Observers Say Iranian Elections Were Fixed

March 18, 2008 10:06 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Many Western observers accuse Iran’s regime of rigging the parliamentary elections. But voter turnout was higher than expected.

30-Second Summary

Representatives of both the European Union and the United States said Iranian voters were denied a “full range” of candidates in the March 14 parliamentary elections, according to the International Herald Tribune.

The U.S. State Department’s official assessment of the ballot process in Iran was that “in essence the results are cooked,” AFP reports.

Allies of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad disqualified 1,700 reformist candidates for “insufficient loyalty to Iran,” allowing only 30 reformers to run.

Even Ayatollah Khomenei’s grandson stepped out of the race after his piety was questioned, the Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman reported.

But Iranian Deputy Interior Minister Ali Reza Afshar called the election fair and said the 60 percent voter turnout was “glorious.”

Despite the widespread disqualifications, voters turned out in higher numbers than expected, according to The New York Times. Although some voters resisted participating in what they saw as an unfair election, others feared a boycott would ensure an even more biased election.

“We can’t stop the rain,” said Hesham Javadi, a 30-year-old computer technician who ultimately decided to vote. “But we can at least put an umbrella over our heads in self-defense.”

Analyst Karim Sadjapour of Today’s Zaman said Iran’s disgruntled electorate has turned out in low numbers for many recent elections.

“I came across people again and again who believed that voting in Friday's parliamentary elections was a waste of time,” the BBC’s John Simpson reported from Tehran.

Headline Links: U. S. says election ‘Results Cooked’; divided conservative bloc sweeps elections

Background: Reformists barred from ballot and conservatives increasingly divided

Reactions: ‘Member of Iranian Parliament Criticizes President Ahmadinejad’

Opinion & Analysis: The state of democracy in Iran

Reference: Iran’s voting patterns

Related Topics: Iran under Ahmadinejad


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