Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 21, 2009

Links June 21 09

Please add your links, views and news in the comments.

Posted by b on June 21, 2009 at 01:31 AM | Permalink


My take is that when the elected Assembly of Experts, chaired by Rafsanjani, reported that it accepts the results of the election, that means that for all practical purposes, the dispute is over.

I'd appreciate comments and criticisms.

I should have been more clear, and probably should write a different post with my position on Iran's government. There are a lot of reforms I would like to see made. I do not support the government no matter what.

But arguments of the form "I expected Ahmadinejad to get this many votes in that place and he got more" are not sufficient for me to believe all of the votes were fabricated. Every problem I've heard so far as evidence of fraud I could either think of an alternative explanation or if not, I'm sure Iran's Assembly of Experts would be able to get enough information to evaluate.

Unless Rafsanjani is in on the fraud on Ahmadinejad's side - which I find implausible, unless Mousavi is also in on the fraud - it is not plausible any more that Ahmadinejad does not have more voter support than Mousavi.

With that said, I oppose the refusal of Iran's government to make reforms such as open all positions to non-clerics and adopt some transparent vetting mechanism - but it would have to be one that cannot be manipulated by foreigners, and I'm not sure what it would look like specifically.

I very strongly oppose religious restrictions applied on any one any where. I don't even think religious Iranians should have the right to vote to impose restrictions on the dress of any other Iranian.

I don't believe the protests are now, if they were ever, the most effective way to get the reforms I'd like to see in Iran. But on the issue of the election, I do not think it was stolen in the way Juan Cole and others presents. I find that scenario nearly impossible.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Jun 21, 2009 2:47:22 AM | 1

This letter was already discussed in the previous day's thread. Unlike all of the other statements of the Majlis, it is not signed "Majlis Khobregan" or "Rafsanjani". It is signed "Mohammad Yazdi".

We'll have to wait a bit longer to understand what Rafsanjani actually thinks.

Saying that the whole thing is over because of this single letter (which removes all legal pathways of resistance) is a bit premature. After all, the people who were in the streets last night, knew about this letter, and Rafsanjani himself has continued his silence.


Posted by: Amir S. | Jun 21, 2009 3:13:07 AM | 2

Fair. I missed that previous discussion

If Rafsanjani speaks out it will render me wrong. The longer he remains silent, the closer it looks to tacit acceptance. I guess we'll see how he reacts to the Guardian Council investigation report.

I think my point that he has the motives and the resources to investigate claims of fraud, and the claim of fraud that Khamenei is accused of is spectacular, and he has not taken action and that indicates that he cannot find convincing substance behind the claims is a valid point.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Jun 21, 2009 3:30:42 AM | 3

P.C. Roberts sheds an interestintg light on the problems in Iran, namely a power struggle between two ayatolahs, one of them conservative but honest, one slightly more progresssive but corrupt.

And that is the was that politics are played in Iran: the progressives are painted as corrupt and detatched from the interests of the broad masses.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jun 21, 2009 3:33:20 AM | 4

Bernhard, the formatting is really screwed up in IE. You can reproduce the formatting problem in Firefox if you use an IE tab


Posted by: dan of steele | Jun 21, 2009 4:54:02 AM | 5

Bernhard, the formatting is really screwed up in IE.

Opps - I did not notice that at all as I use firefox. I have now checked in IE and you are correct. There was a tag in Parviz' post (which i had copied 1:1 without editing) that IE misinterprets. I have now corrected that. Please let me know immediately when such happens again.

Posted by: b | Jun 21, 2009 5:24:12 AM | 6

#6 There was a tag in Parviz' post (which i had copied 1:1 without editing) that IE misinterprets

All part of the conspiracy!

Posted by: Hans | Jun 21, 2009 6:14:26 AM | 7

Where is Rafsanjani? Loyal can you help with this? Could it be that public backing for Moussavi by him could be detrimental.

