Friday, August 21, 2009

Kaveh L. Afrasiabi deals with election fraud allegations

A consensus is forming now, there never had been evidence of massive result-changing election fraud in the 2009 election. This hasn't been in serious doubt since maybe a week after the results were announced in June. Anyone who wants a point by point refutation of the claims of vote fraud should read this.


Anonymous said...

Good article, but I think its a tad late for all this. Many of the Huffington Post comments highlight how futile it is to try and correct the many false narratives that stemmed from the Iranian election.

Lysander said...

@ anonymous. You are right. There is not much chance that Tom Friedman and his ilk will ever realize they were wrong about anything. U.S. policy makers will never admit to being mistaken.

And yet the false assertions will do little to harm Iran. Most Iranians probably realize they were the target of a color revolution that was thwarted. But U.S. policy makers will continue to assume that with just a bit more pressure, the Iranian government can be overthrown.

The rest of the world will simply move on.

And while anonymous is right that its hard to argue with entrenched opinion, that doesn't mean its impossible. Hardly anyone would have believed the orange revolution was fake back in 2004. (I didn't) But a lot more people figured out what's happening in Iran now. Next time, more still. The cat is crawling out of the bag, albeit slowly.

Anonymous said...

The case regarding election fraud in Iran is inconclusive, both ways. It's the political and social aftermath that's significant. The current situation inside Iran remains an unprecedented challenge. However, one thing that's clear is there was never the intention of a color revolution. The leadership of the reform movement never intended to remove the IRI regime.

The so-called show trials are, in my opinion, a mistake. Again, we'll just have to see how they play out.

What does deserve attention is the ability of the IRGC and Basij to maintain public order. These volunteer security organizations, although crude and lacking discipline in certain instances, were nevertheless more efficient than the Shah's efforts which relied in part on poorly equipped conscripts. Also, in comparison to various US security forces during the multitude of street challenges in 1968, these Iranian security forces seem to have exercised a similar level of force. That these Iranian volunteers are available in all of Iran's important cities remains an unrivaled asset to the authorities in power.

I do agree with Kaveh that it makes pragmatic sense for the US to start dealing with the second administration of President Ahmadinejad. I also agree with him that somehow bypassing the President in favor of the Supreme Leader is an unrealistic option. Whether or not Obama currently has the domestic political standing to now pull this off is yet to be seen.


Arnold Evans said...

I honestly have not come across any reason to believe election fraud on a scale that would impact the result either did or could have happened.

You can say the case is inconclusive, but then you can say the case in every election everywhere is inconclusive, and that just means that as is well known, it is impossible to prove a negative.

About the show trials, there was a significant event in Iran in June, and the landscape has shifted, in a big way, towards the conservatives. There will be some people who want to be magnanimous and some who want to humiliate the parties that they believe committed treason against their ideals. I see the show trials more as a symptom of that process than important developments in themselves.

It seems that communication between the US and Iran never completely cut off but is still occurring behind the scenes where few indications are reaching the public where I would be able to evaluate them.

So I could only guess what impact this whole thing has had on Iran's relations with the US, particularly on the nuclear issue. In the US it seems there is new momentum behind trying sanctions and taking a hard line on Iranian enrichment, but I'm not sure if the indications I've seen of this are real or just negotiating ploys.