14 June 2009

In Iran

How can you call it anything but a right-wing coup?

Juan Cole:
On the basis of what we know so far, here is the sequence of events starting on the afternoon of election day, Friday, June 12.

- Near closing time of the polls, mobile text messaging was turned off nationwide
- Security forces poured out into the streets in large numbers
- The Ministry of Interior (election headquarters) was surrounded by concrete barriers and armed men
- National television began broadcasting pre-recorded messages calling for everyone to unite behind the winner
- The Mousavi campaign was informed officially that they had won the election, which perhaps served to temporarily lull them into complacency
- But then the Ministry of Interior announced a landslide victory for Ahmadinejad
- Unlike previous elections, there was no breakdown of the vote by province, which would have provided a way of judging its credibility
- Less than 24 hours later, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamene`i publicly announced his congratulations to the winner, apparently confirming that the process was complete and irrevocable, contrary to constitutional requirements
- Shortly thereafter, all mobile phones, Facebook, and other social networks were blocked, as well as major foreign news sources.
He adds:
The Electoral Commission is supposed to wait three days before certifying the results of the election, at which point they are to inform Khamenei of the results, and he signs off on the process. The three-day delay is intended to allow charges of irregularities to be adjudicated. In this case, Khamenei immediately approved the alleged results.

I am aware of the difficulties of catching history on the run. Some explanation may emerge for Ahmadinejad's upset that does not involve fraud. For instance, it is possible that he has gotten the credit for spreading around a lot of oil money in the form of favors to his constituencies, but somehow managed to escape the blame for the resultant high inflation.

But just as a first reaction, this post-election situation looks to me like a crime scene.
And the people are in the streets...