Friday, December 16, 2005

Iran meddling in Iraq elections

Iran Focus: a pro-MEK Website
Iranian agents in Iraq carried out a widespread campaign of poll manipulation to ensure victory by Shiite groups allied to Tehran in Thursday’s presidential election in the Islamic Republic’s eastern neighbour, according to reports received by Iran Focus.

A source inside Iran’s clerical establishment told Iran Focus that Ayatollah Akhtari, who heads the Ahl-e Beyt World Assembly, a government body tasked with carrying out the policies of the Islamic Republic abroad, had instructed the Revolutionary Guards Qods’ (Jerusalem) Force to mobilise all groups with ties to Iran in Iraq to take part in demonstrations in favour of list “555 in the polls, which represented the United Iraqi Alliance. READ MORE

The UIA is led by the Shiite cleric Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, who heads the Iran-backed Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI).

Other reports indicate that in the Iraqi cities of al-Kut in the north and Suwairah in the province of Wassit Iranian agents offered food, drinks, and clothing to Iraqis as bribes to have them come out and vote in favour of list 555.

Another tactic used to gain votes was the use of mosques. In a number of mosques in the two cities clerics announced from the loudspeakers that all Iraqis that did not vote for list 555 would “go to hell”.

In the city of Khanaqin, ink used to dip the fingers of voters who had cast their ballots was modified so that it could be easily washed off and many members of SCIRI and its armed wing, the Badr Brigade, voted up to 15 times.

Members of the National Guard in the city were also told that they would be expelled from their posts if they did not vote for the pro-Iran lists.

A report from the city of Baladruz said that when people arrived at a number of polling stations in the morning, they found many of the ballot boxes had already been stuffed with votes.

To prevent people from coming out to vote in areas of Baghdad likely to vote against pro-Iran Shiite groups, rumours were spread that water had been poisoned and people were advised to stay in their homes.