Even Mousavi’s own official letter of complaint – delivered to the Guardian Council after five days of promoting protests and opposition rallies on the streets of Tehran – is short on substantive allegations and devoid of hard evidence of anything remotely suggestive of voter fraud. The letter, which calls for an annulment of the election results and for a new election to take place, expounds on many non-election related issues, such as the televised debates, the incumbent’s access to state-owned transportation on the campaign trail and use of government-controlled media to promote his candidacy. All previous Iranian presidents, including the reformist Mohammad Khatami, who is a main supporter of Mousavi, have used the resources at their disposal for election purposes. Plus, whereas the last point certainly seems unfair, it hardly amounts to fraud. The debates – the first ever held in the history of the Islamic Republic – also served to even up the score for Ahmadinejad’s challengers.
Kaveh L. Afrasiabi, writing for the Asia Times, explains further:
Mousavi complains that some of his monitors were not accredited by the Interior Ministry and therefore he was unable to independently monitor the elections. However, several thousand monitors representing the various candidates were accredited and that included hundreds of Mousavi’s eyes and ears.
They should have documented any irregularities that, per the guidelines, should have been appended to his complaint. Nothing is appended to Mousavi’s two-page complaint, however. He does allude to some 80 letters that he had previously sent to the Interior Ministry, without either appending those letters or restating their content.
Finally, item eight of the complaint cites Ahmadinejad’s recourse to the support given by various members of Iran’s armed forces, as well as Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki’s brief campaigning on Ahmadinejad’s behalf. These are legitimate complaints that necessitate serious scrutiny since by law such state individuals are forbidden to take sides. It should be noted that Mousavi can be accused of the same irregularity as his headquarters had a division devoted to the armed forces.
Given the thin evidence presented by Mousavi, there can be little chance of an annulment of the result.
In response to the accusation of there being more votes in certain areas than registered voters, it must be acknowledged that in Iran, unlike in the United States, eligible voters may vote anywhere they wish – at any polling location in the entire country – and are not limited to their residential districts or precincts as long as their information is registered and valid in the government’s database. Families vacationing North to avoid the stifling heat of the South would wind up voting in towns in which they are tourists. Afrasiabi even points out that, whereas “Mousavi complains that in some areas the votes cast were higher than the number of registered voters…he fails to add that some of those areas, such as Yazd, were places where he received more votes that Ahmadinejad.”
Are these irrefutable examples of an election that was free of all outside interference, irregularities, or potential problems? No, of course not. But there is also no hard proof of a fixed result, let alone massive vote rigging on a scale never before seen in Iran, a country that – unlike the United States – has no history of fraudulent elections.