Posted by: Hans | Jun 21, 2009 6:26:18 AM | 8

I was interested in who was not a refugee. In particular - the Palestinian refugees seem to be missing.

Posted by: edwin | Jun 21, 2009 8:11:59 AM | 9

To Hans:

I don't know where he is for sure, but he was in Tehran yesterday for important Assembly of Expert meeting.
His family members who are among Musavi backer and demonstration organizers have been detained.
Musavi issued his fifth letter yesterday followed by Khatami letter today.
My own reading of events is, despite unfortunate violence in Tehran streets which I condemn by whoever commits them; Musavi is trapped in his own unrealistic delusion. He had great opportunity to take advantages of great support in Tehran for a compromise to help reformers, but I see it to be too late for that.
I doubt even if he reveres his stand, most demonstrator will head his call.
The way I see it, Rafsanjani will survive because of his experience, status and his connections but Musavi will lose.
Parliament, Assembly of experts, expediency council, judiciary, Office of Inspector General all have taken side not in favor of Musavi. Guardian Council is next and should not have difficulty dismissing most of Musavi claims. I am not a lawyer , far from it , but reading Musavi letters and his legal argument , I am amazed how much wrong his argument is.
One of his main complains is that some of his representatives have not been present at polling sites. Not withstanding he had few thousands more representatives than his rival; presence of candidate representative is NOT REQUIRED. Election rule is very specific about it.
from election rules& Laws section 9

for accurate news about Musavi, Kalemeh his one of his official site is most reliable.

Posted by: Loyal | Jun 21, 2009 8:46:04 AM | 10

Peres backs protests in Iran, hopes Tehran regime will vanish

President Shimon Peres on Sunday lauded post-election protests in Iran and said he hoped the Islamic Republic's government would disappear.

"Let the young people raise their voice of freedom for a positive policy. Let the Iranian women, who are a very courageous group of people, to voice their thirst for equality, for freedom," Peres said in English in a speech to visiting Jewish fundraisers.

"I really don't know what will disappear first, their enriched uranium, or their poor government," said Peres, whose post is largely ceremonial. "Hopefully, the poor government will disappear."

Now, Shimon Peres is not a stupid man. He knows perfectly well his statement will be rebroadcast by Iran's state media and will do the protesters no good at all. Yet he makes it anyway. Why?

The Israelis stated before the election that the worst outcome would be a Musavi victory. Could it be they are doing all they can to prevent it?

Just Imagine, if Musavi were to gain power now, the international community would have an extraordinarily difficult time demonizing him. The Iranian Government would have unprecedented credibility abroad. Domestically, he would have to burnish his nationalist credentials. Which means there is no way politically he could halt uranium enrichment.

Posted by: | Jun 21, 2009 9:37:05 AM | 11

Woops, That was me. Lysander

Posted by: | Jun 21, 2009 9:37:44 AM | 12

Faulty election data, from Tehran bureau (“join us on Twitter” !)>link

The results plotted - Mousavi votes on the y axis, Ahma. on the x axis, with the data points representing subsequent points in time during the vote counting, giving a straight line - is what one obtains in any election, provided the number of voters is large (I arbitrarily state that the no. of Iranian voters is large.)

It is, with large numbers, easy to understand that the proportion, say of 60/40 (61/39, etc.) holds for the first e.g. 20% of voters, and for these 20 plus the next ten, that is almost a third of the voters, etc. until the end result of 60/40 comes in. That is why large elections are often called before they are finished!

There are only two cases under which one can observe (or expect to observe) a rising line with one or more V’s - jagged ups and downs.

a) The probability of that is high when the number of voters is small. If there are 20 voters, and the first 5 happen to vote for A, you have 100% for A. Then the next five, a family, all vote for B: your line is not straight, you have just jumped from 100% for A to 50%.

b) If different voting times are associated with different voters. E.g. retirees vote in the afternoon, employees after 18.00. Then you might expect a high % for the conservative candidate at 18.00 hours, which would then go on to steadily sink down to show 40 at midnight. E.g. Town votes in the morning, but the country does so in the afternoon. Etc.

