Senior U.S. official: Yes, the Iranian election was rigged; Update: 50-100 dead? Update: We’ll still work with Iran, says White House

posted at 3:47 pm on June 13, 2009 by Allahpundit

The White House is playing it cool lest U.S. support for Mousavi discredit his supporters but U.S. analysts have little doubt. The fix is indeed in:

U.S. analysts find it “not credible” that challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi would have lost the balloting in his hometown or that a third candidate, Mehdi Karoubi, would have received less than 1 percent of the total vote, a senior U.S. officials told FOX News.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini apparently has released a statement calling the results “final” and hailing the election as a legitimization of the regime and its elections…

The dominant view among Obama administration officials is that the regime will look so bad as a result of whipping up Iranian hopes for democracy and then squelching them that the regime may feel compelled to show some conciliatory response to Obama’s gestures of engagement.

Maybe. Or maybe popular unrest will force them to clamp down harder, become more recalcitrant about negotiations, and double down on nationalist propaganda about nukes to get the public back on their side. More from Time on what a shabby fraud this was:

By Saturday morning, the most often repeated exclamation in Tehran was: “It’s not possible!”…

A group of young men said they had talked to their families in the provinces, including Kurdish Kermanshah, Azeri Oroumiyeh and Ardeblil. Mohsen, 23, said, “Everyone in Tabriz [Mousavi's hometown] voted for Mousavi. The official count says a majority for Ahmadinejad. That’s not possible.” Mehdi, 27, chimed in, “Even if just Karroubi’s family in Lorestan had voted for him, he would have won more than 300,000 votes.”

More serious allegations came from officials involved in the various reformist candidates’ campaigns. Mohammad-Ali Abtahi, part of opposition figure Mehdi Karroubi’s campaign, pointed out that the government “announced a wholesale figure of 70% for Ahmadinejad last night, as opposed to breaking it down province by province as they usually do.” The first figures were announced shortly after voting closed, he added. A breakdown of how people in each city and province voted has not been released yet.

At the Mousavi headquarters, former Interior Minister Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour protested that Mousavi observers had not gained access to many of the polling centers. He also said that in Tabriz, Mousavi’s birthplace, many of the polling stations had run out of ballots only two hours after opening, even though about 59 million ballots had been printed by the government, about 13 million more than the number of eligible voters.

The regime shut down text messaging across the country yesterday too to hamper organization of the protests they knew would follow the results. Even so, the Beeb says street violence today is the worst Tehran has seen in 10 years, replete with Iranian cops beating women with nightsticks. The clip below will give you a taste but see Michael Totten for more vids, including one of a monster rally where protesters chanted “Death to the government.” There’s also a hot rumor going around that Rafsanjani, the former president of Iran, current head of the powerful Assembly of Experts, and rival-in-chief to Ahmadinejad, has resigned from the Expediency Council in protest of the results, a move which should go a long way towards delegitimizing them. After 30 years, only a diehard optimist would bet on this clusterfark exploding into full-fledged counterrevolution, but the more discredited the regime is and the more alienated Iranians feel from it, the more leverage the west has to get tough with them over the nuclear impasse. Assuming, of course, that the political will to do so exists. Which it doesn’t.

As I write this, news is breaking that Mousavi’s been arrested, which would be the second big mistake the mullahs have made in the last 24 hours. Three questions now as things heat up. One: Why didn’t they rig the vote in a more convincing way? Everyone expected the margin to be close after such a nasty campaign; a close Ahmadinejad win, with Mousavi victorious in the urban areas he was supposed to carry, would have been credible. I guess they figured that a narrow defeat would be treated as even more suspect by Mousavi’s supporters, so they went in the opposite direction and made it a landslide — to an implausible degree, as it turned out. Two: With the regime more illegitimate than ever, where does this leave The One vis-a-vis nuke negotiations? He’s been careful in the past to distinguish Khamenei from the more toxic Ahmadinejad, but Khamenei blessed the results today as a “divine assessment.” His credibility’s shot now, too. If Obama meets with him anyway, it’ll put the U.S. on the side of a sham government against the Iranian people more starkly than ever before. Three: Did Khamenei order the election rigged on Ahmadinejad’s behalf or did Ahmadinejad order the election rigged on his own behalf? That is to say, who really controls the levers of power in Iran? If you read nothing else I’ve linked here, at least read this fascinating interview in the Nation with a former Iranian minister who argues that because Dinnerjacket is closely allied with the fantastically powerful Revolutionary Guard (and a former Guardsman himself) and oversees the ministries that keep Khamenei informed of what’s happening, he can effectively isolate and manipulate him. Maybe — maybe — the situation in Iran is now less a case of Khamenei using Ahmadinejad as a public mouthpiece than vice versa. Good luck, Barry.

