Ahmadinejad won. Get over it

politico

– Flynt Leverett directs The New America Foundation’s Iran Project and teaches international affairs at Pennsylvania State university. Hillary Mann Leverett is CEO of STRATEGA, a political risk consultancy. Both worked for many years on Middle East issues for the U.S. government, including as members of the National Security Council staff. The views expressed are their own. —

This article originally appeared on Politico.com.

Without any evidence, many U.S. politicians and “Iran experts” have dismissed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection Friday, with 62.6 percent of the vote, as fraud.mousavi

They ignore the fact that Ahmadinejad’s 62.6 percent of the vote in this year’s election is essentially the same as the 61.69 percent he received in the final count of the 2005 presidential election, when he trounced former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. The shock of the “Iran experts” over Friday’s results is entirely self-generated, based on their preferred assumptions and wishful thinking.

Although Iran’s elections are not free by Western standards, the Islamic Republic has a 30-year history of highly contested and competitive elections at the presidential, parliamentary and local levels. Manipulation has always been there, as it is in many other countries.
But upsets occur — as, most notably, with Mohammed Khatami’s surprise victory in the 1997 presidential election. Moreover, “blowouts” also occur — as in Khatami’s reelection in 2001,
Ahmadinejad’s first victory in 2005 and, we would argue, this year.

Like much of the Western media, most American “Iran experts” overstated Mirhossein Mousavi’s “surge” over the campaign’s final weeks. More important, they were oblivious — as in 2005 — to Ahmadinejad’s effectiveness as a populist politician and campaigner. American “Iran experts” missed how Ahmadinejad was perceived by most Iranians as having won the nationally televised debates with his three opponents — especially his debate with Mousavi.

Before the debates, both Mousavi and Ahmadinejad campaign aides indicated privately that they perceived a surge of support for Mousavi; after the debates, the same aides concluded that Ahmadinejad’s provocatively impressive performance and Mousavi’s desultory one had boosted the incumbent’s standing. Ahmadinejad’s charge that Mousavi was supported by Rafsanjani’s sons — widely perceived in Iranian society as corrupt figures — seemed to play well with voters.
ahmadinejad
Similarly, Ahmadinejad’s criticism that Mousavi’s reformist supporters, including Khatami, had been willing to suspend Iran’s uranium enrichment program and had won nothing from the West for doing so tapped into popular support for the program — and had the added advantage of being true.

More fundamentally, American “Iran experts” consistently underestimated Ahmadinejad’s base of support. Polling in Iran is notoriously difficult; most polls there are less than fully professional and, hence, produce results of questionable validity. But the one poll conducted before Friday’s election by a Western organization that was transparent about its methodology — a telephone poll carried out by the Washington-based Terror-Free Tomorrow from May 11 to 20 — found Ahmadinejad running 20 points ahead of Mousavi. This poll was conducted before the televised debates in which, as noted above, Ahmadinejad was perceived to have done well while Mousavi did poorly.

American “Iran experts” assumed that “disastrous” economic conditions in Iran would undermine Ahmadinejad’s reelection prospects. But the International Monetary Fund projects that Iran’s economy will actually grow modestly this year (when the economies of most Gulf Arab states are in recession).

A significant number of Iranians — including the religiously pious, lower-income groups, civil servants and pensioners — appear to believe that Ahmadinejad’s policies have benefited them.

And, while many Iranians complain about inflation, the TFT poll found that most Iranian voters do not hold Ahmadinejad responsible. The “Iran experts” further argue that the high turnout on June 12 — 82 percent of the electorate — had to favor Mousavi. But this line of analysis reflects nothing more than assumptions.

Some “Iran experts” argue that Mousavi’s Azeri background and “Azeri accent” mean that he was guaranteed to win Iran’s Azeri-majority provinces; since Ahmadinejad did better than Mousavi in these areas, fraud is the only possible explanation.

But Ahmadinejad himself speaks Azeri quite fluently as a consequence of his eight years serving as a popular and successful official in two Azeri-majority provinces; during the campaign, he artfully quoted Azeri and Turkish poetry — in the original — in messages designed to appeal to Iran’s Azeri community. (And we should not forget that the supreme leader is Azeri.) The notion that Mousavi was somehow assured of victory in Azeri-majority provinces is simply not grounded in reality.

