has been politicking for the last four years not just the last couple of months

i await with impatience parviz's comments on the electoral process

& alex no, john simpson - far from being a 'journalist' is a whore who happens to be a fool - a sort of col blimp - after all he is the man who liberated afghanistan all by himself. his commentary is so full of self interest i wouldn't believe a word he said even if it was happening before my eyes

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 13 2009 22:01 utc | 25

oh those senior officials ...

by the way, this is a bit much by a nation that has been proven to be unable to count.

Posted by: outsider | Jun 13 2009 22:02 utc | 26

Outsider, I was looking for links to articles on Ahmadinjad's healthcare program that you mentioned in your first post. Cldn't find any on, admittedly, rather cursory google search. Do you have a link/links? Thnx.

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 13 2009 22:09 utc | 27

her ya go jawbone

"... Ahmadinejad has turned the Iranian economy upside down, making sure that advantages flow to the lower class. His government has increased state wages and pensions and has made health insurance free for 22 million people. He derides economists who blame him for high inflation and unemployment, saying that they are tied to the higher classes and that his goal is to "spread justice."

Posted by: crone | Jun 13 2009 22:23 utc | 28

& if indeed the iranian people have made another choice then i have faith in them to change the situation as they have done against the shah. they are young & robust - they are not victims as the western press would like to sell

for a marxist, slothrop - you seem to possess no faith at all in the historical processus & the organic nature of that processus & the necessities which operates as mechanisms within that

social democrats in europe have long betrayed that process in every way imaginable - not only have they betrayed socialism but they have betrayed the people & then they are surprised that they are defeated all over the place

the right has had it all its way since thatcher reagan & they have operated on such vengeful lines that they absorbed the majority of social democrats in that vengeance - its pinnacle obviously blair - loyal vassal of empire, introducer of anti social orders & the attempted anhilation of the underclass. wander around sheffield or manchester to see the social democrats netrayal of their people

until the left is capable of defending the working class, the growing underclass & the declining middle class- their fate will be muck like moussavi

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 13 2009 22:30 utc | 29

Although talk of an "orange" revolution is not the best analogy for the Iranian elections the bazaari clique around Rafsanjani have been dealt a blow to their own ambitions of grabbing power in the guise of some liberal reformist fluff. The stark division along class, urban and rural divides paints a picture of the Iranian electorate that is reflected in the election results - an election that was as much about the Republican and Islamic nature of Iran as it was about the corruption, inflation and bread/butter issues. The reformist were unable to win b/c they could not come up with a platform to resolve the popular desire for economic justice and a commitment to the Islamic nature of the Iranian Republic. The stench of corruption and by extension immorality was a thick fog hanging around their necks - they could not wash and absolve themselves of that stench with their liberal mouthwash and their personal attacks of the Iranian President. Much like the Iranian Left of the 1960s and 70s the reformists have no ammo with which to disarm the Islamists and for that they are on their backs.

The west and its desires remain irrelevant to the electoral outcome and the elections are a great window into the internal politics of the Islamic Republic and the factions that are vying to chart the future course. I think the election discards the prospects that the next Iranian administration would (so hopes the West) opt for a "begging bowl diplomacy" to its current drive to assert reconciliation and recognition of its regional status on its own terms.

Iran Bitter Political Struggle

"Ahmadinejad has powerful enemies and detractors not only in Iran but across the global community. But there is only one set of opinion that really matters in this debate, and that is the collective assessment of Islamic Republic supporters and sympathizers. "

"The problem is not that the divisions in the Islamic Republic are now too deep (they have been deep from day one), the real point is that these divisions (in all its embarrassing detail) is now fully public. Ahmadinejad broke any remaining taboo by accusing the grandees of the establishment, in particular Rafsanjani and former Majlis speaker Nategh Nouri, of widespread corruption on live television. "

"The fights at the top hint at more ferocious jockeying for power and position at lower levels. The current institutional order - especially the watchdog and oversight mechanisms employed to control politics as exemplified by the Council of Guardians - will not be able to handle the tensions and political conflicts that lie ahead. The only viable solution is to go beyond factional politics and encourage the establishment of genuine political parties in Iran. This in turn requires the broadening and deepening of the country's democratic spaces."