Not applicable to Iran, so one should expect a straight line, thus a near perfect correlation.

Mebane’s analysis.

A lot of triple statistical speak! Very interesting, hard to follow and impossible to explain here. His report can be cherry picked to conclude there was, or was not, fraud. For. ex. in global research, no fraud:>link, and elsewhere yes, fraud!

He himself speaks of "moderately strong support for Iran vote fraud", see this blogger who summarizes, giving extracts of Mebane’s paper:>link

As Mebane himself says, one needs knowledge of Iran to make informed judgment.>Mebane PDF

A poster suggested comparing the census and the no. of votes, giving links to the data.

The reports making such claims on the web don’t give numbers/sources, so they are just reports (some seemed to be based on one comment made to a radio station.)

If, as suggested by the poster, there are more votes than adult people (in some districts), that would appear to imply massive old fashioned ballot stuffing, or that ppl voted more than once. Note that in Iran it is theoretically possible, if highly unlikely, to have more votes (in a ward, district, etc.) than there are presumed eligible voters because there are NO electoral lists (that is why the number of potential voters vary so wildly .1) and Iranians can vote anywhere they please.

It must be easy, though, I reckon, to vote more than once. .2 I find this fact the most compelling argument for fraud: systems that contain large loopholes will be subject to fraud in important elections. Note however that in the MSM the fraud is laid at the door of the regime (I have seen no hypothesis concerning how it was done) and not blamed on the *voters.*

What happens when multiple votes are used? Many young voters who might not care at all about the rules and conventions? Keen to rush around voting here and there?

(To Iranians, my post from Switzerland is to be read as representing only my distant take, resting on the slim knowledge I have of Iran, based on reading/a few expat acquaintances only. So please correct.)

The answer is, nothing, unless the supporters of one candidate .3 are more active, savvy, mobile, fraudulent than the supporters of the other candidate. The default assumption is that the cheating evens out. (I.e. you randomly give 10% of voters the oppo to vote twice for their candidate; the end result is identical to the one-vote-only result.) In the case of Iran, any hypothesis would, I think, have to favor Mousavi supporters, as more educated and mobile (not more motivated.)

Posted by: Tangerine | Jun 21, 2009 9:55:17 AM | 13

1. Number of eligible voters: 46 million (Gvmt.)

Iran center for stats: 51 million.

Let’s say, 50 million potential voters.

This>link takes up a lot of info and the nos. replicate what can be found in other places, official sources, etc.

Pop. of Iran, 2006 census: 70 million (wiki) Est. 2008 (CIA factbook): 65. ISTA offers 71.

Say, 70 million people.

That means that 70% of the Iranian population can vote! (50/70)

NO. NO. That number is much too high.

One quarter of the pop. is under 15 years (wiki) and the median age is 26 (CIA factbook.) I have not been able to find, and it surely is no accident, the % of Iranians who are between 15 and 18.

One thus needs to subtract, conservatively, a quarter plus a lot more, and probably close to half - yup, Khamenei’s numbers.>link .. More than 35 million voters would be extremely suspect.

Non-nationals, refugees, non bearers of a BC certificate, the paperless, the unregistered, uncaring, all those who cannot vote for one reason or another, etc. should also be subtracted.

No idea about the nos. Tremendous, for sure.

Bad scene. Institutionalized vote laxness, door open for fraud, big time.

2. How to do it is left out.

3. Throughout I pretend there were only 2 candidates.

Posted by: Tangerine | Jun 21, 2009 10:07:21 AM | 14

So, let me get this straight. Amir's post, according to Parviz, is required reading for all, and in that post Amir states, clearly, that Regime is not an appropriate word, yet a few posts later, after urging us to read Amir's answers to my questions, Parviz uses, incessantly, the word Regime.

