Monday, June 29, 2009

Who Really Won?

The governmental body acting as Iran’s elections commission, the Guardian Council, today certified the results of the 12 June presidential election, paving the way for a second 4-year term for the incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmdinejad. His new term will start in August. Iran’s Supreme Leader had already “certified” the election results.

The turnout in the election was at 80%, one of the highest in the history of Islamic Republic. Normally, a high turnout is seen as an affirmation by the public of the legitimacy of the regime. This month, however, we witnessed the first-hand experience of 80% of the population in a process that soon became tainted. Ahmadinejad and Khamenei won the day, but it is not clear at all if the Islamic Republic came out as winner.

Two factors dominated the upheaval that surrounded the disputed election and the government’s handling of the dispute.

First, the Islamic Republic had to put all the pretensions aside and act ruthlessly, and in the process involving Khamenei directly with the suppression and the bloodshed that followed the election. Millions of very young Iranians, those who have been born and raised under the Islamic Republic, witnessed a different face of their supreme leader and of a system which had always claimed the high moral ground for espousing a moderate and democratic form of Islam. In less than thirty days, the Islamic Republic undid thirty years of image building. People chanting “Death to Dictator” told the story.

The government won the battle by killing and imprisoning the youths, but lost the war to win their hearts and minds. The future leaders of a democratic Iran will come from the ranks of the veterans of the uprising.

If the popular uprising and the social movement born on the streets of Iran constituted one side of the story, the growing, and by now antagonistic, power struggle among the leading figures of the regime constituted the other side of the upheaval, as detrimental to the future of the Islamic Republic. Hence my second point. The system came out never as damaged in its thirty year history.

Rafsanjani’s letter to Khamenei on the eve of the election coupled with firm stands by Mousavi and Karrubi against the government turned big-time loyalists (the current chairman of Assembly of Experts and former president; the former prime minister of the imposed war, the former speaker of Majlis) into opposition. The government seemed eager bringing them on! Again, the battle may have been won, although not as clear as the government wants to believe, but forcing these loyalists into the rank of opposition is loosing the war. And meanwhile, the extent of corruption eating into the very existence of the Islamic Republic became so public like at no times in the thirty years of the government of the downtrodden.

Khamenei and Ahmadinejad need not need to celebrate yet. What they gave up for a second term might come back and haunt them.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Nader, don't be so hard on the Iranian government. Let's remember it is made up of people, many of them are hard working and honest. Is it wise to blame the government, or regime as you say, due to the actions of some? If a cop is out of line in the west you might say it is the cop's fault, but in Iran it is the regime's fault?

Anonymous said...

I think you can say it's the regime's fault when it's the leadership who are "out of line."

Nader Uskowi said...


It is not me who is so hard on the Iranian government, it is the government that is so hard on the Iranian people.

Anonymous said...

The protesters were out of line. From early on in the crisis they destroyed public property and attacked police. They attacked a military building, and after warning shots were fired, some of the attackers were shot. Then the government said they will not issue permits for protests, making any more protests illegal. Yet the protesters came out, illegally, and were met with riot police and Basij. They also disturbed the peace at nights with their chants. Some police and Basij have probably acted out of line, as they do in all countries. But to say that the government and supreme leader ordered the shooting of protesters, which you said in one of your posts, without providing any proof, is absurd. The government denies it, and I tend to believe them. They say it was terrorist trying to fan the flame, possibly could have been US or Israel backed. No doubt they have an ax to grind with Iran.

The house of representatives issued a statement supporting law abiding people of Iran, but in all their points they condemned the government and government violence. They never condemned violence of protesters. On CNN they had a story about a cyber attack against Ahmadinejad's website, and literally, not just in tone, CNN praised this crime. They have little respect for Iran's peace and stability.

I agree Iranians should have more freedoms. Equal rights for women, the whole nine yards. But I support peaceful, legal means. Something that the American government, media, and their brainwashed followers tends not to do. Iran has powerful enemies who are trying to destabilize it. They are highly sophisticated and with deep pockets. They have been putting pressure on Iran and trying to mold public opinion against her for decades. It is not far fetched that they would try to fan the flames to cause a regime change if they find an opportunity.

Furthermore, I have not heard anyone mention how demographics probably has a lot to do with this crisis. Iran has a young population, many of them are of college age. At that age they tend to be naive, idealistic, and susceptible to conspiracy theories. And of course, full of hormones. It is the most likely age for anti government revolt. In Iran's case, the government's main fault, the lack of personal freedoms, affects this group especially.

This is the kind of analysis I would have liked to see from you. Not politically and emotionally charged postings.

Anonymous said...

can somebody bring any evidences about the election fraud ?
there is no evidences at all, except some rumors.
it means the protest was illegal. The Tehran high society should understand that iran is larger than north tehran enclave.

Nader Uskowi said...


On elections, the burden of proof is on governments. especially when there is such widespread suspicion of fraud. Islamic Republic, facing millions of people protesting the results could have easily annulled the election or put a run-off between the top two contenders. Please bear in mind this was not a free election in the first place. Peple had been given the choice to elect four candidates whose candidacy had been approved by the government. When faced with such massive protests, they should have called for new election on the ground that even an appearance of irregularities would not be acceptable.

On the irregularities, Mousavi and Karrubi have written letters to the Guard Council documenting in details all problems with the election.

Suffice to say that the Interior Ministry itself had said that at least in 50 precincts, there were more votes than voters! This fact alone was serious enough to annul the election.

The government chose another method, confronting young people who felt their votes were stolen. This is the crux of this post.

Anonymous said...

Dear Nader
at first sorry for my bad english,I am posting from austria(German language)
I see you can present no evidences as well, the Karubi/mussavi wrote letters, delivered aber no evidences.usually if they have eivdences, they can present it in the foreign medias.
to have more votes in a city as native voter ist not unusualall im iran, since there is no voter registration list, for example
The government officials can take the people from remote villages, give them some money, bring them to a polling station and they vote for Ahmadi nejad.
government hat a lot of possibility to cheat without breaking the law.

Anonymous said...

Give it a break Uskowi, AN maybe a SOB but he is very popular in the provinces of Iran. I know 2 years ago when I visited a Iran my host family being carpet weavers were so grateful that AN gave them medical, free university education for their children and pension for them. I would say the election was won fair and square, your Musovi will be shown to be an idiot without grass roots support