From the most ardent enemies to the most cordial friends, everybody is now monitoring and commenting on Iran’s 2009 Presidential Elections, which resulted to the reelection of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the extension of his mission for another four-year term.
The enemies confirmed their credulousness and myopia by garnering the hopes for a possible overthrow of the Islamic government after groups of frustrated people poured into the streets for some 6 days to protest what they called the “widespread fraud and manipulation” in the electoral results, while Iran’s traditional and long-time friends , including Lebanon, China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil, Azerbaijan, and Qatar, demonstrated their loyalty by dispatching the immediate congratulatory messages.
Everything was started when the Interior Ministry announced on the night of Saturday, June 13, that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was reelected to office for another four years as he won a categorical majority of 63% of the votes, blowing a heavy defeat to the reformist hopeful Mir-Hossein Mousavi by a margin of 11 million votes.
According to this official stats, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would be the most popular president of Iran since the beginning of Islamic Revolution, surpassing even the victory of ex-President Mohammad Khatami in 1997, when he won 21 million votes.
The Interior Ministry declared the landslide victory for Mr. Ahmadinejad with 24.5 million votes whereas the majority of pre-election polls and surveys had indicated a narrow and close rivalry between the two main contenders, even expecting the likelihood of a second run-off round to determine the ultimate result. The National Election Commission also announced an infinitesimal minority of 330,000 votes to the other reformist candidate, Mehdi Karroubi, whose votes didn’t exceed the total of 460,000 invalid blank votes also cast.
The members at national Electoral Campaign of Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who were apprehensive about the possible ballot-rigging in favor of the incumbent president since the commencement of campaigns and advertisements, held several rounds of emergency meetings to finds solutions, and the only answer they could find was to spearhead street demonstrations and rallies to protest.
Declarations of Mousavi
Mir-Hossein Mousavi issued several official declarations following the announcement of final results and sent various letters to the Supreme Leader, the Guardian Council, and the Head of the Judiciary to lodge complaints about the “widespread fraud and manipulation” which he had witnessed.
The members of Committee for the Preservation of Electorate at the national campaign of Mir-Hossein Mousavi also issued cautions through its official website to warn against the ways “votes are being distorted” during the election hours. They objected that the electoral executives had asked the voters to write down the name of Mir-Hossein Mousavi with “certain pens”, demanded they put down the electoral number of Mousavi beneath his name while casting their ballot, and expelled the observer representatives of Mousavi from the ballots.
Once the results were announced officially, Mousavi called his fans and supporters to mount street demonstrations and hold gatherings by wearing green wristbands and headbands, the color which he had chosen as a religious symbol for his campaign.
The massive demonstrations which the British papers, including the Daily Telegraph and Independent had described as the largest non-governmental rallies since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, lasted for 6 days, and left 7-15 fatalities, according to Iran’s official media.
Rebels and non-political insurgents who were seeking an opportunity to spread violence and unrest amidst the political tensions, attacked the citizens, devastated the public properties, broke down the buses and other transportation facilities and reportedly killed 10 people. In order to prevent the expansion of protests and make the demonstrators stay off the streets and to disallow the abusive movements of riots which the Supreme Leader said “are separated from the electoral fans and supporters of Mir-Hossein Mousavi”, riot police and plainclothes were brought to action, and according to the national intelligence services, a group of U.S.-linked terrorists who had planned to explode bombs in 20 populous spots of Tehran (the mega-capital of Iran with 10m population) were discovered.
In a joint letter to the Head of Judiciary System Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi, the former President Seyed Mohammad Khatami and the failed reformist candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi protested the “aggressive confrontation with people” and called for the immediate release of detainees who were arrested during the demonstrations: “according to the consistent reports, aggressive confrontation with the gatherings and ordinary people and attacking the residential complexes … are underway which are not in compliance with the accepted standards of the Islamic Republic and will have no impacts other than the pessimism of society toward the [governmental] system.”
“Upon your legitimate and religious responsibility and your sense of accountability toward the rights of citizens, we ask your majesty to take the necessary steps and actions to draw to a close this upsetting and provocative situation and prevent the violent row against the people”, they added.
Iran’s Supreme Leader was the first prominent figurehead to react to the “epic presence of the Iranian nation in the arena of elections”. He sent an elaborate congratulatory letter to the nation and the President-elect a few hours after the official announcement of the final results. Ayatollah Khamenei appreciated the 85% turnout and the participation of 40 million people in the 10th presidential elections: “the supremacy and dignity which you recorded in the history of the nation with your tranquility, serenity and maturity, and the unassailable inclination which you demonstrated amidst the spates of foes’ psychological propaganda, does have such an importance that can not be described with a conventional and usual language.”
He also alluded to the significance of “solidarity” and “astuteness” in the post-election season and added: “you proved that later than 30 years following the establishment of religious democracy in this country, you’ll take part in the juncture more vibrantly and confidently than ever, ensuring both the friends and enemies of your continued path.”
In another part of the letter, Supreme Leader praised the nation for their unprecedented participation: “the elections of Khordad 22 (June 12) with the creative performance of Iranian nation, set a new record in the long sequence of national elections. The 80 percent turnout on the ballots and the 24 million votes of people to the president-elect is a pure festivity which can guarantee the country’s improvement and progression, national security and sustainable contentment with the divine patronages and assistance.”
The Supreme Leader, however, toughened his tone a few days later and on the Friday prayers sermon, while the massive demonstrations and protests by the supporters of Mousavi were underway and the international pressure on Iran was surging. He warned the “behind-the-scenes planners of demonstrations” to end the rallies and stay off the streets, otherwise, he “would speak to the nation more frankly.”