"The Islamic Republic - despite all its contradictions, weaknesses and petty authoritarianism - can sincerely claim to be a democracy of sorts. The outcome of this presidential election, more than any other, will have a significant impact on the everyday life of ordinary Iranians. "

... and so a majority of Iranians voted for the man who cares for the poor and catches thieves.

Posted by: BenIAM | Jun 13 2009 22:34 utc | 30

Try to link the post at Asia times again ....

Iran Bitter Political Stuggle

Posted by: BenIAM | Jun 13 2009 22:38 utc | 31

Please guys. There is geniune anger in the streets of Iran. Tehran, Rasht, Shiraz, Esfahan, Babol, Karaj etc etc.. people are out! See the youtube videos all over the place for proof.

I think Juan Cole has a point.

Posted by: Anthony | Jun 13 2009 22:56 utc | 32

listen, Anthony, have you ever been in a football crowd? or been in Berlin during a first of May demonstration? or been in a place where there was a Nato meeting, or a globalization protest?

Posted by: outsider | Jun 13 2009 23:09 utc | 33

listen, Anthony, have you ever been in a football crowd? or been in Berlin during a first of May demonstration? or been in a place where there was a Nato meeting, or a globalization protest?

Posted by: outsider | Jun 13 2009 23:09 utc | 34

An indispensable book is Keddie's "Moden Iran." There is a very impressive and sophisticated legacy of leftist politics in Iran: the Tudeh Party, and many writers among them Borzog Alavi, who is known outside Iran, but many influential thinkers and activists who are not known outside iran.

I rather doubt b's hero ahmedinejad has any contact with this history.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 13 2009 23:13 utc | 35

My dear friend, as it seems, in Iran there was a 'Coup' Planned that said Ahmadi Nejad must stay.

I'm from Tehran... Today, Tehran was under bloods and 3 were killed in Vali Asr St. Please shout this to all around the world: "Iran is now under a COUP!"

None of statistics are not real, for example, on 4:00 am Mohsen Rezaei had about 600,000 votes, but on 5:00 am he had about 570,000 votes!

Everybody knows that Mir Hossein Mousavi was the winner, but the government made unreal statistics...

Now in Iran the SMS system is inactive from June 12th, also the websites owned Mousavi's fans are totally filtered, the speed of internet is too low and SEPAAH (A security government) is in ready state. Also, TV showed nothing about clashes in Tehran, Tabriz, Yazd, Ahvaz, Isfahan, Mashhad, Sari and ...

Here the situation is AWFUL...

Posted by: Hamid | Jun 13 2009 23:27 utc | 36

Sorry, my last comment was grammatically wrong

My dear friend, as it seems, in Iran there was a 'Coup' Planned that said Ahmadi Nejad must stay.

I'm from Tehran... Today, Tehran was under bloods and 3 were killed in Vali Asr St. Please shout this to all around the world: "Iran is now under a COUP!"

None of statistics are real. For example, on 4:00 am Mohsen Rezaei had about 600,000 votes, but on 5:00 am he had about 570,000 votes!

Everybody knows that Mir Hossein Mousavi was the winner, but the government made unreal statistics...

Now in Iran the SMS system is inactive from June 12th, also the websites owned Mousavi's fans are totally filtered, from non-Official news, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Behzad Nabavi and some other politic men are captured, the speed of internet is too low and SEPAAH (A security government) is in ready state. Also, TV showed nothing about clashes in Tehran, Tabriz, Yazd, Ahvaz, Isfahan, Mashhad, Sari and ...

Here the situation is AWFUL...