With regard to electoral irregularities, the specific criticisms made by Mousavi — such as running out of ballot paper in some precincts and not keeping polls open long enough (even though polls stayed open for at least three hours after the announced closing time) — could not, in themselves, have tipped the outcome so clearly in Ahmadinejad’s favor.

Moreover, these irregularities do not, in themselves, amount to electoral fraud even by American legal standards. And, compared with the U.S. presidential election in Florida in 2000, the flaws in Iran’s electoral process seem less significant.

In the wake of Friday’s election, some “Iran experts” — perhaps feeling burned by their misreading of contemporary political dynamics in the Islamic Republic — argue that we are witnessing a “conservative coup d’état,” aimed at a complete takeover of the Iranian state.

But one could more plausibly suggest that if a “coup” is being attempted, it has been mounted by the losers in Friday’s election. It was Mousavi, after all, who declared victory on Friday even before Iran’s polls closed. And three days before the election, Mousavi supporter Rafsanjani published a letter criticizing the leader’s failure to rein in Ahmadinejad’s resort to “such ugly and sin-infected phenomena as insults, lies and false allegations.” Many Iranians took this letter as an indication that the Mousavi camp was concerned their candidate had fallen behind in the campaign’s closing days.

In light of these developments, many politicians and “Iran experts” argue that the Obama administration cannot now engage the “illegitimate” Ahmadinejad regime. Certainly, the administration should not appear to be trying to “play” in the current controversy in Iran about the election. In this regard, President Barack Obama’s comments on Friday, a few hours before the polls closed in Iran, that “just as has been true in Lebanon, what can be true in Iran as well is that you’re seeing people looking at new possibilities” was extremely maladroit.

From Tehran’s perspective, this observation undercut the credibility of Obama’s acknowledgment, in his Cairo speech earlier this month, of U.S. complicity in overthrowing a democratically elected Iranian government and restoring the shah in 1953.

The Obama administration should vigorously rebut any argument against engaging Tehran following Friday’s vote. More broadly, Ahmadinejad’s victory may force Obama and his senior advisers to come to terms with the deficiencies and internal contradictions in their approach to Iran. Before the Iranian election, the Obama administration had fallen for the same illusion as many of its predecessors — the illusion that Iranian politics is primarily about personalities and finding the right personality to deal with. That is not how Iranian politics works.

The Islamic Republic is a system with multiple power centers; within that system, there is a strong and enduring consensus about core issues of national security and foreign policy, including Iran’s nuclear program and relations with the United States. Any of the four candidates in Friday’s election would have continued the nuclear program as Iran’s president; none would agree to its suspension.

Any of the four candidates would be interested in a diplomatic opening with the United States, but that opening would need to be comprehensive, respectful of Iran’s legitimate national security interests and regional importance, accepting of Iran’s right to develop and benefit from the full range of civil nuclear technology — including pursuit of the nuclear fuel cycle — and aimed at genuine rapprochement.

Such an approach would also, in our judgment, be manifestly in the interests of the United States and its allies throughout the Middle East. It is time for the Obama administration to get serious about pursuing this approach — with an Iranian administration headed by the reelected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

© 2009 Capitol News Company LLC

Picture top right: A supporter of defeated presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi holds up a photograph of him while attending a rally in Tehran June 15, 2009. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

Picture top left: Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad looks on during his first news conference after the presidential elections in Tehran June 14, 2009. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

54 comments

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One of the most thoughtful analyses I’ve read. Of course only time may tell what assumptions or analysis might be more prescient, but this one certainly seems unusually sophisticated and nuanced compared to so much of what I have read in the US media.

Posted by Daniel Yakoubian | Report as abusive

what a load of rubbish this article is. the interior ministry admitted the votes were rigged and the true numbers were given to mousavi.
get your facts right please before writing.

