Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Evidence that the Iranian Election was rigged

This data is based on a Time/CNN report, with additional material from a variety of sources

1 There were no independent election observers.
This says it all really; every election in every country in future should be overseen by independent observers.
Private Eye has more on this.

2 Electoral irregularities

On Friday, the polling day, there were reports that opposition observers were barred from entering some voting stations. Mousavi campaign officials also said that a number of stations in the northwest and south ran out of ballots.

Iranian Govt authorities have acknowledged that the number of votes cast in 50 cities exceeded the actual number of voters.

3 The Government's rapid announcement of results was abnormal

The Interior Ministry announced the first results within an hour of the polls closing and the official result less than a day later. The ministry is supposed to wait three days after voting before it certifies the result, to allow time for disputes to be examined. Friday's announcement, which was based on a very small count, came just minutes after Mousavi declared himself to be "definitely the winner." According to a Mousavi official in Paris, the opposition leader was initially informed by the Interior Ministry that he had won. But ministry officials shortly thereafter publicly called it for Ahmadinejad.

Given the apparent record turnout, it would have been impossible to announce a definitive result so soon after the polls closed, because Iran does not use voting machines. The country uses paper ballots that must be counted by hand — a time-consuming process.

A fast announcement is not necessarily proof of rigging, but for people to have confidence in those announcements, a country needs an independent electoral commission that acts fairly and transparently.

4 Suspicious voting consistency

Support for Ahmadinejad was strangely consistent across the country, a real change from previous elections, when candidates drew different levels of support in different regions.

There were several other puzzles in the results:

• According to official figures, Ahmadinejad beat Mousavi in Mousavi's hometown of Tabriz — a dubious result, given the candidate's popularity in his own region.

• Ahmadinejad beat Mousavi in the big cities, even though Iran's very limited polling and anecdotal evidence indicate that Mousavi is far more popular than the President in cities.

• The official figures put support for the other main reformist candidate, Mehdi Karoubi, at below 1%. That is far less than what was expected, and a drastic departure from the pattern in previous elections.

Take a look at this excellent and interesting analysis of the voting figures provided, suggesting that they were invented, not the result of counts.

Chatham House original paper - (.pdf) - an authoritative look at the statistics, by researchers from the University of St Andrews and Chatham House, the London think-tank, which concludes:

  • In the conservative provinces of Mazandaran and Yazd, the number of votes cast exceeded the number of eligible voters. More.
  • If Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's victory was primarily caused by the increase in voter turnout, one would expect the data to show that theprovinces with the greatest increase in voter turnout would also showthe greatest 'swing' in support towards Ahmadinejad. This is not the case.
  • In a third of all provinces, the official results would require thatAhmadinejad took not only all former conservative voters, all former centrist voters, and all new voters, but also up to 44% of former reformist voters, despite a decade of conflict between these two groups.
  • In 2005, as in 2001 and 1997, conservative candidates, and Ahmadinejad in particular, were markedly unpopular in rural areas.
That the countryside always votes conservative is a myth. The claim that this year Ahmadinejad swept the board in more rural provinces flies in the face of these trends.

More here: Academic challenges the "Country-people Vote for AhmadiNajad" assumption.

5 Ahmedinajad is not a popular President

Iran's economy is a mess, and people are unhappy about a raft of everyday issues, from the price of food to joblessness.

There is a lot of evidence that as the country's population becomes younger, it is also growing more moderate. A reform candidate won Iran's presidency with 70% of the vote in 1997 and increased his share to 78% four years later. In 2005, the reform movement had fallen on lean times and many young voters stayed at home; Ahmadinejad squeaked into the presidency in a second round of voting widely seen as having been tampered with. If the results this time are legitimate, it means that two-thirds of Iran's voters have become more conservative over the past four years.

It's also worth noting that big turnouts are often a sign that voters want change and tend to favor the challenger. This time around, by contrast, the incumbent President won two-thirds of the votes cast, according to the government.

BBC piece here.

6 Turnout exceeded 100% in some cities

Taft, a town in the central province of Yazd, had a turnout of 141%, the site said, quoting an unnamed "political expert". Kouhrang, in Chahar Mahaal Bakhtiari province, recorded a 132% turnout while Chadegan, in Isfahan province, had 120%. - Guardian report.

7 The 13th June Letter
Robert Fisk (edited) :A photocopied letter from the Iranian minister of interior, Sadeq Mahsuli, to Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, written on Saturday 13 June, the day after the elections...it notes "your concerns for the 10th presidential elections" and "and your orders for Mr Ahmadinejad to be elected president", and continues "for your information only, I am telling you the actual results". Mr Mousavi has 19,075,623, Mr Karroubi 13,387,104, and Mr Ahmadinejad a mere 5,698,417.

A "Fatwa" ("religious decree") was issued by ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi which sanctions cheating in Friday’s presidential election ... published in an open letter written by a group of Ministry of Interior employees, the heads of the Election Supervision Committees.

A film exists of a clerk filling in numerous voting papers. Unfortunately I have lost track of this.

More here: Violence, irregularities, coup attempt.

24th June: Avaaz has enough money to run an exit poll of Iranians. Exit polls are usually accurate, and should always be used to check claimed results. GWB's second election ran against the exit polls.

Some of this information in motormouth video form.


James, London said...

None of these reasons are conclusive evidence that there was substantial rigging as to alter the result of the poll.

In polls leading up to the election, Ahmadinejad polled more than Mousavi by a ratio of 2:1, in line with the official results.

Even in his Azeri heartland, Mousavi trailed Ahmadinejad, receiving just 16% of support, compared to Ahmadinejad who had the support of 31%.

As such, I am thoroughly unconvinced as of yet, of claims of electoral fraud being pushed forward by Mr Mousavi. And I believe at this stage, that it would be a travesty and denial of the democratic will of the majority of Iranians for the election result to be annulled under such weak and insubstantial evidence of irregularity.

DocRichard said...

None of these items would indeed lead one to accept the Iranian regime's account. All of the items taken together do in fact lead us to believe that the election was stolen.

You prefer Opinion Polls to elections?

And what do you think of the Basijis response to peaceful demonstrations? No conclusive proof?

You Conservatives are such hard work! Still - have a nice day.

Dan said...

ur source is already xtremely biased

DocRichard said...

Hi Dan
Many thanks for taking the trouble to comment. However, in order to take part in a debate, it is necessary to provide reasons and evidence, as I did in the original piece.

If you mean by "biased", the fact that I have used sources other than the Iranian regime, I accept that completely, but hey, this is politics, which is all about taking views from diverse sections of the body politic.

If you are of the opinion that the election was not stolen, I would be more than interested to see what evidence you can bring to bear.