Iran: What went wrong in the elections

A concise, step-by-step analysis from the BBC on what may have gone wrong, technically, politically, and procedurally, in the Iran elections. Snip from one section:
[T]here was a 10-fold increase in the number of mobile polling stations - ballot boxes transported from place to place by agents of the interior ministry, which is run by a close ally of Mr Ahmadinejad. "One third of the ballot boxes were mobile," says Mehdi Khalaji, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "They were out of the control of the local authorities and the representatives of the candidates, and nobody knows what they have done to them".

Polling day saw a record turnout and Iranians queued for hours to cast their ballot in an election which all agreed was critical to the future direction of their country.

"Early on polling day, the SMS network was shut down, that made me worried about what was going to happen," says Tehran journalist Ali Pahlavan.

Suspicions behind Iran poll doubts (Thanks, Antinous!)


  1. Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.

    You’d think the Iranian state would have learnt how to properly fix an election by now.

    In the long run it’s for the best of course, but first many people will have to die. That’s the only way to democracratic reform – dead innocents and a population so fed up that they’d rather die then keep submitting.

    I can’t think of one exception. Maybe I’m tired.

  2. #2 SWORM:

    I can never remember whether or not violence is the first or last refuge of the incompetent. The saying probably works both ways.

    I had a great-uncle who was one of Al Capone’s lieutenants in Canada during the period when we were wet and the States were dry. He never killed anyone in his gangster days: if there was a dispute then he’d go to meet the other side in a surprise visit and turn up with twice as many guys as they had. His opening remarks were always along the lines of “Come, let us reason together.” And so they did.

    Lenin: Meaningful political change can only come about as the result of violent revolution.

    Mao: Political power comes out of the mouth of the gun barrel.

  3. The actions of these brave Iranians bring a tear to my eye. This is a people who are in the process of showing they truly are ready, or near ready, to demand real democracy for themselves. However, Mousavi at this point seems reluctant to rail against the theocracy that has allowed, and probably aided, this mockery of a free election.

  4. I think Asimov said, “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”

    But it’s hard to test that statement for any truth value when the credible threat of violence is the basis for all of civilization, for better or worse.

  5. I suspect that’s because mousavi is incredibly shrewd.

    During the elections his followers dressed in green, the colour of Islam. And now he’s not preaching the overthrow of the theocracy. He can argue he is the saviour of the Iranian theocracy from autocracy.

    Now it is the Ayatollah who comes off as paranoid, complicit in electoral fraund and authoratarian to protect his own position. If Mousavi argued for the overthrow of the theocracy, the regime could argue they were protecting the republic. Now it is the regime which is seen as endangering the republic’s founding principles.

    Very clever (or not).

  6. This is heavily heavily CIA/M16/MOSSAD spun.

    A prelude, preparing the Western public’s psyche for US/Israeli violence against Iran.
    Meanwhile, in already-liberated-next-door iraq and afghanistan: not much discussed in the western media anymore:

    Where are the internet vids of dying iraqis/Afganis? What, not even names?

    This Iran-election media brou-ha-ha/creation a la Obama, evidencing an adoption by these similar techniques by the US Gov for “helping” other Nations:

    Bah, I say: this Iran coverage is all about whipping up Anti-Iran war fever…..

    1. Canuck,

      Paternalistic, patronizing and infantilizing. What is the philosophical foundation of assuming that Iranians are incapable of fomenting social change without the CIA, etc. being behind it? It’s a backdoor version of white man’s burden.

  7. “Pacifism is objectively pro-fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side, you automatically help out that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, ‘he that is not with me is against me.'”

    -George Orwell

  8. Canuck, your evidence for those baseless accusations? Really, all of those rock-throwing septuagenarian women wearing chadors are CIA-Mossad-MI6 (your forgot SMERSH) plants?

    A fascinating vision, yours, seeing Western colonialism in the heart of a democratic-Islamic uprising-revolution: how do you do it?

  9. The CIA is almost as overrated as the FBI. I think Canuck gives too much importance to their presence in Iran, although there is no reason to suppose they’re NOT dicking about in one little way or another; they always are. I like to keep in mind that those analytical geniuses missed the collapse of the USSR, when every two-bit trotskyist in the world had worked out the timeline twenty-five years earlier.

    The Islamic Republic of Iran’s days are numbered, all right, with or without that clown show from McLean.

Comments are closed.