This is the sort of ambiguity I won't tolerate and is the reason I come to cut through such ambiguity. Regime and Regime Change are code words for the NeoLiberal Agenda. If you want to be taken seriously, don't use them if you cannot and will not identify what they mean.

Also, you will not receive one shred of sentimental support from me if you believe that an Islamic Republic is a good thing. We're all smart enough here to realize that the clerics used the Left to push The Shah out of power and then further used the Left, and the Left is not without blame for being duped, to cement their position and implement an Islamic Republic that has oppressed the people of Iran every bit as much as the Shah ever did.....and forced women back into the home behind veils. Keep in mind, everyone, that I provided a link about Montazeri, who is the focal point of all Reform, and he stated in no unceratin terms that a woman's place is in the home and subserviant to the man, and that Sha'ria Law dictates a woman's status in society. Is that the kind of Reform you want to support? I don't.....and that's Moussavi's Reform, in my opinion. That's different from Ahmadinejad how?

So, once again, I will repeat the question about Reform and Reformists, and maybe we will get a cogent answer from our Iranian experts who have this all figured out.

1.) What, exactly, is meant by reform when people refer to Reformist?

2.) Who are the Reformists?

3.) Are the protesters the Reformists, as defined above, if defined?

Just so you know, Parviz, we had dinner with an Iranian friend last night. He fled Iran in the early 80's because his father was good friends with The Shah. His father was a FSN with the State Department during the Shah's rule. His mother, now in the States, still receives a pension from the State Department. We discussed this whole matter and we appeared to be in agreement. He agrees that Iran's best chance for Democracy was in the early fifties when The Shah was exiled and Mossadegh was democratically elected before the CIA got to him. I wouldn't doubt that the clerics, even then, conspired to remove Mossadegh because a secular government is the last thing they would ever support. He also agreed that The Mullahs are a bunch of authoritarian opportunists regardless of any rhetoric to the contrary, and that a democratic Iran, not an Islamic Republic, is to the benefit of all Iranians. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to discuss the economic side, because on that point I belive he and I would have diverged quite significantly. He's a devout Capitalist and believes in the divinity of the market. We both agree that the Iranian people have not benefitted from the rich resource that lies beneath its feet......that the general population has nothing to show for the gold that has been siphoned from its shifting sands. That won't change so long as an Islamic Republic in place, and it won't change if a NeoLiberal puppet government is put in place if Iran were to destabilize and the regime falls, and the Imperialists move in for the kill.

Posted by: Obamageddon | Jun 21, 2009 10:20:06 AM | 15

And when I use Regime above, I mean clerical rule manifested as an Islamic Republic.

Posted by: Obamageddon | Jun 21, 2009 10:26:23 AM | 16

in general, not having representatives at every polling station is an oversight for any candidate. In the USA for instance, party/candidate representatives are present to assist voters who might otherwise be denied the right the vote for any number of reasons. Obama had an army of lawyers at polling stations especially in the South. In those countries that have manual-voting, one of their key functions may be to watch the stubs. In other countries, their main function may be to watch the actual voting and to monitor the ballot-box so as to prevent ballot-stuffing. It all depends on the voting/counting process used in the particular country. And a candidate would be wise to have at least two representatives in case one has to go to the bathroom especially during the counting process.

In Iran specifically, because voters can vote anywhere as long as they have valid-ID (hence eliminating the need for a voter register) it is imperative that opposition candidates have adequate representation either on a singular or collective basis. Otherwise, it opens the door for a lot of potential mischief that's very difficult if not impossible to prove, even with recounts.