Update: At the Standard, Stephen Hayes says it’s time for a new Obama speech challenging the results on behalf of the Iranian people. If he does that, though, then nuke negotiations are well and truly dead; the regime’s not going to chat with a guy who’s basically calling for it to be overthrown, in which case the military option is the only solution left to stopping an Iranian bomb. Think The One’s going to leave himself with that hand?

Update: Another must-read at Foreign Policy’s blog The Cable rounding up reaction from Iranian experts. No one but no one is taking the election numbers seriously, which makes this a full-blown legitimacy crisis for a regime that’s never been very legitimate to begin with. I can’t believe they FUBAR’d the fix this badly.

Update: Tehran Bureau, a site for independent Iranian journalism, claims there are 50 to 100 people dead from Iranian cops’ thuggery at protests today. Plus thus tidbit, proving that this is in fact a coup:

Two interesting points on Iranian election:

1. After election results were announced, the election committee must wait for three days to accept any grievances for any irregularity before certify the results.

2. The results of election needs to be certified by the Council of Experts before it goes to the Leader for final approval

Today neither of these two rules were followed and the Leader in his speech approved the results of the election and asked all parties involved to work with Ahmadinejad.

Follow the link for videos galore. And see this post too for a graph that’s as much of a smoking gun as LGF’s famous Rathergate graphic was.

Update: Steve Hayes had better not hold his breath waiting for that Obama speech. The White House says it’s full speed ahead on “dialogue.”

The Obama administration is determined to press on with efforts to engage the Iranian government, senior officials said Saturday, despite misgivings about irregularities in the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad…

“This is the worst result,” said Thomas R. Pickering, a former under secretary of state. “The U.S. will have to worry about being perceived as pandering to a president whose legitimacy is in question. It clearly makes the notion of providing incentives quite unappetizing.”

Presumably the thinking here is that public outrage in Iran will weaken the mullahs’ hand against the U.S. and force them to accept some grand bargain, in which case Obama’s basically offering them legitimacy in exchange for denuclearization. The more likely outcome, though, is that the regime will continue to jerk him around while it builds a bomb and then count on its announcement that Iran has become a nuclear state to stoke national pride and win over its disaffected public. In which case Obama will have given them legitimacy in exchange for nothing. Terrific.


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What surprise when Iranian majority elects terrorist? Did we learn nothing from Gaza elections? Polls show Assad the most popular Arab leader. Bushies and Obamites need to f’ing wake up and realize Baghdad is not Houston and Teheran is not Preoria.

Reality Check on June 14, 2009 at 11:24 AM

It just got harder for Obama. If he negotiates with Ahmadinejad, as he has promised, he will be saying to the Iranian people that he considers the election results to be legitimate.

pearson on June 14, 2009 at 11:30 AM

In which case Obama will have given them legitimacy in exchange for nothing. Terrific.

