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I want you to pay attention to this: Iran Might Be Falling Apart - Elf M. Sternberg
I want you to pay attention to this: Iran Might Be Falling Apart

Protestors rescue riot officer
For some reason, this is just not getting the press it deserves. The vote in Iran was completely rigged. We are getting reports that there wasn't even fraudulent voting, the mullahs just ordered the ministry of the interior to throw out the vote, fake up numbers, and announce Ahmadinejad the victor. Many network services are down, to keep news from getting in and out, but there are too many channels. The photographer Merat has an amazing collection of images from Tehran, including the one to left where protestors rescued a riot cop to protect him from the angrier parts of the mob after he was kicked to the ground.

I know some of my readers don't care for political stuff, but this is important. For thirty years Iran has been a schizophrenic mess and a threat to its region. Now it's coming apart at the seams, and we would be remiss if we did not give this the attention in deserves.

Andrew Sullivan has been posting furiously all day, including this gem from Nate Silvers, who discovers that the election results graph is odd, but not statistically so, and is not proof the election was rigged. John Cole's analysis that Ahmadinejad's support in districts known to be hostile to his policies shows him winning with overt consistency has better context, I think, and deserves more weight. Ethnic Azeris and Lurs, who normally vote for their own candidates, seem to have voted for Ahmadinejad in exactly the same statistical numbers as other regions, and I agree, that seems wrong.

Current Mood: surprised surprised

7 comments or Leave a comment
shunra From: shunra Date: June 13th, 2009 09:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
An interesting factoid about Iran is that it has a lively blogging culture and is heavily into cell-phone living (a friend of mind, who visited there in 2007, said that *everyone* was constantly on the cellphone, much more so than she is used to seeing here.)

I'm curious what the Iranian bloggers are saying.
tagryn From: tagryn Date: June 13th, 2009 11:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
The thing for me is, the mullahs didn't need to do this. Mousavi is somewhat more moderate, but on big-issue items like nuclear power/weapons his stance isn't that different from Ahmadinejad's. More to the point, Supreme Leader Khamenei and the Guardian Council hold the real keys to power in Iran. If anything, having a supposed "moderate" like Mousavi projecting a friendly face on their machinations would have given them some breathing room with Europe and the U.S., which is probably all they need to achieve what they need short-term re: nuclear weapons and Iraq.

What doesn't add up for me is that the mullahs have lasted this long by being very canny politically and not panicking. This doesn't fit their usual M.O. to just be so transparent about fixing an election; heck, if they didn't want Mousavi to have a chance to win, all they had to do was disqualify him, the Guardian Council has done that to a lot of "reform" candidates historically. I suspect the fraud is Ahmadinejad's ex-Tehran-gov't-and-rural-area cronies idea, they probably aren't as skilled at this kind of thing as the actual rulers; I don't think the higher-up mullahs are dumb enough to do this so obviously. They also have a lot to lose if Ahmadinejad gets kicked out of power, while the mullahs' positions aren't elected and therefore aren't vulnerable to being kicked out if a particular President wins or loses.
nbarnes From: nbarnes Date: June 14th, 2009 12:36 am (UTC) (Link)
That's what I don't get about this. The governmental structure of Iran is such that the senior clerics in the government are absolutely not vulnerable to the President's power in any way. The Iranian presidency is not a very powerful position in their system.

The returns are very suspicious to me, in terms of the evenness of Ahmadinejad's support geographically; I'm just not buying that one. It's too out of line with previous election results in Iran. But, as you say, why would the the Guardian Council or the Assembly of Experts act so clumsily, when it's well within their power, if there's really consensus on the unelected side of Iran's government, to simply declare Musavi ineligible? And why would they fear Musavi that much anyway? They haven't gotten to where they've gotten by jumping at political shadows.
tagryn From: tagryn Date: June 14th, 2009 03:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Here's a possibility: the results are a coup attempt by the Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran) amd basij to force the election to Ahmandinejad. Given the autonomous nature of the Guards outside the regular military, its possible the IRGC decided it was too important not to intervene with or without Khamenei's blessing.

That's actually a very scary proposition, as the IRGC are among the most hardline in the Iranian political spectrum, and them running the country without checks would go a long way towards destabilizing the region quickly. The Guards and basij also wouldn't have a problem with killing a lot of Iranians to stem unrest.
gromm From: gromm Date: June 16th, 2009 06:57 am (UTC) (Link)
You guys understand the situation far better than I do, and explain things in far greater detail. But this quote from Elf's post gave me an aha moment:

"the mullahs just ordered the ministry of the interior to throw out the vote, fake up numbers, and announce Ahmadinejad the victor."

As I understand it, the people have long suspected that this is exactly how the elections in Iran work, to the point where people believe that if elections actually changed anything, they would be outlawed. These most recent results have just confirmed once and for all that this is indeed the case, and that is exactly why there is civil unrest. It's a great big "WTF? Do you really think we're that stupid?!" And that they're not going to take it anymore.

As for falling apart? It seems like the people aren't armed enough, and those in power too well armed for that to happen.
elfs From: elfs Date: June 14th, 2009 05:35 am (UTC) (Link)
One thing I've been told, and this is just one story and I have no confirmation of it, is that Supreme Ayatollah Khameni has a very heavy hate going on against Mousavi stemming from disagreements shortly after the revolution of 1979, and that led him to overreact and order the Interior Ministry to cook the books in such a way that not even a runoff with Mousavi participating could be possible.
tehrasha From: tehrasha Date: June 14th, 2009 03:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Ahmadinejad has always been bad with numbers.[YouTube]
7 comments or Leave a comment