Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ahmadinejad claims win in election 2-to-1

Official results in the Iranian election show Ahmadinejad has won the election for President by a 2-to-1 margin. This is in contrast to the claim by Prime Minister Mousavi yesterday, which we reported on, that he would be the clear winner with internal results showing him with a 60%+ margin.

The election is clearly a contested one. Text messaging systems, which were used extensively by the Mousavi campaign, have mysteriously been down since before election night and pro-Mousavi websites are blocked or have little or no bandwidth. These are both mediums that are controlled by the Iranian government.

The results have enraged Mousavi supporters who are rightly claiming election fraud. While I do not want to criticize an election simply because its results were not to my liking, it seems that voter suppression and essentially vote buying were clearly happening in this election. When internal results in Mousavi's camp are contrasted by official results in such dramatic fashion, the results must be called into question. Combined with the aforementioned blocking of media used more heavily by the Mousavi campaign, the results become even more suspicious.

We cannot forget, either, that the Ahmadinejad administration saw a marked increase in social handouts in the months leading up to the election. While, of course, they claimed that it had nothing to do with the election, it is very questionable that Ahmadinejad would be claiming so much credit for helping out Iran's poor with an election so close.

I believe the Iranian population is much more progressive than what these results suggest, and I don't think that this will be the end of it.