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Last week I predicted in this blog that the Iranian leadership would look into allegations of vote rigging, announce that problems had been found, and a new election would be held.

Wrong.

But interestingly, the Guardian Council announced that there were indeed irregularities in 50 of 170 districts, including cases where there were more votes than people. I will accept partial credit for that part of my prediction, and I think most people were surprised that the Iranian leadership admitted that much of a problem. That was very undictatorish. But the Guardian Council concluded that the problems weren't enough to change the result, so the election stands. That part of my prediction was wrong.

This makes me wonder how difficult it would be to do a survey of Iranian voters after the election and check it against the landslide results. Would the leadership allow such a survey in this climate, and would the results of the poll be reliable?

I'm no expert at checking for vote rigging, but I'm guessing the best you can do in a few days after an election is catch the most obvious stuff, such as noticing when there are more votes than residents. I think the Guardian Council is like any other bureaucracy and felt pressure to make a quick decision without the benefit of all the facts.

If a poll of people who actually voted comes up with a very different result than the actual election, that's hard to ignore. If the Iranian leadership allows such a survey, by some independent group such as the United Nations, then I think you have to believe the leadership thinks the result results are valid even if they are wrong.

If the Iranian leadership doesn't allow such a survey after the violence calms down, their credibility, or whatever is left of it, will be annihilated, and a reasonable observer has to assume there is a high likelihood they are also lying about building nuclear weapons. The stakes are high.

So I will go further out on a limb and predict that the Iranian leadership will allow an independent survey of Iranian voters. I'll bet most of the leadership wonders if the voting irregularities were worse than the 50 of 170 districts they know about.
 
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Jun 29, 2009
They are a Theocracy. They will never admit to mistakes. The Catholic church is working through its mistakes and has apologized for what they did to Galileo. I predict that the Iranian clergy will admit to mistakes on this election on a slower timescale to that, stay tuned in 2609!
 
 
Jun 26, 2009
The very same thing happened to us in 2004 and the poll results meant nothing. If you're unsure of my claims, please check out the book Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen?: Exit Polls, Election Fraud, and the Official Count by Steve Freeman and Joel Bleifuss.
 
 
Jun 25, 2009
News Flash!

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad just made a fatal error. He has started bad mouthing Barack Obama. This will inflame and infuriate the very group of Iranians who are actively objecting to the status quo in Iran ... the young adults who, like young adults around the world, greatly admire President Obama and see him as heralding in a new era of political enlightenment. A very silly thing to do, Mahmoud.

Webster
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 25, 2009
Phantom, Dilbertroid,

Both of you are deliberately misunderstanding and oversimplifying the Iranian political system. The effect of a given election is not in fact usually predetermined - if it were, Mohammad Khatami would never have been elected - when he was, it led to his administration not being very effective because the GC and supreme leader both blocked most of his attempts at reform (although he did serve two terms). The system is not entirely open (neither is ours, although our constraints are much less selective), but once it comes to a vote and if someone is on the ballot, the votes are expected to be fair. This time they probably were not, but there is the expectation. The mullahs are not monolithic and neither are the people. This is not distinct to Iranians living in Iran - I know Iranians where I live, some permanent expats, some attending university here, and their thoughts on the candidates and the system in general are varied. It's not the ugly dictatorship that either of you paint.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 25, 2009
This debate is going nowhere. Show me the mullah!

Webster
 
 
Jun 25, 2009
Iran is a religious dictatorship. Why is that so hard for everyone to figure out? The outcome of any election is predetermined and opposition to that outcome will be violently suppressed by the government. Iranians are living under a delusion if they think they have any kind of democracy.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 25, 2009
Hey, trippy64, your government already did that...overturned an election and put a dictator in power--quite a few years ago now but the same geography. Obama is a smart man who's studied history, and has seen where that sort of policy has gotten the USA in the past. Kudos to him for knowing to back off. And especially in light of the religious nature of Iranian politics--no separation of church and state there! The world doesn't need any more fanatically annoyed Muslims, convinced that the West is the root of all evil and must be destroyed, so let's not give them any more cause.

How would the citizens of the USA have felt if another country had shown up after the fiasco of the Bush-Gore election and alleged fraud? Or brought the UN in to do a survey after? Admittedly, the government wasn't shooting people in the streets or banning protests, but still...borders should be respected unless there is clear evidence that there are widespread abuses going on.

