Over the last few days, Iran has experienced more upheaval than anytime since the revolution in 1979. At the same time, there has been more and more signs that the election was fraudulent on many levels and that decades of pent up frustration are now bursting forth.
There has been proof that turnouts exceeded 100% in over 30 towns (here) and that overall turn out would have to have been at 95% for the result to hold true.
The main opposition candidates lost their respective home towns and regions (here) according to Danielle Plekta, who is a neo-conservative hawk, but knowledgeable of the region.
The New Statesman has a handy 10 tell-tale signs that should convince any doubters that something is seriously amiss (here).
All and all it seems that bloodshed is imminent. It has been a rough year for elections that didn’t turn out the way they were expected to by the powers at be, i.e. Kenya, Armenia, Zimbabwe, Moldova, and now Iran to name the best known. What is less clear that the US, EU, UN or just about anyone else has the power to do much about this, especially given the ongoing financial crisis.
Needless to say, this is troubling, even if hardly surprising. Corrupt regimes rarely if ever give up power without a fight. Furthermore, the methods employed are remarkably similar – intimidation, violence, censorship, media blackouts, etc.
Iran has always depended upon being perceived as a regime that is back by popular support, but the more they crackdown on dissent then this will be increasingly difficult to maintain. What makes all of this so hard to believe is the Moussavi was not a candidate that was threatening to overthrow the theocracy and could very well have lost in the second round. Then again, corrupt regimes are always afraid of being exposed. Just look at Nixon, given his landslide victory in 1972, does it seem that Watergate was a justifiable risk? Putin’s popularity is hard to doubt, but the heavy handed tactics against his opponents seems hardly like a long-term solution.
Only time will tell.