Mousavi & the other candidates may have strong reasons for doubting the result but if they cannot show some compelling evidence, its not going to get them very far. Especially since the result while high in the range of plausibility is certainly not implausible.

theres also the other factor -- massive result falsification i.e. (made-up numbers). A recount should not be necessary to prove or disprove whether falsifications occurred. All thats needed is more detail in the official results (assuming its available) to re-tabulate the tallies.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jun 21, 2009 10:44:51 AM | 17

I showed you what law & regulation said. Any court will decide base on that.
In addition, for every ballot box at least 10 (10-14) different signatures were required. 2/3 of these members were representatives of local councils the rest were from various agencies, including Interior ministry and Guardian council. For every dispute of any box there are at least 10 individual to testify.
In his both letters Musavi has argued over his representative and according to the rules in my opinion that is not required.
These are same rules and regulation with minor difference when Musavi was handpicked prime minster to then President Khamenei.
During his vice presidency, there was a huge dispute about parliamentary election, at that timer he had opposite stand in election dispute.

Musavi want reelection, but I am not sure that will be enough for large number of Tehrani demonstrators.

Posted by: Loyal | Jun 21, 2009 11:02:49 AM | 18

@Tangerine @13/14 - It must be easy, though, I reckon, to vote more than once.

The personal birth certificate book gets stamped when one votes in Iran. It is thereby quite hard to double vote.

This link takes up a lot of info and the nos. replicate what can be found in other places, official sources, etc.

Better be careful with that one:

"Mehdi Khalaji is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute, ..."

Sourcewatch Winep

The establishment of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) in 1985 greatly expanded the pro-Israel lobby's influence over policy as well. WINEP's founding director, Martin Indyk, had previously been research director of AIPAC which, then as now, focuses much of its efforts on Congress. Indyk developed WINEP into a highly effective think tank devoted to maintaining and strengthening the US-Israel alliance through advocacy in the media and lobbying the executive branch.

That means that 70% of the Iranian population can vote! (50/70)
NO. NO. That number is much too high.


Number of eligible voters announced before the election by the interior minister: 46.2.
That would be 66% of the people who can vote or 34% of the 65-68 million population (+ how man exiles?) being under voting age of 18 years or not eligible for other reasons. According this age pyramid of Iran (scroll down to 2005/2010, source U.S. census bureau) there are only some 12-14 million under 19 - some 21%.

Khamenei’s numbers. link .

Ouch - the MEK as source for what Khamenei says???

Posted by: b | Jun 21, 2009 11:11:17 AM | 19

In Iran specifically, because voters can vote anywhere as long as they have valid-ID (hence eliminating the need for a voter register) it is imperative that opposition candidates have adequate representation either on a singular or collective basis

Correct me if I am wrong in my interpretation of what you wrote. In any election, not even Iran specifically, why would the 'opposition' candidates have more need to protect themselves from scams like ballot box stuffing? Are you saying that ALL 'opposion' candidates are 100% truthful and honest and wouldn't stoop to any type of vote fraud themselves; it's only the incumbents who would? I don't believe that for a New York second. Additionally, with the present Iran election, my understanding is that Mousavi had even more representatives in the field than AH.

And another musing: If the votes in a particular area are more than 100% of the registered voters, why does that automatically mean that it was AH's side who caused the discrepancy? It could have been Mousavi supporters, or supporters of any of the other candidates. Ballot box stuffing seems to be an equal-opportunity method. I'm just playing devil's advocate here to show how the 'evidence' could point in many directions. Maybe they both did it.

Posted by: ensley | Jun 21, 2009 11:12:53 AM | 20

Maliki to Gates: "All your base are belong to us!"

Ayatollah Warns Iranians: "I am following you all with my twink!"

TSA Yoogly's Passenger: "Where did your cash come from? That is the only question!"

Paris to Americans: "I am a Palace hood rat, but you'all are the Robocalypse!"

Kidnapped NY Times Reporter Has Sex with Taliban: "Shiznit!?"

You are Now $256,879.59 Pimp Handed: ""

Posted by: Graff Hiti | Jun 21, 2009 11:23:26 AM | 21


I believe you mistranslated Peres' comment "Hopefully, the poor government will disappear.": I believe the *correct* translation is "I hope to see Iran wiped off the face of the map".