If the USA is concerned about how people are treated by their governments, there are many countries higher on the list to start with. North Korea is the obvious choice, but how about Sudan? Even huge-trade-partner-nobody-wants-to-piss-off China?
 
 
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 24, 2009
Hey Scott id just like to aske you if you`ve seen this vid http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2009/06/24/ac.shot.tues.cnn

Its a follow up on the story about the girl who tattoo`d her face full of stars. all thing aside i found one thing that poke me in the eye in this vid and its the fackt that the tattoos are in one shot on her Rigth side of her face and in the nex there on the Left side... Im i going crazy o did cnn just (as fox likes to put it) "Flippflopp" us?
 
 
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 24, 2009
Yeah, how come President Obama can't get his hands on the sort of histrionic speech writers that Reagan employed?

"Mr. Mullah, TEAR DOWN these burkas!"

A bit vulgar in connotation, but I think it might work. These Mullah's are bad boys and deserve a good Republican tongue lashing.

Webster
 
 
Jun 24, 2009
Scott, your erroneous assumption with this thread about the "election" in Iran are quite simple: you are assuming that the Mullahs care what the people think, or that even if Mousavi were declared the victor tomorrow, anything would change in Iran. It doesn't matter one whit who "won" the election.

The Mullahs are the real rulers of Iran. They choose the candidates, not the people. No matter who wins, the president of Iran is just a puppet for the Mullahs. The "Supreme Leader" (a.k.a. Supreme Dictator) Khamenei is really the target of the protests. You've heard the old "power corrupts" saw; well, the secret to being a good dictator is to pretend that the people really have a voice; that they really, really want you to rule over them. When the power goes to your head and blinds you, as it has with Khamenei and his cohort Mullahs, you forget that the people can still get really pissed if you stop pretending they have a voice.

The Mullahs picked Ahmadinejad; the Mullahs picked Mousavi. No matter which of them "wins," the result is the same: the Mullahs run the country, not the president or the parliament. What the people of Iran are protesting is the fact that it has now become clear that they have absolutely no voice in their government. The Mullahs will do whatever they want, and there's nothing short of revolution that will change anything in that country.

Hugo Chavez, Sean Penn's dearest friend, was a lot smarter. He tried to rig the election in Venezuela to change their constitution so that he could declare himself president for life. The people got wind of it, and the military realized that if something wasn't done, there would be a revolution. So they went to old Hugo and said, "If you don't back off from this sham election, we'll have no choice but to stage a coup to depose you to keep from having a revolution on our hands." Hugo backed off and decided just to go with sham presidential elections rather than a sham constitutional election, and the people cooled down.

The Mullahs weren't so smart. They thought that 30 years of dictatorial rule and repression had so cowed the citizens that they could do anything they wanted and the sheeple would go along silently. They should have let the election results go ahead and have Mousavi declared the victor. They still would have had all the power, but the people would not have had a rallying cry for their opposition. They (the Mullahs) didn't, and now they're facing having to violently suppress this opposition to their rule. It is going to make Tiananmen Square look like a children's picnic.

But don't worry, Scott. President Obama's words will turn them around. He's now come out with an absolutely clear, forceful statement. He has called upon the government of Iran to "stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people." I can hear the Mullahs responding to the power of Obama's great persuasiveness right now. Maybe next he'll call for your "independent survey" idea to make everything warm and fuzzy again. I'm sure they'll go along, because Obama stands for hope and change. Why, I do believe that all of their violent actions toward their own people have ceased, and I think I can hear them singing "Kum ba Yah."

Or maybe it's laughter that I'm hearing.
 
 
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 24, 2009
@conotor

Bomb the Iranian and North Korean nuclear power facilities! What an interesting idea. But you really should include Canada in the list. We simply can't be trusted under this heading. There is a credible rumour circulating in Canada that we are secretly stockpiling strategic nuclear hockey pucks capable of being "slap shot" into low earth orbit.

There is another rumour that we have found a way to create nuclear powered cyborg beavers. Personally, I find this to be far fetched, but the speculation is that the cyborg beavers are capable to chewing up the US eastern seaboard in a matter of hours.

