Friday, June 26, 2009

Imperialism and Iran’s Elections

A struggle has broken out over the results of Iran’s presidential elections, held Friday June 12, which resulted in the apparent landslide victory of incumbent President Ahmadinejad. On Friday night, before the results had been announced, the main opposition candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, declared himself the winner. The following day, Iran's election commission announced that Ahmadinejad had won with 62% of the vote. Mousavi responded with allegations of vote-rigging. This set into motion a chain of events that has resulted in hundreds of thousands coming out to the streets in protest. Some of the protests turned into riots, with protesters attacking police, government offices and banks and burning cars. 19 people are reported to have died in clashes with the government.
The subsequent media barrage has been so deafening that some of the basic facts and issues surrounding the election have been completely obscured. The unquestioned assumption propagated by the mainstream media is that the election was stolen.
The problem is, the only independent poll conducted four weeks before the election predicted a result very much akin to the official results from Iran's election commission. The poll, conducted by Terror Free Tomorrow, surveyed opinion in all 30 of Iran's provinces. It showed Ahmadinejad with a 2 to 1 lead over Mousavi (Washington Post, 6/15/09), which corresponds to the official tally of 63% for Ahmadinejad and 34% for Mousavi. As for Mohsen Rezai and Mehdi Karroubi, the other opposition candidates, the poll predicted they would earn 1% and 2% of the vote, respectively; while the official tally shows them winning 1.73% and 0.85%. It is clear that the poll was remarkably accurate in its predictions.