yes but why so blatantly?


Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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4 Responses

  1. Avatar Chris Dierkes says:


    Interesting theory.

    The counter argument is that this is irrational response of an out of touch group. That dictatorships tend to have bad information processing. In this case they were not expecting Mousavi to win, the results start coming in, they panic and overload the info. in the wrong direction.

    I think it is true to say that Khamenei fears Obama or at least Obama’s call for talks. Ahmadinejad has been a useful tool for him to up the ante domestically within the US of anti-iranian sentiment thereby fulfilling his prophecy/outlook that the US is out to get Iran. Whether he rigged the elections beforehand or more they expected it to be close and they figured they could rig it a bit here or there (particularly if no one got 50% and they had to do a 2nd round runoff) if needs be, then saw that they couldn’t rig it so they basically hamfistedly called it, I have no idea. My hunch would be the latter, but it could certainly be the former.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I suspect that it can be explained by ideology.

    When you *BELIEVE* strongly enough, and reality doesn’t conform to what you know, in your heart, actually is… well, it’s time to take a ball peen hammer to reality until everything matches up.

    The hardliners knew, in their hearts, that they were going to win. They had God on their side. They had Truth on their side. They had Justice on their side. They Were Right. How could they lose?

    And when the insolent, ungrateful, childish, selfish Persians said that they wanted something else, they were caught flat-footed.

    They never intended to steal the election. They intended to *WIN* it.

    When that didn’t happen, they had to come up with a plan in the short term… and plans generated when you are panicked tend to either be brilliant or be totally sucky.

    This one was one of the sucky ones.Report

  3. Chris’ theory seems similar to that of Juan Cole. I’m skeptical, though – it doesn’t explain why you’d go so far in the other direction. The one way I can see that theory working is if the individual provinces were just given a general order to fudge the results but without any specific instructions about how much any province should fudge those results. The other flaw in this theory is that it requires the clerics to take a huge risk (getting caught) for not much benefit – it’s hard to see how Mousavi, after several years of Ahmadinejad, would represent a bigger threat to the clerics’ rule than Khatami did.

    One theory would be that the high total was an attempt to marginalize the Reformists by making them appear weak and remove any hope that they might ever succeed. This, to me, is the most likely theory, although I’m sure it has its shortcomings.

    Another theory I’ve seen is that this is a coup by Ahmadinejad with the aim of marginalizing the Ayatollah to a mere figurehead. That theory would explain the margin of victory by making Ahmadinejad appear exceedingly popular. This theory had some initial appeal to me, but doesn’t seem to hold up – it would require too much intrigue in terms of disloyalty to the clerics by all those involved with the conspiracy with none of those involved tipping the clerics off to what was happening. On top of that, it would require the clerics have a level of naivete that seems implausible in terms of their willingness to accept those results as an accurate reflection of Ahmadinejad’s popularity.

    I’ve also heard a rather bizarre theory that it was all orchestrated by the Reformists, who recognized that real reform would be impossible even if they won the election without there first being a revolution against the clerics. Under this theory, the obviousness of the fraud would enrage the populace against the clerics, spurring them to revolution. Of course, the theory makes no sense since the Reformists don’t have a hold on the reins necessary to orchestrate such a fraud; plus, it also ignores that the likely failure of such a plan would equate to the end of any hopes for reform for a very, very long time. Besides, if the Reformists were able to commit such a fraud, it wouldn’t make sense for them to stop at 63% – instead, it would make a lot more sense for them to just make it 90%+ to make sure that the results would cause riots.Report