Posted by: Hamid | Jun 13 2009 23:31 utc | 37

@17 and 18: Tehran bureau asserts that the fit of the cumulative results to a straight line is too close to be the result of real voting. They calculate the R-squared value to be 0.995 (a value of 1 indicates a perfect straight line). A simulation, using roughly the vote totals given in their table, shows that this is by no means an improbably close fit to a straight line: with a simple binomial model for the voting totals, the R-squared value is typically something like 0.999999: even closer to 1 than the reported value. So whatever we think of the electoral process, there's no evidence of fraud in these figures.
Here's the R script if anyone wants to run the simulation.
## cumulative totals of votes cast
n <- c(1e7,1.5e7,2e7,2.4e7,2.5e7,2.7e7)
## votes in each batch
new.n <- c(n[1], n[-1] - n[-6])
## ahmedinejad and moussavi share of vote in each batch as binomial variate with prob 0.65
ahm <- rbinom(6, new.n, 0.65)
mou <- new.n - ahm
## cumulative totals of each vote
ahm <- cumsum(ahm)
mou <- cumsum(mou)
## calculate r-squared
reg <- summary(glm(mou ~ ahm, family="gaussian"))
rsquared <- 1 - reg$deviance / reg$null.deviance
print(rsquared, digits=9)

Posted by: pmr9 | Jun 13 2009 23:31 utc | 38

A lot of this has already been commented on, but FWIW here's my "The 'theft' of the Iranian election"

Posted by: Tosk59 | Jun 13 2009 23:36 utc | 39

pmro, the "statistical" proof of fraud has been debunked by Nate Silver, see

Posted by: Tosk59 | Jun 13 2009 23:38 utc | 40

thought this part interesting:

There are no independent election monitors in Iran. Mousavi's claims, however, point to some noticeable breaks with past election counting.

The tallies from previous elections - time-consuming paper ballots - began to trickle in hours after polls closed. This time, huge chunks of results - millions at a time - poured in almost immediately from a huge turnout of about 85 percent of Iran's 46.2 million voters.

Time-consuming paper ballots, oh the humanity.

Posted by: plushtown | Jun 13 2009 23:52 utc | 41

these anonymous administration officials are really amusing, don't you think?

now, what were they preaching in the mosques on Friday? does anybody of you Watsons know?

and I suppose this must be true because he says so)

Posted by: outsider | Jun 13 2009 23:57 utc | 42


you seem surprised that these 'savages' possess an "very impressive and sophisticated legacy of leftist politics", any fool could have told you that but on the ground they lost & they lost fatally when the shah fell - at the crucial moment they were weak - the liquidation of the left in iran was telling for the decades to come - really right up to the point of its victories in latin america. in europe at that time there were many exiles i knew who were about to return but never did & are still here mostly in italy & france

whatever ahmedinijad is - he is not a fool - & even a panicked elite would not risk the revolutionary impulse that clearly still informs that country - a fraudelant election would be a risk that i do not think they would be prepared to take

the clowns in the commentariat simply thought their wishful thinking was a reality. it wasn't & the nate silver analysis is a clear demolition of the inferences of mr cole

trust the people for once, dear slothrop

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 14 2009 0:02 utc | 43

To properly analyze Iran's election results is probably something best left to Middle East experts, rather than experts on U.S. electoral politics. Juan Cole, for instance, who certainty does know a thing or two about foreign policy, sees plenty of things that smell fishy to him.
-Nate Silver

Oh my. What a way to weave a narrative, giap

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 14 2009 0:10 utc | 44

Now, I don't trust anyone's claims just yet, especially those who claim "the people" of Iran are upset or whatever.

In nearly every regime, there are always enough "people" on all sides--even angry and agitated people. Given the perverse incentives on the part of everyone--including those in the Iranian regime as well as its enemies abroad, among whom belongs many liberal western academics--I wouldn't rush to condemn the election or lionize it as the "voice of the Iranian people" just yet.

While I do think Ahmedinejad could have actually won the election, I have my doubts: from everything I heard, the magnitude of the alleged landslide makes no sense. Could it be that the doctoring, if there were any, was to ensure an appearance of a landside? This would be ironic, because one of the predictions was that, unless it's a landslide, people will not accept the outcome as legitimate. It turns out that, even a landslide doesn't work, because people knew that the race would be tight.

Posted by: kao_hsien_chih | Jun 14 2009 0:22 utc | 45

oh well ... whatever you can do I can do better ...

"Ahmadinejad announced that there will be a "victory party" on Sunday at a central square that Mousavi supporters used in recent weeks to stage their election rallies. "We are hopeful", the President said during his speech. "Now it's time to move on and continue to build our great Iran."

