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The Iranian election undoubtedly rigged June 25, 2009

Posted by Sverre in : World politics , 2comments

Daniel Berman and Thomas Rintoul of the Insitute of Iranian studies at the University of St. Andrews have analyzed the figures from the Iranian election. The report is published through Chatham House. They conclude that there is little doubt that the election was rigged to a degree that has decided the outcome.

Their most interesting finds:

· In two conservative provinces, Mazandaran and Yazd, a turnout of more than 100% was recorded.
· If Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory was primarily caused by the increase in voter turnout, one would expect the data to show that the provinces with the greatest increase in voter turnout would also show
the greatest ‘swing’ in support towards Ahmadinejad. This is not the case.
· In a third of all provinces, the official results would require that Ahmadinejad took not only all former conservative voters, all former centrist voters, and all new voters, but also up to 44% of former
reformist voters, despite a decade of conflict between these two groups.
· In 2005, as in 2001 and 1997, conservative candidates, and Ahmadinejad in particular, were markedly unpopular in rural areas. That the countryside always votes conservative is a myth. The claim that this year Ahmadinejad swept the board in more rural provinces flies in the face of these trends.

Even in an unstable “democracy” such as Iran, it seems highly unlikely that such results could appear by coincidence. Of course this wasn’t unexpected, but it has become very hard for the Guardian Council to deny that there were irregularities. As the sham of democracy in Iran falls, we might see the regime losing even more of their popular support, which might turn out to become a catalyst for change in the long run. At the moment, however, it seems to me that the regime has the upper hand with its brutal treatment of the protests.

Hat tip to Kai Arzheimer for posting on this report.

YouTube: A modern-day propaganda leaflet March 21, 2009

Posted by Sverre in : Political economy, World politics , add a comment

Ever since WWI, propaganda leaflets dropped behind enemy lines were an important tool in trying to weaken support for whoever was in charge among the local population. It is believed to be an effective tool, which is why it is still in use in conflicts around the world. One of the defining aspects of Obama’s campaign to become president was how well he was able to exploit the new social internet media to his advantage. And he has apparently taken this with im into the White House.

Yesterday, he released a Youtube video aimed at the Iranian people, obviously in an effort to convince Iranians that the United States hopes for peace and does not want to be enemyof Iran. You can see the three-minute video here:

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