Doesn’t that really sort of sum up the entire Obama experience? He’s progressively (pun intended) squandered our foreign relations position in the world and gotten nothing in return.Oops, he has gotten something in return for his efforts – the North Koreans are sabre-rattling louder than at anytime in recent memory; the Europeans have embraced Mr. Obama personally but rejected his appeals for help on world issues; the Russians are ramping up their plans to return to superpower status; the Chinese have ramped up their harassment of our navy; Chavez, when he isn’t calling Mr. Obama ‘leftist’ and ‘comrade’, is ramping up his call for resistance to American policy in the region and strengthening his grip on internal opposition and dissent; after months of small diplomatic gaffes with Britain, we’ve finally succeeded in really p*ssing them off with the release of the Uighers into Bermuda.That’s quite a list of returns for the ‘World Apology’ approach.

martin.hale on June 14, 2009 at 12:05 PM

Classic psyops. Only one nation benefits from this.

True_King on June 14, 2009 at 12:08 PM

Dinnerjacket won? Not surprised. Look who won here.

Coronagold on June 14, 2009 at 12:19 PM

I see an, as yet, unknown colonel in Iran’s future.

dingbat on June 14, 2009 at 1:07 PM

Almost all cell phone and internet service has been cut in Iran.

SCOOPTHIScarlos on June 14, 2009 at 3:21 PM

Aside from the fact that we have yet another ObamaFAIL here, am I incorrect in thinking that this would be a great opportunity for us to go in and effect Regime change? I mean, we’ve got troops right over there…I thought it was once our policy to encourage revolution among the citizens of Iran.
Of course, I know Barry would never entertain the idea, and Iran will continue to make us look weak and niave – for example, when they build their nukes in the coming months and we do nothing to stop it.

Dork B. on June 14, 2009 at 3:40 PM

Take a look at how Fox News only reports on the dictator’s talking points.

Fox News is largely controlled by our dear leader, the king of Saudi Arabia.

Screw them.

Dr B on June 14, 2009 at 4:22 PM

Take a look at how Fox News only reports on the dictator’s talking points.

Fox News is largely controlled by our dear leader, the king of Saudi Arabia.

Screw them.

Dr B on June 14, 2009 at 4:22 PM

This doesn’t even make sense. If Fox News (didn’t you mean Faux News) was controlled by the Saudi’s, why exactly would they want to promote the leaders of Iran?

Upstater85 on June 14, 2009 at 4:24 PM

At least Dinner Jacket has documentation, that is more than Barry has shown us. Dinner Jacket was not born in Kenya?

Geochelone on June 14, 2009 at 4:49 PM

CNN Interviews Moussavi Supporter

People Are Hopeless.

therightscoop on June 14, 2009 at 4:43 PM

*light bulb going off*

Send Barry to Iran.

He’ll give them HOPE

Upstater85 on June 14, 2009 at 5:12 PM

Doesn’t that really sort of sum up the entire Obama experience? He’s progressively (pun intended) squandered our foreign relations position in the world and gotten nothing in return.Oops, he has gotten something in return for his efforts – the North Koreans are sabre-rattling louder than at anytime in recent memory; the Europeans have embraced Mr. Obama personally but rejected his appeals for help on world issues; the Russians are ramping up their plans to return to superpower status; the Chinese have ramped up their harassment of our navy;
martin.hale on June 14, 2009 at 12:05 PM

Martin,
Agreed. Further, why are we debating whether or not we will engage A-jad? It is beneath the office of the President to even recognize his legitimacy. The rulers of Iran are the Guardian Council (GC) and the Supreme Ayatollah; by recognizing A-jad it solidifies in the minds or the Iranians (specifically the GC) that they have us by the b@lls and we are too weak[minded] to deal with the situation. It is a fact that weakness shown in that area of the world is not respected and not looked at with “empathy”. The US and specifically the President need to show strength, because there is no peace without strength no matter how lovey-dovey you whisper in their ear about how this is all a show and we can work in backroom channels together. Backroom channels are fine, but our public face needs to be one of granite-hard strength. The people of the middle east need to see that we are unequivocally solid on our stance of no nukes for Iran, and we will not deal with that 12er they appointed as their “president”.

alohapundit on June 14, 2009 at 5:23 PM

Hillary Clinton comes out with a non-statement. Obama gives no statement. Looks like BO and HRC are playing hot potato with the “3am phone call” and neither one wants it. We’ll see what happens on Monday but one thing can be said: they let Saturday and Sunday pass. But I’m sure they’ll be given a pass for that, especially by news sources who didn’t seem compelled to cover the story over the weekend in the first place.

ajj on June 14, 2009 at 5:38 PM

Classic psyops. Only one nation benefits from this.