Posted by ebbi | Report as abusive

1> voter turn out supported reformis
2> declared victory while they were still counting votes
3> The protest of more than 2 million people from Enghelab to Azadi shows how many people would not have voted for him
4> If he won fair and square, why did he have to attack the opponents headquarter, arrest 100 reformists, 10 reporters are missing, 4 reporters are arrested, Tehran university student dormatory attack, Isfahan University dormatory attack, shooting quiet protestor in Azadi and killing people and injuring more

in all other countries, when one wins, the media gets a chance to interview the opponent, in Iran the winner rallies their worst monsters on hand with guns, bats and baton, knives and turns them lose on the people who supposedly voted for him. Is that a winner?

Please search youtube for videos, talk to IRANIANS and get more information before you support a dictator like Ahmadinejad.

Posted by AzadehIran | Report as abusive

wow, finally an american journalist who actually presents facts and figures against ideaologies and islamophobia. although i’m not a fan of ahmadinejad, i’m sick of the western media trying to divide the iranians over this issue. we are only getting the perspectives of a few thousand in tehran while the view of millions of iranians all over the country are ignored. Perhaps, this is being done to some how justify israel’s desire to bomb iran.

Posted by Syed | Report as abusive

If I lived in Iran I dont think I would admit to an intention of voting for the opposition either, at least not to a telephone caller who said he worked for a market research firm.

Posted by peter | Report as abusive

Sigh! At last an analysis published in the US media that has some solid logical reasoning behind it! I live in Iran and by no means do _the majority_ of the electorate favor Mousavi the way it has been recently portrayed. Lopsided analyses published in the Western press only mislead their audiences as to what the majority in rural and deprived areas in Iran think.
BTW, one interesting fact is that the supporters of Mousavi being from the elite are communication- and IT-literate, so they manage to get themselves organized and heard! The supporters of Ahmadi Nejad are less advantaged in that respect; but this doesn’t mean that they aren’t there and that they don’t form a majority!!!

Posted by camy | Report as abusive

you are missing the point, which could be intentional depending on what your motivations are …

the election results do not matter as much as this opportunity for the people to unite and oppose the government. this is opposition to the whole regime, including their islamic constitution.

the point is that the islamic regime must go all together, including khamanei, ahmadinejad, mousavi, rafsanjani, khatami, and the rest of them. they’ve leeched on this nation long enough!

there is a good chance that this movement will achieve that goal, if the world powers support the people and do not interfere in a negative way, including disillusioning press!

Posted by Pelucid2002 | Report as abusive

The author of this commentary doesn’t know anything about iran. in past election total votes were 27 million, it’s 39 millions this time. the 12 millions that vote this time are “silent votes”, majority of them don’t believe in islamic republic fundamentally and usually don’t vote in elections, to not strengthen the government. the reason they decided to participate this time was to make a change against ahmadinejad. Now official results say all the “silent votes” has gone to ahmadinejad, which nobody with the least knowledge of iran society would believe. the correct votes are between 27-29 million for reformists and between 10-12 million for ahmadinejad, according to pre-election polls and according to experts who live here and know iran society (not the ones who have read somethings about it).

Posted by Mohammad | Report as abusive

how do you see this as “unusually sophiticated” or “most thoughtful analyses”? for say, in 2005 election when Ahmadinejad won 60% of only 50% of the eligible people who voted and were mostly his hardcore fans, but this time 85% turnout from 48 million eligible people have voted. this is the crowd that Mousavi brought to election and you see all over Iran these days.

Posted by Mohamadreza | Report as abusive

Factors missed:

The last “record turnout” elected the last “reformer” candidate, whose policies were so stifled by the ruling clerics that in the last election, many sat out in disgust.

This time, a new record turnout occurred when there was renewed hope of the odd chance that a “president” could change things in spite of the system.

Vote count required that representatives from all parties could witness (according to their own election laws, and the basis of the publicly released letter to the Supreme leader, who caved in to demands for an investigation after the guardian council agreed with the argument and asked openly why the Supreme Leader was certifying an election that only the guardian council had the authority to do).

Democracy works like this: Secret ballots means I vote in private. Open election means all involved count the votes and agree upon the results.

