Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

June 16, 2009



Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's sad watching so many Democrats talk about fraud in a possibly legitimate election in Iran when they stayed so silent during two illegitimate elections here.

June 17, 2009 12:07 PM  
Anonymous Paul Tullis said...

"It is difficult to see how he could have stolen the election by such a large margin." What the fuck does that even mean? If you STEAL the election, that means the MARGIN is FALSE. Therefore, how large it is has no bearing. What's difficult to believe is how an incumbent who failed on all his campaign promises in the previous election could be elected by a WIDER margin than he one with the first time. If he did NOT steal the election, why doesn't Ahmedinejad invite all the journalists in the world and Jimmy Carter too to count them? If he did NOT steal the election, how come he can only get 20% of the protesters to show up at a LEGAL demonstration? I admire your tendency toward counterintuitiveness and constant debunking, Sam, but this post is balderdash. Iran is 70% under 30 and well-educated. Would anyone else on earth meeting that description vote for the likes of Ahmadinejad in such numbers? All this, of course, leaves aside the fact that the election was stolen before a single vote was cast because the mullahs choose the candidates!

June 18, 2009 5:42 PM  
Anonymous i smell kosher smoke said...

Ahmadinejad Won?
June 18th, 2009 by Tocque Deville
I’m still agnostic on the Iranian election outcome. As I wrote a couple of days ago, hard evidence that the election was stolen has not been a requirement for the establishment media to claim fraud. This is a topic I will adress more fully later. In the meantime, I think it’s important to present views not shared by the media feeding frenzy. Here, writing for Politico, Flynt and Hillary Leverett present some compelling evidence that Ahmadinejad actually won.

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.

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 Mir Hossein 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.

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.

June 18, 2009 8:51 PM  

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