Saturday, June 13, 2009

Iranian election troubles

The Iranian state media are claiming President Ahmadinejad has a 69-28 lead over former prime minister Hossain Mousavi, generally considered a modest reformer, or at least someone the U.S. might be able to talk to (though whether anything would come of it is an open question). But Mousavi is claiming he won, that there was massive vote fraud. And the numbers are inconsistent (does that represent 6% of votes counted or 49%, at the same time, etc.). It may be, as Steve Clemons has suggested, that the Iranians are just clumsy at vote-rigging. After all, they haven't had to do it in the past -- though Ahmadinejad was reportedly not the mullahs' first choice they decided they could live with him.

Mousavi has suggested his battle for an honest election might include taking to the streets. Stratfor.com is concerned enough that it has put out a Red Alert suggesting that serious civil unrest is possible. I have no inside information -- didn't even have a chance to call Iran experts Friday -- but I'll be checking the news pretty often this weekend.

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