Hawaii-based academic questions legitimacy of Ahmadinejad’s win

June 17th, 2009 - 5:11 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 17 (ANI): An academic at the University of Hawaii, Farideh Farhi, has questioned the legitimacy of Iran President Mohammad Ahmadinejad’s win in a presidential poll held last week.

The Christian Science Monitor quoted Farhi, as saying that of the 11 million new Iranian voters, she “simply, simply cannot believe” that Ahmadinejad could have won eight million of them.

“The history of the Islamic Republic is that they never vote for status quo, they always vote for change. I know people who entered this electoral process, who never voted in the Islamic Republic, and they came in and voted simply against Ahmadinejad,” she added.

Commenting further on the biggest presidential election turnout in the history of the Islamic Republic, in which some 85 percent of Iran’s electorate went to the polls last Friday to give Ahmadinejad a 62.6 percent landslide victory over challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi (33.7 percent of the vote), Farhi claims that the official result was a “dangerous charade”.

The Kalameh Sabz newspaper reported that over 10 million votes were missing personal identification numbers that made the votes untraceable.

It also claimed that some polling stations closed prematurely, preventing some voters from casting ballots.

Many others also suspect the legitimacy of the vote, for a number of reasons:

. Results from 39.2 million handwritten ballots came much more swiftly than in previous votes, emerging within hours.

. Detailed election data typically released has not been made public.

. Iran’s Supreme Leader sanctioned Ahmadinejad’s victory after a day, instead of the customary three.

. Ahmadinejad made a surprisingly strong showing in wealthier cities, where he is known to have less support, and in the ethnic strongholds of his rivals.

. Results from cities and rural areas normally vary, but this time they were remarkably consistent.

Farhi, whose decades of studying Iran has included poring over data from Iranian elections, says the result was “pulled out of a hat.”

“My personal feeling is that Ahmadinejad could not have gotten anything more than 10 million. And I really do have the data from previous elections, each district, how they voted, each province, to make comparisons with these numbers that the Ministry of Interior have come out. I am convinced that they just pulled it out of their hats. They certainly didn’t pull it out of ballot [boxes] or even stuffed ballots,” she said.

“At one point, immediately after the polls were closed, a very few people, without the presence of any monitoring mechanism, started giving out these numbers. And that’s why I think this was brazen manipulation. It wasn’t that they only wanted Ahmadinejad to win. They also wanted to make a case that we can do anything we want to do. And they were, I argue, very much interested in demoralizing this 20 to 30 percent extra voters that are coming in,” she adds.

Analysts expected a closer race, if not a reverse of that result, after a final surge in cities across Iran galvanized a large anti-Ahmadinejad vote.

The final “official” figures, however, gave Ahmadinejad 24.5 million votes, and Mousavi 13.2 million. That result was a shock for many Iranians and analysts. (ANI)

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