True_King on June 14, 2009 at 12:08 PM

LOL. Registration aftermath is so hilarious.

Take a look at how Fox News only reports on the dictator’s talking points.

Fox News is largely controlled by our dear leader, the king of Saudi Arabia.

Dr B on June 14, 2009 at 4:22 PM

Are you retarded?

The (Arab, Sunni) Saudis are in no way friends with the (Persian, Shiite) Iranians.

Lehosh on June 14, 2009 at 5:51 PM

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/06/an-ayatollah-dissents.html

“Grand Ayatollah Sanei in Iran has declared Ahmadinejad’s presidency illegitimate and cooperating with his government against Islam. There are strong rumors that his house and office are surrounded by the police and his website is filtered. He had previously issued a fatwa, against rigging of the elections in any form or shape, calling it a mortal sin.”

mythicknight on June 14, 2009 at 6:00 PM

our dear leader, the king of Saudi Arabia.
Screw them.

First of all, “our dear leader” is His Magnificence, the Anointed One, the Messiah – need I go on?

Second, “the king of Saudi Arabia” is our Messiah’s king.

Better watch your naming of names; one never knows who’s listening.

Friendly21 on June 14, 2009 at 8:04 PM

Why worry about fraud in the Iraqi election.We have MORE fraud in our own thanks to ACORN, Union/mafia thugs, and low life Democrat voters.

Jeff from WI on June 14, 2009 at 8:29 PM

NYT Nov.5th 2012

The Obama Ahmadinejad administration is determined to press on with efforts to engage the Iranian US government, senior officials said Saturday, despite misgivings about irregularities in the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad… Barak Obama.
“This is the worst result,” said Thomas R. Pickering, a former under secretary of state. “The U.S. Iran will have to worry about being perceived as pandering to a president whose legitimacy is in question. It clearly makes the notion of providing incentives quite unappetizing.”

katy on June 14, 2009 at 9:04 PM

The White House is playing it cool lest U.S. support for Mousavi discredit his supporters but U.S. analysts have little doubt

“Cool”

Yep. Surely the coolest since Steve McQueen. Could’ve been a Rat Packer had he been born sooner.

He’ll fire up the teleprompters and apologize for the U.S. support for the Shah of Iran, because after all, this is all our fault.

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 14, 2009 at 10:01 PM

Take a look at how Fox News only reports on the dictator’s talking points.

Fox News is largely controlled by our dear leader, the king of Saudi Arabia.

Screw them.

Dr B on June 14, 2009 at 4:22 PM

This doesn’t even make sense. If Fox News (didn’t you mean Faux News) was controlled by the Saudi’s, why exactly would they want to promote the leaders of Iran?

Well then, can you explain why Fox News and the rest are doing all they can to avoid the subject?

Dr B on June 14, 2009 at 10:33 PM

obambi wants his ACORN crew to come back to the USSA

AMERICAN VETERAN on June 14, 2009 at 11:42 PM

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States was monitoring the outcome of the election closely and hoped the results reflected the will of the Iranian people. THE CHICAGO BRANCH OF ACORN!!!

THERE FIXED IT FOR YA….

