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Question & Answer on the Iran Crisis Print E-mail

  By Stephen R. Shalom, Thomas Harrison, Joanne Landy and Jesse Lemisch                                     Farsi translation
 Campaign for Peace and Democracy
 July 7, 2009
 Right after the June 12 elections in Iran, the Campaign for Peace and Democracy issued a statement  expressing our strong support for the masses of Iranians protesting electoral fraud and our horror at the ferocious response of the government.

 Our statement concluded: "We express our deep concern for their well-being in the face of brutal repression and our fervent wishes for the  strengthening and deepening of the movement for justice and democracy in  Iran." Since the elections, some on the left, and others as well, have  questioned the legitimacy of and the need for solidarity with the
 anti-Ahmadinejad movement. The Campaign's position of solidarity with the  Iranian protesters has not changed, but we think those questions need to be  squarely addressed.
 Below are the questions we take up. Questions three, four and five deal with  the issue of electoral fraud; readers who are not interested in this rather  technical discussion are invited to go on to question six. And we should say  at the outset that our support for the protest movement is not determined by  the technicalities of electoral manipulation, as important as they are. What  is decisive is that huge masses of Iranians are convinced that the election
 was rigged and that they went into the streets, at great personal risk, to  demand democracy and an end to theocratic repression.
 1. Was the June 12, 2009 election fair?
 2. Isn't it true that the Guardian Council is indirectly elected by the  Iranian people?
 3. Was there fraud, and was it on a scale to alter the outcome?
 4. Didn't a poll conducted by U.S.-based organizations conclude that  Ahmadinejad won the election?
 5. Didn't Ahmadinejad get lots of votes from conservative religious  Iranians among the rural population
and the urban poor? Might not these  votes have been enough to overwhelm his opponents?
 6. Hasn't the U.S. (and Israel) been interfering in Iran and promoting  regime change, including by means of supporting all sorts of "pro-democracy"  groups?
 7. Has the Western media been biased against the Iranian government?
 8. Is Mousavi a leftist? A neoliberal? What is the relation between Mousavi and the demonstrators in the streets?
 9. Is Ahmadinejad good for world anti-imperialism?
 10. Is Ahmadinejad more progressive than his opponents in terms of social  and economic policy? Is he a champion of the Iranian poor?
 11. What do we want the U.S. government to do about the current situation  in Iran?
 12. What should we do about the current situation in Iran?
 13. Is it right to advocate a different form of government in Iran? 
  1. Was the June 12, 2009 election fair?
 Even if every vote was counted fairly, this was not a fair election. 475 people wished to run for president, but the un-elected Guardian Council, which vets all candidates for supposed conformity to Islamic principles, rejected all but 4.     Free elections also require free press, free expression, and freedom
 to organize, all of which have been severely curtailed."[1]
 2. You call the Guardian Council un-elected, but isn't it true that it is  indirectly elected by the Iranian people?
 Every eight years the Assembly of Experts is popularly elected.  Candidates must be clerics and must be approved by the Guardian Council. The  Assembly of Experts then chooses a supreme leader, who rules for life  (though he can be removed by the Assembly of Experts for un-Islamic  behavior). The supreme leader appoints the head of the judiciary. The  supreme leader chooses half of the 12 members of the Guardian Council and  the judiciary nominates the other six, to be ratified by the Parliament. The  Guardian Council then vets all future candidates for president, parliament,  and the Assembly of Experts.[2]
 Thus, once this system was in place the possibilities of  fundamentally changing it have been essentially nil. If 98 percent of the  Iranian people decided tomorrow that they opposed an Islamic state, the
 rules would still enable the theocracy to continue in power forever --  because the only people who could change things have themselves to be vetted  by the theocratic rulers. Even amending the constitution requires the  approval of the supreme leader.
 Iran is not a dictatorship of the Saudi Arabian sort, where there  are no elections and where people have zero input. But the basic  prerequisite of a democratic system -- that the people can change their
 government -- is missing.
