Iranian Mullahs Order Election Probe

I’m going to write up a longish piece trying to make sense of the Iranian elections for New Atlanticist later today.  Since comparisons to happenings in America seem to be the blogospheric rage de jour, however, I will just note that I have received the news that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ordered the Guardian Council to “look into charges by pro-reform candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who has said he is the rightful winner of Friday’s presidential election” almost identically to O.J. Simpson’s announcement upon acquital that he would begin a search for “the real killer.”

Photo: Getty Images

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. PD Shaw says:

    IIRC the 2005 elections were disputed and even the Iranian Ministry admitted there were “irregularities.” Didn’t change anything though.

  2. Michael says:

    IIRC the 2005 elections were disputed and even the Iranian Ministry admitted there were “irregularities.” Didn’t change anything though.

    What were the options? Right now only one side believes that the election was illegitimate, if you over turn it you will have one side believing the election process is illegitimate, and the other side believing the oversight process is illegitimate.

    If the majority of the public doubts the legality of the government, they have no reason to accept it’s authority. You have to pretend that the results were a valid representation of the will of the people, otherwise you chance anarchy and civil war.

  3. Eric Florack says:

    Not so sure, here.
    Seems to me that a government crackdown on protestors, and arresting the man who was the biggest threat in the election, doesn’t strike me as being the actions of people who know their election was legit, at least as a first line of defense as it was used here.

    If the majority of the public doubts the legality of the government, they have no reason to accept it’s authority.

    Yeah, they do. Many millions of reasons… called bullets. Let’s also not forget taht the real power, here lies with the Mullahs.

  4. Michael says:

    Yeah, they do. Many millions of reasons… called bullets.

    I’m not sure that qualifies as accepting their authority. But semantics aside, yes the population can be made to follow the government though the use of force, though I’m not sure the Iranian government has sufficient control to intimidate a majority.

    Let’s also not forget taht the real power, here lies with the Mullahs.

    But that’s what’s in the balance here. If the Mullahs decided to have their pick over the will of the people, then these protests go directly to the authority of the theocracy. If the population believes that the Mullahs hold their own private interests over those of the public, they will reject their authority.

  5. PD Shaw says:

    Bless your heart Michael, you’re channelling Lockean contract theory.

    The legitimacy of the Mullahs rests with Allah, not the people. The Islamic Constitution was framed around the principle that democracy (the 1906 Constitution being rejected) had failed. It had failed because the people were easily led astray and would henceforth be controlled by the Koran, the Hadith and the religious experts.

    Failing that, there is the matter of guns.

  6. Michael says:

    Bless your heart Michael, you’re channelling Lockean contract theory.

    Good to know I still retained some of that book.

    the people were easily led astray and would henceforth be controlled by the Koran, the Hadith and the religious experts.

    Ah yes, but when the majority of the population stop’s believing that the Mullahs are following Allah, but rather following their own desires, they no longer have the mandate of heaven as it were.

    And I’m not sure how many of the guns the theocracy actually holds.

  7. PD Shaw says:

    michael, I hope that (“bless you”) didn’t sound as condescending as I fear on second read. We obviously share starting points.

    The Iranian starting point is the 1906 Constitution, which made Iran the first Constitutional Republic in Asia. Iranians are proud of this history. Reclaiming it for themselves would be world changing.

  8. Nikolay says:

    Yeah, they do. Many millions of reasons… called bullets. Let’s also not forget taht the real power, here lies with the Mullahs.

    Well, that’s in dispute. The real power always lies with those that have guns, and these are not mullahs. In fact, a lot of people argue that Ahmadinejad attempted a coup in order to take the power from the clerics, and it is Mousavi (and Rafsanjani) who’s trying to protect the interest of the mullahs.