Posted by: outsider | Jun 14 2009 0:33 utc | 46

in this moment slothrop people are largely using so called statistical evidence to deny ahmedinejad - nate silver largely disproves that. cole's commentary is not a lighthouse for me & never was

i start from a very simple position the western media lie & they lie with great consistency - why should i believe them on this. i don't

but i do trust the people & they will decide. if not today, tommorrow

the people have shown that in latiin america that they are not forever doomed to be victims

if this was rigged - the people will decide - no matter how much force is used & frankly i would be really surprised if the force being used by the state continues. if it does - then i am prepared to be more open to your position

but as khc suggestion is the most astute - history will reveal itself - quite quickly

but if you want to witness real hysteria visit dkos - it is delirious - their bated waiting for superobama to come & fix the situation. i'm convinced they don't know the difference between iran & ivan

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 14 2009 0:36 utc | 47

This article discussing the defeat of the Reformists in the 2005 elections might as well be about the 2009 one ....

How the Reformists Lost the Presidency

“The recent election was indeed an indication that the ideological factions of the regime still enjoy popular support and they still pose a viable political alternative in an electoral process. By electing Ahmadi-Nejad, the electorate showed that they rather live in a society in which redistribution rather than accumulation of wealth defines the greatest Islamic virtue. The president-elect and his allies need to know that the commodities of the western culture industry do not mesmerize all Iranians, and indeed many respect and value their religious and cultural particularities. The result of this election shows that even with an open and democratic election, this faction will not disappear from Iranian political landscape. The freer the electoral process in Iran, the stronger the legitimacy of its institutions.”

... and as for the chest beating that is going on regarding the "suspiciously" low 32% support for the Reformists ...

"The most well-known candidate, Hashemi Rafsanjani, declared his intention to run after assurances from other factions that they would not engage in a smear campaign for alleged of corruption and nepotism during his previous tenure as the president. Hashemi, as his campaign managers reinvented him, revitalized large groups of youth, men and women, and mobilized them through what they called "club Hashemi." The "club" organized dance parties and parades with banners and face paint reminiscent of British soccer fans. Women appeared without hijab on the streets under the auspices of Hashemi campaign. Hashemi blurred the boundaries between northern Tehran and Westwood, as the appearance of his supporters became indistinguishable from the fashion-struck Iranians of Los Angeles. Women's make up and face paint could not cover his past wrongs, and he lost his bid in the run-off with a humiliating 35% of the vote."

So if 2009 is a repeat of 2005, with Ahmadi trouncing the Reformists again, why are the Reformists crying so loudly today? Mousavi seem's to be treading a thin line by not conceding defeat since the rules of the game are not up for negotiation. So what gives? Has the "club Hashemi" faction lost hope of regaining power and entrenching themselves?

Posted by: BenIAM | Jun 14 2009 0:58 utc | 48

and the huffington post and andrew sullivan and ...

people are extremely silly, the seem to have forgotten the whole Hillary and Barak primary saga just one year ago

the crew at pat lang thinks it is another attempt for a color revolution, and I have to admit the textbook seems to be the same, just Iran is very different from the Soviet Union

Posted by: outsider | Jun 14 2009 1:00 utc | 49

We can analyze the results statistically, with greater reliability if we have more fine grained data available--and if we can cross reference it with previous electoral results, for both 2008 legislative election and the previous presidential election. It still wouldn't "prove" vote rigging or not, but it will uncover seemingly "unnatural" results.

For the same reasons Nate Silver notes, the analysis of aggregated results don't qualify. We need a lot more work and even that won't be anywhere near conclusive. As far as I know, the detailed data isn't available yet--and probably won't be available officially for some time (even if Iran were working on the same pace as normal democracies). People like Cole are talking based on their hunches. Although, in case of people like Cole, these may be "informed" hunches, they are also heavily dipped in the commentators' own biases--because they are unconstrained by the force of the detailed facts. They are only slightly better than own on gut instincts, i.e. not worth trusting...yet.

