Short version of the Leverett article: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s alleged “victory” in the presidential election in June was genuine, because it resembled his “victory” back in 2005, Ahmadinejad was successfully demagogic in the debates with Mir Hossein Mousavi, the Iranian economy was not and is not as disastrous as just about every report (here is an example) indicated that it was, polling is “notoriously difficult” in Iran, but we can trust polls that showed Ahmadinejad prospering politically (a critique of the Terror Free Tomorrow poll relied on by the Leveretts can be found here), Ahmadinejad knows Azeri and Turkish poetry, and would therefore obviously do well in Azeri provinces against the actually Azeri Mousavi, we don’t need to worry about ballot irregularities (the Leveretts do not explain why this is so), and FLORIDA 2000 MEANS THAT WE CAN’T CALL OUT IRANIAN ELECTORAL FRAUD BECAUSE THE IRANIANS RAN A CLEANER ELECTION THAN WE DID NINE YEARS AGO (the caps are deliberate; one can practically hear the Leveretts screaming this point out).
Evidence of fraud in the Iranian presidential elections, meanwhile, is overwhelming. Link:
One employee of the Interior Ministry, which carried out the vote count, said the government had been preparing its fraud for weeks, purging anyone of doubtful loyalty and importing pliable staff members from around the country.
“They didn’t rig the vote,” claimed the man, who showed his ministry identification card but pleaded not to be named. “They didn’t even look at the vote. They just wrote the name and put the number in front of it.”
The government of Iran on Saturday announced that incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad had won a landslide victory in the presidential election, amid claims from opposition leaders that the results in the historic contest had been “staged”.
Opposition supporters were shocked at the results and Mir-Hosssein Moussavi, the moderate former prime minister who was challenging Mr Ahmadi-Nejad, vowed to fight what he saw as a unacceptable result.
[. . .]
With about 82 per cent of the votes counted, the interior ministry said that Mr Ahmadi-Nejad had won 64.7 per cent of the vote, easily passing the 50 per cent threshold needed to win outright in the first round.
Mr Moussavi had taken only 32.2 per cent of the vote, the ministry said, while the two marginal candidates, reformist Mehdi Karroubi and fundamentalist Mohsen Rezaei, won 0.8 per cent and 2.07 per cent respectively.
The interior ministry released the results with record speed, without giving details of which constituencies had been counted.
[. . .]
The results appear to be at odds with the huge groundswell of support that formed around Mr Moussavi in the final week of the campaign, and with the history of high turnout favouring reformists over conservatives.
“I warn that I will not succumb to this staged arrangement,” Mr Moussavi said in a statement on Saturday. “We witnessed the performance of dishonest officials, resulting in nothing except shaking the foundations of the holy Islamic republic of Iran and giving sovereignty to lies and dictatorship.”
Iranians knew vote rigging had taken place on a massive scale, Mr Moussavi said. “People who formed long queues and know who they have voted for, are watching in absolute astonishment the magical claims of officials and the statements on TV and radio,” he said.
Recall as well that text-messaging and websites were blocked in the run-up to the presidential elections–measures that were taken to handicap the reform movement. And consider that if Ahmadinejad genuinely did win 63% of the vote, as he and his supporters claim, his supporters would be the ones turning out in the streets en masse to engage in political demonstrations. But of course, in reality, it is Mousavi supporters and reformists who turn out by the thousands, the tens of thousands, and even the hundreds of thousands, braving the threats of the regime, to protest against the regime’s efforts to eradicate freedom, democracy, human, and political rights in Iran. Ahmadinejad “supporters,” meanwhile, have to be bussed into Tehran from the hinterlands for Potemkin counter-demonstrations that are entirely government-generated, utterly non-spontaneous, and totally without anything resembling genuine sentiment behind them. What’s more, not even the Iranian hinterlands–where Ahmadinejad support is supposedly strong–see pro-Ahmadinejad demonstrations take place there.
I know that the Leveretts are considered “realists.” They are not. They are apologists for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Islamic regime. And people across the political spectrum are on to the Leveretts’ game. Incidentally, when the Leveretts tell people to “get over” the supposed fact that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the presidential election, one group of people they are talking down to are actual Iranians. Add insufferable arrogance to unbelievable ignorance, and you get the Leveretts. One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry.