Sunday, June 19, 2005

Did I mention the Iranian election was a fraud?

Dan Darling,

Predictably enough, Juan Cole has bought into Iranian propaganda hook, line, and sinker and even manages the following:

Turnout was about 60 percent, better than expected. That is slightly bigger than the turnout in Iraq's recent elections.

That's the party line, anyway.


But as Hodar notes:

Driving around Tehran, you'll see Rafsanjani 'supporters' are everywhere. But don't make a mistake.

Many of these young boys and girls on the streets are not going to vote Rafsanjani. He is just an excuse for them to gather and have fun. The same way they gather during religious Shia festivals for Imam Hossein. They look like they are genuinely interested in what they do, but if you start talking to them, you'd see they are probably checking out hot girls and boys behind you.

Along the same lines, polls are usually not reliable when it comes to Rafsanjani. Best example was sixth parliamentary elections in which he was at worst among the top five, but ended up in 30th place.

I believe one third of survey respondents lie about who they are going to vote for. Rafsanjani's name is enough to scare many ordinary Iranians. They think they'd be in trouble if their answers are not what they guess the interviewee wants. They are such smart actors in this game.

Yep, there's that "pragmatic realpolitiker" whose very name is enough to frighten the average Iranian. He's definitely the guy to do business with in Iran!

Here's another account of that "huge turnout" that seems to be supported by The Scotsman:

COUNTING began in Iran's presidential elections last night, with low turnouts at some polling stations suggesting that calls for a boycott by pro-reformers had had some effect.

In the wealthy suburbs of northern Tehran, where opposition to the country's theocracy is strongest, some polling stations closed with only a fraction of their ballot papers used ...

... In an attempt to undermine the boycott, Iran's unelected ruler, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called on the nation's 41 million voters to turn out to prove that the country is a working democracy.

But at a polling station in a school in Vasnak, an affluent suburb of northern Tehran, only 150 voters had arrived by mid-afternoon. "We have been given 1,000 ballot papers, so it seems the turn-out has been a lot lower than expected," said Mohsen Jannati, the school's headmaster, who supervised the voting.

"This is because it is not a democratic system and people have stayed at home as a result. I will not be voting myself either, as long as the guardian council filters the candidates that we are allowed to choose."

Sounds right to me. But then again, the outcome of this election was decided long before anyone set foot in a polling booth, as it seems one of the "approved" candidates is just figuring out. Given that, perhaps Juan (whom I suspect knows far better than to parrot the Iranian line given his actual academic work on Shi'ism) could spare us the faux moral equivalency he sees between Ahmadinejad and American neoconservatives (here's one for you, Juan: how many political opponents of Cheney, Feith, or Perle have been ordered murdered?), blaming Satan, err, Bush for the hardliners ascension, and telling us all how Zarqawi doesn't exist or isn't a major threat (this is a toned-down version of what was originally on this entry). There are a lot of reasons why the hardliners are in ascension right now, why they rigged the last two elections, etc. And believe it or not, you can't blame all of them on George W. Bush.