Iranian Interior Ministry Leaks On Election Outcome?

The Guardian is reporting that, according to unnamed sources in Iran’s Interior Ministry, Friday’s election results were the result of a computer program asked to elicit a “plausible result” and were prepared prior to the election.

The figures have been accompanied by claims from unnamed interior ministry sources that fake statistics were fed into a software program and then distributed to vote counts among polling stations to produce a plausible outcome. The same sources have also claimed that the interior ministry’s statements announcing the results were prepared before Friday night’s count.

The same sources have also provided election results showing a Mousavi blowout:

One set, attributed to an “informed source” in the interior ministry and appearing on Iranian opposition websites, shows Mousavi winning 21.3m votes, or 57.2% of the total — enough to give him outright victory without a second-round run-off.

According to these figures, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won 10.5m votes (28%). The two other candidates, Mohsen Rezai and Mehdi Karroubi, are reported as gaining 2.7m (7.2%) and 2.2m (6%) respectively.

In contrast to the official result, the figures also report 600,000 spoilt ballots. Unusually, the interior ministry’s official announcement made no mention of invalid votes.

Only time will tell if these claims are genuine, but a blowout this size would certainly explain why the Iranian government wasted no time in violently cracking down on peaceful protests. And it’s worth mentioning that the poll that my colleague Dave Schuler linked to earlier today showed Ahmadinejad with only 34% support with a 3.5% margin of error three weeks ago, so 28% for Ahmadinejad is not outside the realm of possibility. Although that same poll touted only 14% for Mousavi, there was a subtantial amount of support for “Don’t Know” and the other minor candidates. While it’s dangerous to try to analogize Iran’s elections too closely to ours, I do agree with Matthew Yglesias that “[i]n the domestic American context if you had an incumbent polling at 34 percent, you’d say he was in huge trouble no matter how badly his opponent was doing.”

(link via Andrew Sullivan, who is doing a remarkable job collecting reports on the ongoing Iranian turmoil)

FILED UNDER: Middle East, ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. Eric Florack says:

    The Guardian is reporting that, according to unnamed sources in Iran’s Interior Ministry, Friday’s election results were the result of a computer program asked to elicit a “plausible result” and were prepared prior to the election.

    Why does ACORN using computer based estimates leap to mind?

    Why does the concept of Computer Models being the basis of ‘Global Warming” complaints rear it’s head?

  2. Alex Knapp says:

    (A) ACORN has no power. Heck, they’re not even a nationally unified organization–it’s just affiliates.

    (B) If you think that all there is to climate change is computer modelling, I’d suggest that you research the matter more. The basis of climate change is CHEMISTRY. Simple, basic thermodynamics and gas chemistry. (That said, the computer modeling done ten years ago showing average temperature increases shows no significant statistical deviation from actual average temperature increases over the last ten years, so it’s not like they’re BAD models.)

  3. Alex Knapp says:

    And (C) for God’s sake, we agree with something vis a vis Iran. Let’s not spoil it by taking this thread off into irrelevant land.

  4. Eric Florack says:

    If you think that all there is to climate change is computer modelling, I’d suggest that you research the matter more.

    Of course not. OTOH, the modelig is ripe for intentional distortion…

    ACORN has no power.

    I’d call the cencus, power, particularly to alter the outcome of elections, by distortion of census counts. And therein the comparison lies a little too close for comfort.

    That said, the points I made is in fact an aside. Consdier this an anchor dropped. We’ll get back to it later, as these things return to the fore. I suspect I’ll not be the only one leaning on these comparisons in the next couple years.

  5. I hold no brief for the current Iranian government. I’m also not sure that a different government would be much better. I remember when the press was engaged in wishful thinking that the current president was a change towards moderation.

    All that said, anonymous sources making highly inflammatory claims without supporting proof should be taken with a huge grain of salt. I can see perfectly innocent explanations being distorted to get to this idea. Imagine running computer simulations to predict voter turnout so you can estimate what polling resources are needed. I can also imagine press releases being prepared prior to knowing the results covering possible outcomes. To put it another way, do you think that Obama and/or his staff didn’t work on his victory speech before election night?

  6. G.A.Phillips says:

    ACORN has no power. Heck, they’re not even a nationally unified organization–it’s just affiliates.

    Alex, they got a lot of money……

  7. sam says:

    Why does ACORN using computer based estimates leap to mind?

    Why does the concept of Computer Models being the basis of ‘Global Warming” complaints rear it’s head?

    Because in the Bitverse, no happenstance, no matter how tenuous the connection, will go begging for use in illustrating the Great Leftist Plot Against Right-Thinking People.

  8. anjin-san says:

    An interesting subtext of all this is how desperately the right wants there to be no support for democracy and reform in Iran, in spite of the obvious fact that there is.

    They are so heavily invested in their talking points about Iran being hell bent on a suicide attack against the west they actually seem to be rooting against a change for the better in Iran. It seems their love of freedom is a little less than their love of their own bizarre ideology…

  9. Eric Florack says:

    An interesting subtext of all this is how desperately the right wants there to be no support for democracy and reform in Iran, in spite of the obvious fact that there is.

    Oh, it’s obvious there is in Iran… at least among the people.

    In Washington, not so much, nor on the part of the Iranian Government, particularly the Mullahs. Does this added complexity confuse you?

    Because in the Bitverse, no happenstance, no matter how tenuous the connection, will go begging for use in illustrating the Great Leftist Plot Against Right-Thinking People.

    OK, you’re telling me this isn’t.
    I’m sure you can prove this. Right? No relationship in the pattern at all, eh?

    I’ll wait.