Was Iran's election rigged? Here's what is known so far.
The Guardian Council has agreed to a partial recount amid alleged irregularities, including an unusually swift announcement of results and a lack of variation in results between cities, rural areas, and ethnic strongholds.
In the biggest presidential election turnout in the history of the Islamic Republic, some 85 percent of Iran's electorate went to the polls last Friday and gave incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a landslide victory.Skip to next paragraph
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Or did they?
Defeated challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi claims that the official result of 62.6 percent for Mr. Ahmadinejad and just 33.7 percent for him was a "dangerous charade," and has called for a new election. His newspaper, Kalameh Sabz, reported that more than 10 million votes were missing personal identification numbers that made the votes untraceable. He also says 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 were remarkably consistent.
Farideh Farhi of the University of Hawaii, whose decades of studying Iran has included poring over data from Iranian elections, says the result was "pulled out of a hat." Here's why.
Monitor: How does this election compare to past votes in Iran?
Ms. Farhi: 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, they just made up numbers and are putting it out. It just doesn't make sense.
I do take the numbers of the Interior Ministry very seriously. I pore over them every election. I did it last time in the parliamentary election, to determine the orientations and what they mean. I always do that.
In this election, I am not even going to spend time on this, because of all the [problems].
Monitor: Weren't there party monitors at the polling stations, to watch the count?
Farhi: There were party monitors, and the boxes were all counted, and there were records made, and the information was relayed to the Interior Ministry on a piecemeal basis.
But 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.