Were I a betting man, which I’m not – unless I am certain of a win, I would bet that Khamenie’s call for election fraud in the Iranian presidential election is nothing more than political grandstanding. Were I a betting man, I would probably be putting my money on the outcome favoring Ahmadinejad. Were I a betting man…
For the last several days the world’s collective attention has been turned to the Iranian presidential election – which I maintain is nothing more than a farce. The election has been marred with calls of injustice, voter fraud and violent street protests – that have produced crackdowns by riot police and plain clothes militia loyal to Ahmadinejad. In an effort to placate the masses of angry reformists both young and old, the Supreme Leader has called for an investigation of claimed vote fraud.
Iran’s supreme leader ordered Monday an investigation into allegations of election fraud, marking a stunning turnaround by the country’s most powerful figure and offering hope to opposition forces who have waged street clashes to protest the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
While the Washington Post and perhaps some oppostition supporters hail this as a sign of hope, I am far more cautious in my thoughts on the matter. Perhaps even cynical given the history of corruption, Khamenei’s open support of Ahmadinejad, and the efforts by the Iranian government to silence the opposition both before and after the election.
From blocking text messaging, websites and cellphones the day of the election and days since, to ransacking college dorms and all out knock-down drag-out fights in the streets, the Iranian police and militias make a good show of opposition silencing.
Security forces also have struck back with targeted arrests of pro-reform activists and blocks on text messaging and pro-Mousavi Web sites used to rally his supporters.
Hard-line militia volunteers loyal to the Revolutionary Guard stormed the dormitories, ransacking student rooms and smashing computers and furniture with axes and wooden sticks, Akbar said.
Before leaving around 4 a.m., the police took away memory cards and computer software material, Akbar said, adding that dozens of students were arrested.
Amnesty International criticized Iran Sunday for blocking media and Internet sites. It said on Saturday, access to social networking sites was blocked, as was access to a range of online news services. Many of these outlets carried reports which raised concerns that the conduct of the election was flawed and results had been rigged, Amnesty said.
This is text book intimidation and opposition silencing… How Ahmadinejad could have ever looked anyone in the eye and say that Iran has democracy is beyond belief. How, after the events that have unfolded over the last week, Khamenei could expect anyone to take his declaration for an investigation seriously is also beyond the pale of belief. Were I a betting man, I would say that the smart money is on Khamenei – after the kangaroo court investigation – declaring there to have been no foul play and that his favored puppet is the rightful president. Which, he very well may be.
In a government such as Iran, there is simply no way to tell for certain. But were I a betting man… That would be my bet.
Were I a betting man, I would bet that Khamenei will stall for the entire ten days of Guardian Council’s investigation – which he controls - or until Moussavi calms his angry followers (whichever comes first) to announce that Ahmadinejad is the victor. What will happen next is anyone’s guess. But were I a betting man, I’d bet Rial to donuts that opposition silencing will continue until it is sufficiently snuffed out.
After all, that is the hallmark of any good authoritarian thugocracry. If only I were a betting man…