It’s easy to cherry pick “reports” that “only come from a small group in the capital” are “causing trouble, while the internet is flooded with smuggled images and footage of events throughout the country the Iranian government is trying everything to suppress, and those risking life and limb are getting out to any who would only listen.

Posted by Brian Foulkrod | Report as abusive

How can anyone say with certainty that they know who Iranian election?

The fact that the Ahmadinejad was said to have won, a mere two hours after the polls closed, even though all ballots cast in Iranian elections are paper and have to be counted by hand, should at the least, cause the author and others to wonder about the veracity of the results.

Posted by Amy | Report as abusive

It is really refreshing, from a European standpoint, to read opinions which more reflect the status quo in a country and relates to “other countries -other cultures”. The article writers are without doubt – looking behind politically directed journalism. A lot of people in Europe will be pleased when a greater percentage of the US population have this ability – or even possibility.
Not all aspects of “the American way of life” are positive export factors. A good start with Barack Obama though !

Posted by G. Garrett | Report as abusive

As an Iranian with an insight of Iran’s culture and demographic facts, I did not find the article accurate and factful. This article would be regarded as a thoughtful one in the minds of people completely unaware of the realities of today’s Iran. The article concludes based on phrases such as “Iraniens believe…” or “Iraniens did…” which ignores the fact that Iran nowadays is a highly polarized society. The surges are indeed the rightful needs of a large group of people ignored for a long time in the expense of accepting other groups’ needs and emotions.
Iran has one of the youngest populations. The needs and emotions of young and educated people are much different from those of conservative ruling minority. In your articles, please do not go so far away to dismiss this fact of life. The population is also one of the most politically active populations in the middle east. These people have made two revolutions in the past 100 years in search for democracy and are in their way to the third.

Posted by Babak | Report as abusive

Suggesting that the election results were fair and true simply does not make much sense. The hundreds of thousands demonstrating were obviously Mousavi supporters. The hundred thousand demonstrating in support of Ahmadi were bussed into the capital or forced to show up or were part of the Sepah or the militias supporting the Mullahs.

Why is Reuter publishing such article is a puzzle. Maybe the West prefers that Iran would remain in grip of dictatorship.

Posted by Frank Halary | Report as abusive

In typical “western” manners, all eyes of the world are now turned to Iran. Left and right we are seeing flurries of opinions, analysis, advice and other thoughts on who’s to blame, who’s right, who wrong and more importantly what everyone should do/say/feel.

Iran, much like China and any other countries in the hot spot these days, does not need the condescending approval of any other nations. Their people control their own destiny. We cannot be characters for each of history’s chapters.

The voting process in Iran is not my business, China’s human rights isn’t my business, Vanuatu’s policy on dry figs isn’t my business. I may have opinions and deep thoughts on the matter but it is not my place to lecture anyone on the matter, especially when my words only engage me to the slightest while safely hiding thousand of miles away from any implications. If my expertise is required, I’ll be more than happy to pitch in, if not, I will keep to myself.

That’s the problem of the modern wolrd. Those who see themselves as ‘successful’ civilizations wish to spread their ideals onto others. While the principle starts from a good intention, it is inappropriate and feels invasive to the receiving parties.

If Iran is on the mist of a civil war, so be it. If the government is about to be toppled by mobs of disgruntled citizens, so be it. If the opposition is about to be crushed in a bloodshed by the government, so be it.

We are only spectator to these historical events and as such, we shall keep our commentary within our circles rather than preaching to those see as less fortunate than us simply because they haven’t adopted our ideals.

Posted by Outsider | Report as abusive

Sir,

thank you for offering a platform to the article by Flynt Leverett, Hillary Mann Leverett. I would like to draw the attention of the reader to the one fact / circumstance that they did not mention: the position of so-called color revolutions is the strategic plan Strategic Plan – Fiscal Years 2007-2012″ of the State Department as made public on April 14th, 2007. What we witness in Iran is just another color revolution, this time in the color green. The scenario is a copy of the previous ones: the opposition leader loses the elections, calls “FRAUD” even before the polling stations close, and declares himself the winner. The network for mobilising his (paid or unpaid) followers to the street has been created and put in place even before the elections. The network organises mass demonstrations, organises support by all the western news agencies and mass media, and makes the world believe that something is terribly wrong, only to be redressed by calling the loser the winner.
We have seen this many times these last years. How many time will follow?

