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On the question of voter ‘rigging’ in Iran

June 15, 2009

Watching the Iran election results unfold from Brazil is not a major perch, however, the interwebs are alive with information (and disinformation). Thankfully there are dedicated and tireless people on the ground who care about digging for actualities and truths even if their favored candidate did not win.

I have not come across a credible account of voting irregularities as of yet. I’m just as sickened by the thought of four more years of Ahmadinejad’s Bush to Rafsanjani’s proxy-Cheney as most anti-authoritarian Iranians and non-Iranians I know. The disappointment and anger being expressed is understandable. The riot cops in Tehran, the suspension of right of assembly and the harrassment of protestors (the majority of them women) is completely unacceptable and reflective of the deeply flawed character of the incumbent’s administration.

However, instead of pointing to real falsification of results, if they exist, a reactionary effect is being reproduced. ‘This couldn’t have happened because we all thought our candidate would win’ is not enough of a reason to use and re-use loaded political vocabulary about a major election in a developing Middle Eastern country. Every other account about this election is freely throwing around the word coup d’état without serious justification: who can forget what a real coup d’état in Iran looked like, with the US-backed overthrow of Mossadegh’s democratically elected (and secular) government in 1953?

And it is a serious misstep (and I am talking not just about the corporate hegemonic media but about well-meaning leftist Iranians and friends of Iran) to assume that the candidate favored to win must win and will win. Like the Angry Arab has written, ‘When the favored candidates win, the elections are free and fair. And when they lose, elections are certainly unfree and stolen.’

Just two weeks before the election, ‘people were happy with the chance of going to a second round with Ahmadinejad,’ Alireza Doostdar says from Iran. ‘The human chain on Vali-e Asr and the “green wave” in Tehran made people much more optimistic.’

That optimism was strident and serious, but as a political vehicle, what if it was too late? Are people too depressed or outraged to leave room for the possibility that yes, Mousavi was out of touch in crucial provinces, and yes, Ahmadinejad’s series of populist overhauls (paying farmers for overcropped potatoes and distributing them to charities, for example) did leave the impression of an honest player in a sea of corruption and cronyism?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 16, 2009 03:24

    Mossadeq was overthrown in 1953, not 1956.

  2. southissouth permalink
    June 16, 2009 15:18

    Thanks for catching the typo, fixing now. Writing while not under the influence of caffeine caused this.

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