Posted by: kao_hsien_chih | Jun 14 2009 1:06 utc | 50

@ 35...Nikki is great ... Tudah's role in the revolution and the making of the new Republic is interesting but if one reads it's history as that of the gradual irrelevance of the Left and the rise of political Islam in Iran - then it brings us to the present - which is what kind of political project and world view is being offered by the Reformists - neoliberalism in a green Hijab?

Ali Mirsepassi “The tragedy of the Iranian left” and Ervand Abrahamian “the Islamic left from radicalism to liberalism” in Reformers and Revolutionaries in Modern Iran by Stephanie Cronin are worth reading.

Posted by: BenIAM | Jun 14 2009 1:13 utc | 51

as beniam suggests ali mirsepassi's book ' intellectual discourse and the politics of modernization' is a useful book - i do not know the cronin book

kch - there is an economic statistician at lenin's tomb with some interesting stuff - for him i thin it is as it was - a class question

& it appears the nation endowment of democracy is all over this - in the commentaries - interestingly or not so interestingly - aljazeera is giving voice only to these hacks

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 14 2009 1:27 utc | 52

It seems b's notorious western press and audiences are under the impression the election meant change v. status quo, which is obviously just as invalid as the belief shared by domestic media and audiences that O represents "change."

Frank Luntz must be working for the mullahs.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 14 2009 2:42 utc | 53

Robert Fisk has a piece, mainly devoted to the strongarm police tactics, in todays Independent. This is an interesting excerpt:

" An interval here for lunch with a true and faithful friend of the Islamic Republic, a man I have known for many years who has risked his life and been imprisoned for Iran and who has never lied to me. We dined in an all-Iranian-food restaurant, along with his wife. He has often criticised the regime. A man unafraid. But I must repeat what he said. "The election figures are correct, Robert. Whatever you saw in Tehran, in the cities and in thousands of towns outside, they voted overwhelmingly for Ahmadinejad. Tabriz voted 80 per cent for Ahmadinejad. It was he who opened university courses there for the Azeri people to learn and win degrees in Azeri. In Mashad, the second city of Iran, there was a huge majority for Ahmadinejad after the imam of the great mosque attacked Rafsanjani of the Expediency Council who had started to ally himself with Mousavi. They knew what that meant: they had to vote for Ahmadinejad.""

There seems small doubt that this was a class vote. And, as is always the case, the only class most reporters notice is their own: they just don't seem to be able to get their heads around the idea that a street sweeper's vote is equal to a PhD's. Perhaps because, in the USA, it really isn't: the poor do not vote in their millions and an 85% turnout (on the basis of automatic registration) is unheard of.

It seems to me that the propagandists are trying to cram Iran into a Belarussian or Ukrainian shoe. There is the constant harping on 'ethnicity' as if, for example, Azeris vote for 'favorite sons' rather than on class bases. And then there is the One Party state model, which simply has no application in Iran. The stories are all written in advance, and they depend upon the crescendo of "He can do it" "His Wife is Charismatic" "Young people love him" "His rallies are massive" stories which are designed to make anything less than a landslide against Ahmedinejad look very suspicious.
To the casual, outside observer used to being guided by such luminaries as Tom Friedman, that is.

Of course there are worse things than ballot rigging: clinging onto power months after one's term has run out and refusing to call an election, for example. The State Department and everyone else are up in arms about Mr Abbas's coup aren't they?

Posted by: ellis | Jun 14 2009 2:56 utc | 54

The Mousavi effort was a western run western financed "colored revolution", "velvet revolution". The NED, Freedom House, Soros Open Society, all trying to run a soft coup which is, ipso facto, an election theft. The opposition got the jump on Mousavi and his westerns backers. You can rest assured that there will be no velvet revolution in Iran. Obama will have to fall back on paying Jundullah to blow up mosques

Posted by: Lin Wells | Jun 14 2009 5:51 utc | 55

On Juan Cole - just to mention it. He is (was?) a Bahái, a religion/cult banned in Iran. Also please remember that he was in favor of invading Iraq.