Posted by Ida Koutstaal | Report as abusive

By the looks of it this gentleman seems to me as an Iranian (and incidently from Azari ethnic background) doesn’t have faintest idea what he is talking about. Ahmadinejad speaking Azari fluently! Are you joking? Do you even know what “Mir” in Mousavi’s name means? That three letters name would gaurantee him victory let alone being from Azari ethnic group. I have reports from my family members that the ratio of the votes was somthing like 6 to 1 in favour of Mousavi.

Posted by Mo | Report as abusive

Seems the disbelief in the west at the possibility of Ahadinejad being reelected mirrors the disbelief in Europe that George W could be reelected.

Mr. Ahmadinejad appealed to rural people and to the poor. People on the internet and those that can speak English are liberal and middle class.

It seems at least possible, if not probable, that Mr Ahmadinejad really was relected.

Posted by Dafydd | Report as abusive

I didn’t know the U.S. media could be sophisticated or nuanced?

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

Interesting, those people who misread this election also apparently fooled the Iranian people as well. Seems that the largest post revolution protest must be a creation of those misinformed Americans hmm? I know it’s cool to be the one who goes against the popular sentiment, so I give kudos for going against the grain, but I wonder who is really misinformed in this case. I guess those 7 people who died are also just figments of Western imagination and the fact that the Iranian government is considering a recount also argue that this whole movement was overblown.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

The writers may well be correct, but the article makes no comment on what was being reported yesterday evening, that Mousavi was called in to the supreme leader to be told he’d won, and that he should not be too triumphalist about it, before, shortly afterwards, the very opposite result was announced. A rather significant fact, if true, wouldn’t you agree?

Posted by Matthew | Report as abusive

“They ignore the fact that Ahmadinejad’s 62.6 percent of the vote in this year’s election is essentially the same as the 61.69 percent he received in the final count of the 2005 presidential election”

These figures ring alarms bells. They suggest that just 0.91% of the population have shifted their loyalties in the last 4 years despite very different results in opinion polls leading up to the election.

I’d argue that this is NOT a confirmation of victory at all, but rather it suggests that somebody thought ‘if we choose a random number close to the last one it’ll seem plausible’. It worked on the Leverett’s but I don’t buy it.

Posted by Kristen | Report as abusive

Edward,

there is no evidence that the “Iranian people” believe in the theory about the “massive fraud”. Mousavi is very good at mobilizing masses of supporters, but that in itself proves nothing.

The fact that people were killed is irrelevant for the question about fraud and a recount is simply a very reasonable thing to do if there _is_ widespread suspicion about fraud.

Posted by uffe | Report as abusive

Oh, and Matthew, that is obviously simply a rumour. Too much is being made out of rumour, speculation, anecdotes and conspiracy theorizing these days.

Posted by uffe | Report as abusive

Fascinating use of the phrase ‘nuclear fuel cycle’, instead of the more accurate ‘bomb project’. That bit of dishonesty makes the whole article seem very dodgy. How could a nation incapable of refining its own oil make a civil nuclear program work? But it can undoubtedly build a bomb.

And what gives the authors the right to sneer at young people chafing against corrupt theocratic rule? Perhaps they’ve forgotten that ordinary people can sometimes make history without the permission of elites.

Good luck to the youth of Iran. Their nation deserves better than to be run by geriatric bigots and represented by a semi-deranged Holocaust denier.

Posted by valdemar | Report as abusive

This editorial has been fully discredited by any number of sources. Gary Sick, 583.com, and you know, the million people who marched in Tehran yesterday, as well as numerous cities in a country that has a PREDOMINANTLY URBAN and PREDOMINANTLY YOUNG population. I cannot believe Reuters reprinted it.

