Ahmadinejad re-elected Iran prez

Rival Mousavi cries foul over landslide victory; riot police crush street protests

Ahmadinejad re-elected Iran prez

According to the commission, Ahmadinejad secured 62.63 per cent of the vote while Mousavi took only 33.75 per cent. The other two candidates garnered less than three per cent.

Eighty-five per cent of Iran’s 46.2 million voters cast their ballots. Although Mousavi’s supporters disputed the result, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei heralded the victory of Ahmadinejad as a major achievement for the country. Khamenei said Ahmadinejad had won 24 million of the votes cast and observed that his re-election amounted to a rebuff for the West which supported Mousavi. However, the Obama administration made it clear before the election that Washington would seek dialogue with whoever won. 

Results denounced

Ahead of the announcement of the outcome, Mousavi’s supporters gathered at a central Tehran square to chant, “The election is a lie,” and were charged by police wielding truncheons. Elsewhere police and army were deployed at other flashpoints and Iranians were warned against congregating or taking part in protests. 

On Saturday, Mousavi, fearing manipulation by the authorities, declared that he would not “surrender” to a forged result.  The outcome, he said, could shake “the pillars of the Islamic Republic...” and transform its “sacred system” into “governance of lie and dictatorship.” He said that “people won’t respect those who take power through fraud” and warned that to proclaim Ahmadinejad was the winner amounted to “treason to the votes of the people.”

But it was unclear whether Mousavi’s messages were reaching his supporters because his website had been blocked.  

Gary Sick, a US expert on Iran, observed that previous elections in Iran had reflected the popular will. But, he said,  this election could place Iran into the same category as other West Asian states where results are routinely falsified in order to rubber stamp authoritarian regimes. 

The campaign this time round was vigorous and conducted on a western model with the candidates taking part in no-holds-barred debates. Tens of thousands attended rallies by Ahmadinejad and Mousavi.  Consequently, many who voted for Mousavi were amazed at the outcome. 

There was no serious violence during the campaign.  During previous contests, basij youth militia and right-wing gangs of “hizbollahis” attacked reformists and other rivals of the ayatollah’s choice. During this campaign they backed Ahmadinejad by attempting to smear his rivals.

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