AMERICAN VETERAN on June 14, 2009 at 11:45 PM

I did not know that ACORN did freelance work. If Obama actually wants and investigation into voter fraud in Iran, he should take the lead and request investigation in the US, then pack his bags.

workingforpigs on June 15, 2009 at 9:25 AM

Presumably the thinking here is that public outrage in Iran will weaken the mullahs’ hand against the U.S. and force them to accept some grand bargain, in which case Obama’s basically offering them legitimacy in exchange for denuclearization. — Allah

sarcasm on/

What better way to anger the Iranian people than to fail to support them, in this, their hour of need, due to fear of our actions being perceived as another “Moussadeg coup” ala 1963 by the CIA. Because, as we all know the US is guilty of mortal sins by trying to help a pro-Western leader (the Shah) advance his country, and deserved all the hatred and bombings and terrorism directed at it since 1979 by the Iranian government because of that support for the Shah. So, since we are so guilty of these sins (which I certainly do not believe), we must never interfere in the internal politics of another country, even when their people are now being suppressed brutally, oppressed for decades, and dissent is crushed by those with the guns and batons simply because they wish to, while we stand by idly and do nothing to support people who the left always claims would stop hating us if we would stop meddling. We shall never intervene in oppression and genocide, etc….., unless the people we would be rescuing would hate us for it afterwards (like the Bosnians, Kosovars, Darfurians, Europeans, etc…).

These poor Iranian people, (whom the President just told in his own speech to them that he supported them and their peaceful coexistence with our country, but wished their regime would cooperate), had better pull their heads out of their asses and submit to their Masters in clerics robes. Because the Lord knows how much they will truly love us when we abandon them to the clubs and rifles of the illegitimate (since 1979) Khomeinist Iranian regime in their time of desperate need. /sarc

My open letter follows:

Dear Iranian people,

Since you were pissed off (becoming terrorists, thumbing your noses at us constantly, telling us to butt out of your business, etc….) that we tried to provide you with a better ruler in ’63, don’t be surprised that we don’t give two sh*ts on whether you are happy now or not. Payback’s a bitch, ain’t it? Fix your own problems and quit asking us to do so for you, and we won’t be upset when you stop terrorizing our country and every other one in the Middle East as well. Assh*les. You reap what you sow. You aren’t the only folks with long memories of injustices done by you against us.

Subsunk

Subsunk on June 15, 2009 at 9:38 AM

Barry can’t criticize the Iranian election too much, lest he call into question his own legitimacy.

Vashta.Nerada on June 15, 2009 at 10:09 AM

Is that a peace sign or indicative of how many times people on his side were allowed to elect?

MSGTAS on June 15, 2009 at 10:27 AM

I feel for my newborn Son. Where on this good earth are the Good Guys? The defenders of Freedom, Justice, and the American way?

Those days are past.

I mourn the death of our great nation every day. We are no longer the good guys. We will talk to and negotiate directly with evil. We will promote eveil by the simple fact of recognizing its legitimacy.

It makes me sad, four our country and the world at large.

We are being systematically destroyed here… and there are no more defenders of America.

James on June 15, 2009 at 2:40 PM

Was that Senior U.S. Official’s name…Joe Biden?

PappaMac on June 15, 2009 at 4:12 PM

Still haven’t seen anything but “anecdotal” observations concerning voter fraud. Was the election a sham? Sure – but not for the reasons being stated. All of the candidates who ran on the ballot had to approved by the Supreme Leader – and the candidates he didn’t want – didn’t get to run.

Now, just to clarify here – the total reason the Supreme Leader “clears” candidates is to ensure they are “qualified” to serve the best interests of the Islamic Republic – in accordance with their Constitution.

This election is no different than any election held in Iran over the last 30 years.

This is like a fight between Hitler and Himmler over whether to use leaded or unleaded gas to burn down the Reichstag. It’s a really stupid argument amongst the Iranians until the opposition is willing to oust the Islamic Republic.

Since they aren’t – we should keep our powder dry and relish in the fact that they brought these idiots to power by their own hand. Revolutions Have Consequences.

HondaV65 on June 15, 2009 at 4:28 PM

Words have meaning and a great deal of impact. Thus, I’m sorry, my previous post should have ended with the word vote, vice elect.

MSGTAS on June 16, 2009 at 10:13 AM

I refer you to The Astute Blogger, today’s edition and read the post about the Koran. Something for the West to learn.

LarryG on June 16, 2009 at 11:18 AM

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