Apparently despite the overwhelming majority for the incumbent the Iranian government seems awfully keen on keeping any news getting out. I continue to forget that only the West lies, fixes elections, controls the press etc. The Iranian theocracy is a model of modernity and freedom, despite all the demonizing by the West. I apologize for thinking the Iranians are intelligent people who can’t see past Western manipulation and incitement. I forgot that the West is always wrong and that the only reason that anyone would want any change must be a Western tool.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

Shooting innocent protestors for refusing to move on. Looks like Iran has reached the 1970s at last.

And it wonders why people demonise it as a repressive theocracy. Go figure.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

How could anyone disbelieve the accuracy of the elections?

Mahmoud has been accepted by both Russia AND China as the legitimate president. What more proof do we need?

We all know how honest Putin is with his dealings. His nation’s elections have always been exemplars of transparency and democracy.

And good old Hu? His country hasn’t had a rigged election since 1949. Or, for that matter, any elections at all.

The shooting of an innocent protestor must have been a simple misunderstanding. Which happened seven times in succesion.

Now lets get back to discussing Iran’s non-hostile, self defensive, non-nuclear bomb, nuclear bomb program.

Posted by Haha | Report as abusive

I don’t have much opinion here, just want to add a point. People are using the quickness of the victory announcement as a reason for it possible being a rigged election, however here in the states we knew Obama had won before an hour passed on the East coast only time zone.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Oh were they counting the ballots in the US election by hand like they are in Iran? The internet continues to prove that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
Anyways, never believe the corporate Western media, believe those bloggers whose agenda matches yours or the state press of a totalitarian theocracy. They don’t have a bias, or if they do it’s a bias you agree with. This isn’t to say the western media is much better, but don’t act like other sources lack bias or agenda, they just happen to be the same bias or agenda you have.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

Ed, was that little shot directed at me? I was just adding a potential point, if that’s wrong, my deepest and most sincere apologies to you oh enlightened one.

I dunno what your rant about the media was about, it’d be foolish to take any media source for fact without further research.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Again – a lot of random sarcastic ranting by the FRAUD!! crowd – very little of substance.

Posted by uffe | Report as abusive

For many weeks now, fringe liberals have unceasingly stood up for Iran and what it does.

And now they are seeing Iran shoot innocent people. Almost as if the country is the very repressive theocracy it was always accused of being.

We will get a load of cognative dissonance out of this, I’ll bet.

Posted by Markov Polov | Report as abusive

No need to comment, I’ll let reality speak for me, you keep believing that line from the Iranian state press. What do the non fraud people have to offer than the party line from Tehran? If you believe what they say be my guest, I’m sure you think they are working on civilian nuclear power too. I bet you think those journalists were intent on slandering your pals in the DPRK too.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

As an Iranian and an activist I can assure everyone that the election results announced by the gov. in Iran is totally fake. The evidences are so many that it hurts to list them all. We had several polling stations in the US and in all the votes of Mousavi has been 2-3 times that of Ahmadinejad. I spoke to a friend who was election monitor (official monitor by interior ministry) and in a village around Boroujerd and even in the village Mousavi had 500 votes VS Ahmadinejad of 400. the Cities are obviously pro Mousavi anyway. This was a coupe of the rev. gaurds and Ahmadinejad and his ultra right backers. They use this game to show their opponents are sour losers, but there is no truth to it. Just ask anyone who speak Farsi to monitor the sites and let you know what is happening.

Posted by Jamal | Report as abusive

The most interesting thing is how the lefties around the world are responding to this situation.

They spent months supporting Iran. Admiring how it ‘stands up to the evil empire’. Insisting that the Iranians have a right to do as they please. Some even insisting that Iran has a right to nuclear weapons.

And now that same Iranian government is shooting innocent protestors, and arresting people for peaceful assembly. Acting just like the repressive theocracy the conservatives always accused Iran of being.

So the Lefties start mumbling about how it must be an American coup. Or a oil conspiracy of some sort. Or just something we should quietly ignore and not pay much attention to.

Yet these responses seem very mild, compared to the vitriol which usually issues from their keyboards.

In short, they realise they have been backing the wrong horse. And all the critisism the republicans heaped on Iran in the last eight years might just be well deserved.

