Iran Moderate Says Hard-Liners Rigged Election

Iran Moderate Says Hard-Liners Rigged Election (NYT | RSS)

The race for the presidency in Iran was thrown into turmoil on Saturday when one of the top vote getters accused conservative hard-liners of rigging the election and threatened to continue to press his case publicly unless the country’s supreme leader ordered an independent investigation – a bold move in a country that does not generally tolerate such forms of public dissent. The accusation by Mehdi Karroubi, a cleric known as a conciliator, not a troublemaker, threw an element of confusion and uncertainty into the race, just as the authorities were hoping to finalize the election results, announce plans for a runoff and point to the outcome as a validation of this country’s religion-based system of government.

The Interior Ministry issued what it said were unofficial final results on Saturday evening, saying the former two-term president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, would face off against the ultra-conservative mayor of Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It was unclear what effect the accusations of fraud would have on the planned vote.

An element of the bizarre was added to the whole affair because Mr. Ahmadinejad, who had hovered at the back of the field of candidates in pre-election opinion surveys, announced hours before the ministry issued its own results that he would be in the runoff.

The government did not immediately respond to the charges of vote tampering, but the cloud had been hanging over the race since the early morning hours when the Interior Ministry found its results being publicly contradicted on state television by the Guardian Council, the panel controlled by hard-line clerics that has the ultimate say over all government actions. It has, for example, the power to unilaterally reject the outcome of the election.

Initially, the Interior Ministry had Mr. Rafsanjani first, Mr. Karroubi second and Mr. Ahmadinejad third. Half an hour later the Guardian Council, which is not supposed to be involved in counting ballots, said Mr. Ahmadinejad was in first place.

Geez, the Iranians are getting as bad as the Democrats now.

Seriously, this is indeed quite bizarre. I’m not quite sure what to make of a possible attempt to rig an election for a token political office. Further, unless they plan to tamper with the results of the run-off, having Rafsanjani face off against an Islamist would seem to assure a landslide victory for Rafsanjani and a major rebuke of the mullahs. That outcome would presumably be something the mullahs would prefer to avoid.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. reliapundit says:

    a rafsanjani victory is NO REBUKE of the mullahs; he is one of them!

    his so-called “moderation” a ruse.

    the mullahs want a runoff between rafsanjani and the tehran mayor so that rafsnajani will win big -like the current STOOGE currently in office.

    this way – the mullahs think – they CO-OPT the reform movement. and increase the apathy of the real anti-mullah movement.

  2. Mark says:

    > Geez, the Iranians are getting as bad as the Democrats now.

    Partisanship aside, this is juat a really lame joke.

  3. HELLO! McFly! The mullahs approve the list of candidates!

    This is not exactly insight.

  4. reliapundit says:

    sorry – it was a GREAT joke: the Dems STOLE washington and wisconsin and maybe michigan and pennsylvania.

    and they tried to steal ohio.

  5. reliapundit says:

    BTW: galloway STOLE his MP seat in the last election.


    socialists/lefties are elitists with a basic disdain for the people/democracy. so they think stealing the election serves a higher good.

    (Remember: Iran is a socialist state. Baathism is a socialist ideology.)

  6. I think you’re getting Iraq confused with Iran. The Iranians aren’t Baathists – it’s too secular for them. There are a lot of aspects of political Islam that look remarkably like socialism. So much so that someone once said that Marxism + God = Islam.

  7. Ron Wright says:

    Dr Zin [] and the SMCCDI can use everyone’s help NOW!

    The Iranian election is just a facade and sham for the MSM, the liberal left, and our Euro Weenie allies. The outcome of this election is already predetermined. Good PR though to make it look like a close race. Gives a sense of legitimacy that doesn’t exist in reality.

    There are many parallels to the World of the 1930’s with the rise of the Third Reich and appeasement of tryants in hopes they would go away. Appeasement doesn’t work with tryants.

    See my previous comment over at In From the Cold


    Now’s the time for all Americans to either stand up for what is right or shut up and get off the stage and quit whinning about GITMO.


    Dr Zin [] and the SMCCDI can use everyone’s help NOW!



  8. USMC_Vet says:

    Yes, the Iranian People need our support. Now.

    For the past week or more I have expanded my news-ticker to include 7 items up top and dedicated it exclusively to Iranian coverage, including a permanent link directly to Regime Change Iran.

    With all due respect, Astute Blogger, please read the latest from Ledeen or Timmerman. My personal thoughts are that the ‘elections’ are business as usual for the mullahs. For crying out loud, sir, the candidates were chosen (or rather the non-candidates eliminated) by the 12 member Guardian Council before a ballot was cast. Does it matter what happens today, yesterday or tomorrow insofaras determining a ‘rigged’ election is concerned?

    Please, I beg you to consider the ghostly empty streets around various cities in Iran. Hit the links in my ticker that refer to Dr. Zin’s pictures of ‘normally bustling streets’ or the translated updates from Iranian students reporting drastically low turnout in Iran.

    This ‘election’ is a staged affair intended to appease the masses in Iran with the act of voting (while the candidates have been hand-picked by the very Regime the voters would choose to eliminate) and to fraudulently display to the world as a legitimizer for a tyrannical and iron fisted dictatorship.

    After visiting Will Franklin’s account, scoot over to Robert Mayer’s and read his interview of an Iranian ‘poll monitor’ in Tucson.

    Don’t you be fooled, too. That would be profoundly disappointing to a very regular reader (if a very infrequent commenter).

    The difference between the Iranian people and the American Democrats is that the Iranians have a legitimate beef…and state their case at risk of imprisonment and real torture (not to be confused with the shivering and sweating varieties of ‘torture’ to be found at Gitmo).

    Your skepticism is way off the mark, sir.

    I hope you come to see that, as I respect your writing and views…just not this one.

  9. “Moderates claim hard-liners rigged election.”

    Sounds familiar. Maybe they studied Florida and Ohio.