Yes, the US should give serious consideration to bombing Canada's nuclear power plants. Then we can put in an insurance claim (most are insured by AIG, I suspect) and build some new ones. Our nuclear facilities are very old and, like our submarines, they leak.

Webster
 
 
Jun 24, 2009
This is what I wrote last week:

"Mousavi will be arrested for destabilizing Iran. This will further inflame his supporters leading to ongoing unrest which the government will brutally suppress - and which, in time, will lead to regime change.

Don't make the mistake of thinking the Iranian government is cleverer than it is. The educated youth are not going to stand for the confrontational, isolationist policies of the past for much longer. The old guard is doing what old guards always do - trying to hold back change that is beyond their comprehension and beyond their power to stop. They will fail - but a lot of people will die in the process"

I was also wrong. Mousavi has not been arrested - yet - but many of his political aids have been.

As for the rest, the brutality of the suppression is tempered only by the regime's inability to completely shut out foreign (and domestic) observers. (That this all came on the heels of a global remembrance of the Tiananamen Square massacre probably helped sober a few folks up. "Gee guys, if we get caught on tape murdering our own people - it might not blow over in a few months after all.")

Change is coming. It could be a matter of months, a or a matter of years, but there has been a fundamental shift in the culture in Iran - and that is something the government cannot easily undo. The people are waiting for their Gorbachev. Mousavi may or may not be it.
 
 
-3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 24, 2009
I think we really need to blow up any start of a nuclear program Iran has. North Korea is enough of a problemb. If Iran just wanted energy, they would have used some source that didn't get everyone nervous about them. A few power plants is not worth the entire world thinking it has to do something about you.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 23, 2009
I think Mr. Wampus has it absolutely dead on. The election is final, nothing to see here, move along. Unfortunately, I'm really not sure there is enough resistance yet to change anything, either, at least not soon. It could be the very early beginnings of the end, though.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 23, 2009
I'm no expert in the field of what you do in a country where a rigged vote is suspected - although I imagine my reaction would be to grab valuables and head to the airport immediately - however is a survey really a good idea?

Firstly there are the usual methodology problems of ensuring an accurate sample and a properly phrased question etc. Thats not easy in itself - hence why most opinion polls we see in the West have to be adjusted after the data is collected to allow for the sampling methodology. More importantly it seems rather naive to think that you could actually get an honest answer out of people. Either because as some have already said they are scared, or that given the potential for upheaval, chaos, anarchy etc. and what they might gain/lose from it, they might just lie to advance their personal agenda.

If the UN or other body have ever run such a survey, and it has actually fixed the electoral problems, then I take it all back, and this post is a huge load of monkey poo. But it seems a rather optimistic solution to me.
 
 
Jun 23, 2009
How is allowing a widespread survey of Iranians who voted different from simply re-running the election? Iran's rulers have already refused to do that, and they're backing it up with widespread beatings of protestors (and the occasional shooting, though that seems rare enough that it's unlikely to be official policy).

If the regime had drawn out the process, perhaps made a few small concessions, and waited for much of the anger to dissipate. The fact that they're not, to me, means that they got the result they wanted - stolen or not - and are not willing to listen to anyone who says differently.
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 23, 2009
Trippy,

His willingness to comment as much as he has on it has already proven unwise. Commenting more would be foolhardy beyond belief. There is nothing we can do in another nation's elections, particularly one where the people, regardless of their political persuasion, remember our involvement in removing an elected leader and restoring a dictator. The wisest course of action would've been to refrain from any show of support for anyone whatsoever. It is dissapointing that he has acted and spoken as much as he has.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 23, 2009
There was a survey of voters after the 1972 Presidential Election. McGovern won in a landslide. I doubt that any meaningful results would come from a survey even if it was possible to do one.
 
 
Jun 23, 2009
Sounds like Iran's leaders learned a few things from Papa Joe Stalin.

"Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who COUNT the votes decide EVERYTHING.' - J. Stalin
 
 
Jun 23, 2009
I doubt an actual pole will happen for the reason Jakesdad and Guerre and a few others have already mentioned. I find it hard to imagine though how you connect a rigged election with nuclear weapons. They lied about this so they're lying about that? Certainly when a suspect lies about their whereabouts (for example) it leaves the impression of guilt with the interrogator, but we don't convict people of murder because they lied about where they were. Nor should we assume that because the rigged elections, they are building nuclear armaments.
 
 
 
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