But the Left will be damned if they will ever admit it….even to themselves.

Posted by It makes you think | Report as abusive

18Jun 2009 63% margin for a winner and 33% for loser is NOT out of place. Even May09 elections in India, the revered and mainstream party BJP, the loser, also got
around 33%. It does not mean the elections were rigged.
Compared to BJP’s Advani, the iranian loser is UNKNOWN
AND NOBODY even though he once was iranian PM

Posted by jjmk4546 | Report as abusive

It makes you think,

Could I please have your opinion on the governments in Saudi Arabia and Egypt who were Bush’s great pals and are Obama’s great pals.

Since I’m not a Republican party-line voter like yourself, you probably lump me into the “lefty” category and it’s 100% hypocritical to be anti-Iran and not anti-Saudi Arabia and Egypt. At least there’s a sham version of democracy in Iran they don’t even attempt it those 2 countries.

Iran’s democracy reminds me of ours, no matter who you vote for in Iran it’s not going to change anything because of the higher powers. No matter who you vote for in the presidential elections here it doesn’t matter cuz the 2 parties are mirror images of each other and are both owned by corporate america and the federal reserve.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

It’s amazing that Americans can get more excited about a perceived election fraud in Iran than they did about an actual election fraud in the US, when Bush stole the election from Gore. (And possibly another fraudulent election in 2004, with electronic voting which didn’t give the same results as the exit polls.) Why weren’t tens of thousands of Americans out in the streets protesting those elections, instead of sitting passively in front of their television sets? If they had been, perhaps we wouldn’t have had 8 years of the worst president ever.

Posted by Helen Highwater | Report as abusive

“It’s 100% hypocritical to be anti-Iran and not anti-Saudi Arabia and Egypt.”

Only if you misuse the term ‘hypocrite’. If X says drinking is wrong, yet X drinks, that does not make X a hypocrite. Common mistake.

Was your point that egypt and saudi arabia repress their population? Or that America supports these nations? Or that the West tolerates dictators who act like good neighbours?

How does this change the fact that Iran is a repressive theocracy? And that many in the Left vocally support the actions of that regime?

The Americans are not hypocrites for supporting one dictator over another. Just good at playing politics.

True hypocracy is when a person criticises such behaviour of America, yet does not associate the negativity of such behaviour to their own support for Iran.

The key difference between hypocracy and vice is self-deception.

Posted by It makes you think | Report as abusive

it makes you think,

Thanks for the education on the definition on hypocritical, I’ll stick to what I thought before though.

Supporting our connections with the monsters that run Saudi Arabia and Egypt who do much worse things to their citizens and American terror suspects than Iran does seems odd to me for people who play the righteous card against Iran.

Changes nothing about Iran, but if you don’t support one you shouldn’t support the other just because they have puppet gov’ts.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

If we want to make any inroads in Iran we need to have real discussion. We should apologize to them for our past administrations actions in support of the shah. We interfered with their right to self determination which is the very foundation of our own government.

If we admit our mistakes then this puts the ball in the court of Iran. It would be up to them to open up to discussion. Iranians are just as sophisticated as Americans in many respects. To insult them by ignoring our own part in our bad relations is the height of hypocrisy. True dialog starts with honest words, humility, and genuinely good faith. We have shown little if any of these for far too long.

Well I find it odd that a person can support Iran’s regime, yet criticize America for supporting other such regimes.

So lets agree its an odd world, then.

Posted by It makes you think | Report as abusive

The best analysis so far on Iran elections, without any bias on either side. If what the the author says is true then other reporters have been involved in selective reporting of incidents and thus have been misguiding the public.
As for the authur’s suggestion of engaging with Iran. US should understand that it should deal with any country as equals. After all its a democracy and every one is equal. Similarly in the world democracy, all the countries are equal. Thus, if US can have nuclear weapons, then so can Iran.

Posted by Aman | Report as abusive

it makes you think,
I dunno if I was clear, I apologize if not, but I don’t support any of the 3 gov’ts I mentioned. Our allegiance with some has no affect on my judgement of the quality of gov’t.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Try doing a google search for Iran and Benford’s law. There is pretty good statistical evidence that the numbers are fudged. Try doing some research, before complaining that stuff is just made up.