Which means that we must preemptively take out Israel's nuclear threat to the stability of the region by military intervention.

Perhaps we could convince Iran to launch a first strike, which would then prompt the US to act in its defense...

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jun 21, 2009 11:29:34 AM | 22

ralphieboy, my thoughts were very close.. Pere's *correct* translation is his wish the regime in iran will vanish from the pages of time.

Posted by: annie | Jun 21, 2009 11:38:56 AM | 23


quite obviously a nuclear threat there...time to pre-empt!

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jun 21, 2009 12:09:31 PM | 24

ok, > b, at 19, but it all depends on the control of the book, and that might be very lax or even wink-wink.

Or just left aside because of rush, too many voters, etc. I know not.

The numbers indicate, through superficial analysis, massive over voting, or maybe just not.

Don’t forget that a lot of ppl don’t vote. The gap between eligible voters and those who cast will always be 10, 15, often 25 or more %?

something different:

Remember Raed in the Middle, the western darling blogger of the pro-Iraq invaders?

He was genuine, one supposes, iraqi on the ground, the glamor of war, hope for change, hate for Saddam, hopes of freedom, liberty, etc.

He subs. had several diff. blogs and now lives afaik in Los Angeles. (in any case, US.)

the present entry shows him with Sarah Palin:>raed in the middle


I just came back from a long speaking tour in Alaska, Washington and Oregon. The highlight, of course, is hearing the one and only Sarah Palin say "welcome to our state". And yes, her voice is as annoying in person.

More to come soon.

!!!! Boor.

his mother has a blog as well.> a family in baghdad.

brothers also - links at mother's blog.

They have wrt. a book.

The Iraq War Blog, An Iraqi Family's Inside View of the First Year of the Occupation. (google will provide.)

Posted by: Tangerine | Jun 21, 2009 12:24:16 PM | 25

not all candidates are into pre-meditated vote-fraud. But its an almost irresistible temptation for all but the most virtuous (how many ???) to take advantage of the laxity or negligence of an opponent.

a lot depends on how impartial the electoral body is. In recent years, the Democrats have had good reason to adopt additional precautions & vigilance in Ohio & Florida. In his case, Mousavi had warned of vote-fraud before the election. And when you are the opposition candidate against the government-favored candidate, faced with a questionable electoral body, it can be a much tougher job to cover yourself and you may have to focus on where its likely to hurt the most. Its gets even tougher when its considered that Iran does'nt have political parties. Hence neither candidate has local political hierarchy/machinery in place to assist on election-day. Also, Iran had 45,000 polling stations.

Loyal had reported that Mousavi had more representatives in Teheran than AN. But I have'nt seen anything on the rest of the country.

Yes, ballot-stuffing is equal-opportunity. It can come from any candidate with the will, resources & the right opportunities. But sometimes, it can also become an entrenched local custom for a particular party like back in the old Chicago days.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jun 21, 2009 12:40:11 PM | 26

In 20 years, Cheney, with a new heart, literally and figuratively, will lead a Reformist movement in the U.S. I hope Parviz will support that movement when the time comes, and forget about Cheney's sordid past. As Obama says, we must look forward, not back.

Posted by: Obamageddon | Jun 21, 2009 1:22:26 PM | 27

22, 23, 24 and 27 are some of the funniest things I've ever read in a foreign policy blog.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Jun 21, 2009 2:27:37 PM | 28


glad you caught the irony.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jun 21, 2009 4:07:24 PM | 29

Lysander @ 11:

Just Imagine, if Musavi were to gain power now, the international community would have an extraordinarily difficult time demonizing him.

I disagree. The last time the reformers were in power Bush had no problem labelling Iran as part of an "axis of evil" even though they cooperated with the invasuin of Afghanistan and Iraq. Who is in power has nothing to do with it.

Posted by: Sam | Jun 21, 2009 6:54:40 PM | 30

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