I don’t know if many Americans are in doubt that the Iranian election results were falsified. Respectable “objective” reporting feels obligated to frame the issue as an open question.
(For example, Sunday’s NYT piece began: “It is impossible to know for sure how much the ostensible re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad represents the preference of an essentially conservative Iranian public and how much, as opposition voters passionately believe, it is the imposed verdict of a fundamentally authoritarian regime.”)
But any doubt I harbored was cleared up for me on Saturday by the estimable Juan Cole of “Informed Comment” and the University of Michigan with this piece, titled “Stealing the Iranian election”
Cole, who understand Iran’s regions and ethnicities, demonstrates with his list of “Top Pieces of Evidence that the Iranian Presidential Election Was Stolen,” not only the basic fact that it was stolen but that it was done so ham-handedly as to leave no room for doubt.
For example, while the majority of Iran’s population is ethnically Persian, it’s biggest minority (estimated at 24 percent) is Azeri. Mir Hossein Mousavi, is an Azeri. Unsurprisingly, Azeris vote disproportionately for Azeri candidates. Mousavi’s political strength was known to be in urban areas. But the official election results showed the Ahmadinejad carried Tabriz, the capital of Azerbaijan Province (which is Mousavi’s home province), with 57 percent of the vote.
Wrote Cole: “For an Azeri urban center to go so heavily for Ahmadinejad just makes no sense.”
In this post, within hours of the results, Cole had compiled his top six such implausibilities.