Posted by Justin | Report as abusive

I believe that America is right (in the political sense) to support the Saudis and the Egyptians, in order to maintain favourable relations with them.

It doesn’t mean that I support the way those governments operate. Given the choice, I would rather they be democratic. Given enough western influence, they may eventually turn out that way.

As Iran is neither democratic, nor America’s ally, there is no reason for America to support them. Especially when that nation is expressly working against American interests.

Perhaps some more simple-minded conservatives might play the “righteous” card as a blanket excuse. But politics is always more complicated then that.

Still, I can accept there are other views out there who may not agree with my own.

Posted by It makes you think | Report as abusive

I have been reading,listening and watching of recent effects of election results in Iran.
As per my knowledge goes, majority of protests were against the present Iran President ,created by certain western media,and from certain social websites.
Naturally,educated,well dressed, foreign Iranians,urban youth,adults had assembled in many notable points,conveyed their feelings to a defeated presidential candidate.
As on today!s reports,people are slowly coming back to normal.
Thanks for showing of their democratic feelings.
We have other works to do for general wellbeing.
Enough is enough.

let’s pretend ahmadi’s win was rigged. where is the actualy proof? besides the few complaints that we hear, which are pretty much heard in every country in every election. we have the same thing happen in every election here in the U.S including the most recent election of Obama.all these “experts” who were expecting Mousavi to win, what were these based on? oh phone polls in a country where half the country does not even access? please, let’s see the proof first and then we’ll talk

Posted by Hassan | Report as abusive

I feel that that Iranians living abroad not voting for Ahmadinejad is exactly what one should expect. They are not a representative sample of the population though. The reasons for leaving the country can be manifold, ranging from membership of Mujahedin Khalq to supporter of the exiled Shah. Also having to live in a traditional muslem society when brought-up in a westernised family could be a reason to grasp any opportunity to leave.
As obtaining a visa for EU countries and USA is extremely troublesome, one has to take recourse to seeking asylum and alleging prosecution by the administration for one reason or another.
Therefore I dismiss the implicit presumption that the Iranian electorate has cast their votes the same way as the Tehran elite, intelligentsia and Iranians living abroad.

Posted by adamant | Report as abusive

So again do the people who say the vote wasn’t rigged have any evidence other than the word of the Iranian state press?

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

Which planet are you guys from? Do you watch the news at all? Do you check youtube and the videos that are being posted by people from Iran at all? If you do then how could you be so ignorant and say that there is not evidence that the result had been rigged. If you have any doubts I can send you tons of evidence and accurate documents to prove that they have been. But I guess you guys are purposely trying to ignore the facts and play your nasty political games as you did during Bush’s administration. I read that in Bush’s Administration, Hillary Leverett worked as the Director for Iran, Afghanistan and Persian Gulf Affairs at the National Security Council. I am not surprised because at the same time US had the worst foreign policy in that region. With ignorant people like Hillary who closes her eyes on the facts, I am not surprised that you did so bad in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Posted by Naz | Report as abusive

I have written a comprehensive review of the evidence, entitled “Who Really Won the Disputed Iran Election?” in order to settle this conversation. Initially, it was an attempt to synthesize all of the arguments into a single location. I fully expected that, upon careful review of the evidence, the uncertainty in my mind as to the results would rise and I would make many concessions. It has not, and I have not.

The Leveretts are wrong. The evidence that they use does not support their argument. The evidence to the contrary is compelling. But that isn’t the alarming piece to this puzzle.

What is highly suspect is the level of certainty of the Leveretts’ arguments. When all other analysts are using words like “suspect,” or “troubling,” and most raise as many questions as they close, Flynt and Hillary Leverett argue with clarity what is absolutely unclear. With that in mind, one has to question their motivation and objectivity, as well as their relevancy in the continued dialog about the future of Iran.

http://www.dissectednews.com/2010/05/who -really-won-the-disputed-iran-election.h tml

Posted by DissectedNews1 | Report as abusive