From the beginning of his blog in 2002, Cole has warned of the difficulties a U.S. invasion of Iraq would present, especially in its aftermath. At first he tried to dissociate himself from either pro-war or anti-war stances, stating that he had "mixed feelings" on the issue. (I.e., he opposed Saddam Hussein's regime, but feared disaster.) [37] While lecturing in early 2003 in a University of Michigan course focused on the impending conflict, Cole expressly stated that he thought the US should act to overthrow the Saddam Hussein regime, even though it might lead to unforeseen consequences.[38]

Posted by: b | Jun 14 2009 7:56 utc | 56

McClatchy is reporting Iranian riot police beating Mousavi supporters in the streets. Also it is reported that authorities have shut down text messaging and have silenced cell phone communication, and are tampering with Facebook.

Posted by: Copeland | Jun 14 2009 8:13 utc | 57

Ahmadi Nejad would probably defeat Mousavi in any country of the world. A fed-up people will always give "Mr Clean" a lot of votes. And whether he wins depends on how fed-up they are. USA had its own "Mr Clean" in Jimmy Carter.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jun 14 2009 8:56 utc | 58

b (8), what happened to your unimpeachable logic?

In a land with a relatively small middle class it is therefore not astonishing to see Ahmadinejad win.

Wonder what Parviz (top middleclass) thinks about this.

Oh, so could you kindly explain to the ignorant rest of us how the "relatively small middle class" defeated the hardliner Nategh-Noori in 1997 and other hardliners in 2001 in favour of a "liberal intellectual" reformist?

I'll tell you: 75 % of the population is under 35 years old, they HATE the 'Islamic' Reopublic and decided to come out in force in the expectation that their votes would be counted as in 1997 and 2001.

Posted by: Parviz | Jun 14 2009 10:10 utc | 59

Outsider (1), so you think Ahmadinejad introduced free healthcare to 22 million? This occurred during the Shah's time and still exists.

Ahmadinejad has the habit of taking credit for everything except for having destroyed the Iranian economy by placing it entirely into the hands of the Revolutionary Guards.

Posted by: Parviz | Jun 14 2009 10:17 utc | 60

The Shah gave nothing but torture.

He was a flunkey for the USA imperialist ruling class that hates social democracy.

Death to the enemies of human freedom throughout the universe.

Posted by: victor | Jun 14 2009 16:21 utc | 61

Parviz. Thanks for your views about this. What is your impression of Juan Cole's post today viz "not class, but culture"?

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 14 2009 16:29 utc | 62

Parviz @ 59:

I'll tell you: 75 % of the population is under 35 years old, they HATE the 'Islamic' Reopublic and decided to come out in force in the expectation that their votes would be counted as in 1997 and 2001.

It has been widely reported before the election that Ahmadinejad had strong support in the rural areas and the poorer sections of Tehran. Don't these areas also represent the same population distribution? Do those people share your hate?

Maybe you should ask yourself what the people got for electing a "liberal intellectual" like say conspiring with America to invade two Muslim countries. And don't forget the reward Bush gave them for this collaboration - official induction to the "axis of evil". And that was the campaign wasn't it? A new accord with America away from the confrontational style of Ahmadinejad, just like your posts predicting a new deal between Iran and America with Obama in power, despite the fact that America is threatening to bomb the shit out of your country.

On a side note it's rather unbelievable that no matter how much we threaten Muslims, abduct them, torture them, and kill them so many of them still want to be our friends. They even kill their own for us like in Palestine, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. I just read this little smippet from an Afgan news report from supporters of a cleric killed by the Taliban:

The protest carried a distinct anti-American flavor, with some demonstrators carrying placards claiming the Taliban are U.S. agents aiming to disrupt Pakistan — a claim that Naeemi had made.

The delusion required to believe this is mind boggling.

Posted by: Sam | Jun 14 2009 17:43 utc | 63

The Farsi IRNA and French websites work.
The Engrish one is down. From the error messages displayed:
> There is not enough space on the disk. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80070070)]

... lol ...

Posted by: blank | Jun 14 2009 21:00 utc | 64

After the past few years experience of the Western Media (the Western Media is embedded into wine song and...... etc.etc. and not only in Afghanistan but in this country as well and , I dare say the rest of the world) why do we give any credence to them.Time to break this very bad habit.

Posted by: Ali | Jun 15 2009 2:21 utc | 65

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