 3. OK, but was there fraud? And was it on a scale to alter the outcome?
 There was certainly fraud: The Iranian government acknowledges that  in 50 cities there were more votes cast than registered voters. (In Iran,  voters can cast their ballots in districts other than those in which they
 reside, but "many districts where the excess votes were recorded are small,  remote places rarely visited by business travelers or tourists."[3])  Moreover, the vote total also exceeded the number of registered voters in  two provinces.[4] (Province-wide excess is more significant than city-wide,  because people would be less likely to vote in another province than another  city.) Perhaps the most damning indication of fraud was the fact that  Mousavi's observers, as well as those of the other opposition candidates,
 were frequently not allowed to be present when ballots were counted and the  ballot boxes sealed -- a flagrant violation of Iranian law.[5] Moreover,  supporters of opposition candidates had planned to independently monitor the  results by text messaging local vote tallies to a central location, but the
 government suddenly shut down text messaging, making this impossible.
 The question, though, is whether the extent of fraud was sufficient  to change the results of the election. We can't be fully sure. But there is  very powerful evidence that either no one emerged with a majority, which  would have required a run-off election, or that Mousavi won outright.
 According to an analysis by researchers at Chatham House, a British  think tank, and the Institute of Iranian Studies at the University of St  Andrews:
  "In a third of all provinces, the official results would  require that Ahmadinejad took not only all former conservative voters, and  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."[6]
 Since Ahmadinejad's victory in 2005, when many reformists boycotted  the elections and questions of fraud were raised, the hardliners lost their  control of local councils in 2007. So an Ahmadinejad sweep in 2009 – when  reformist leaders, responding to a growing wave of discontent with the  regime, were newly energized to challenge the President -- is hard to  credit.
 Ahmadinejad allegedly won in areas where other candidates had strong  ties and support, including their home provinces. Some have suggested that  this was a result of people not wanting to "waste" their votes on candidates  unlikely to win.[7] But in Iran, elections are in two stages: if no  candidate gets a majority in round one, then there is a run-off. So there  was no reason for anyone to refrain from voting for her preferred candidate  in the first round.
 4. Didn't a poll conducted by U.S.-based organizations conclude that  Ahmadinejad won the election?
 The poll, conducted by Terror Free Tomorrow and the New America  Foundation, found that Ahmadinejad was favored over Mousavi by two to one.  But the poll was conducted between May 11 and May 20, 2009, before the  official beginning of the three-week election campaign, and before the  (first-ever) televised presidential debates. These debates were a turning  point: millions of Iranians saw displayed the deep divisions in the  leadership of the Islamic Republic. They sensed that there was now an
 opportunity for real change.     More importantly, however, Ahmadinejad received the support of only
 a third of the poll respondents, with almost half either refusing to answer  or saying they hadn't yet made up their minds:
  "At the stage of the campaign for President when our poll  was taken, 34 percent of Iranians surveyed said they will vote for incumbent  President Ahmadinejad. Mr. Ahmadinejad's closest rival, Mir Hussein
 Moussavi, was the choice of 14 percent, with 27 percent stating that they  still do not know who they will vote for. President Ahmadinejad's other  rivals, Mehdi Karroubi and Mohsen Rezai, were the choice of 2 percent and 1  percent, respectively.
 "A close examination of our survey results reveals that the  race may actually be closer than a first look at the numbers would indicate.  More than 60 percent of those who state they don't know who they will vote
 for in the Presidential elections reflect individuals who favor political  reform and change in the current system."[8]
  When a government acts in secret, conducts an election lacking in  transparency, and bars and restricts foreign journalists and the free flow  of information, it makes sense not to accept its claims.
 5. But didn't Ahmadinejad get lots of votes from conservative religious  Iranians among the rural population and the urban poor? Might not these  votes have been enough to overwhelm his opponents?
 Ahmadinejad's support from ultraconservative voters was certainly  not insignificant. In addition, his social welfare programs, funded from oil  revenues, have undoubtedly induced many among the poor to give him their  allegiance (see below). And then there are the members of the security  apparatus -- the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij, the pro-government  religious paramilitary force -- who, together with their families, number in  the millions. But there is no evidence that these were enough to give him
 the huge majorities he claims. As for peasants and villagers, only 35  percent of Iranian voters live in rural areas. And in any event, there is  good reason to believe that rural voters are not strongly  pro-Ahmadinejad.[9] As Chatham House noted, "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."[10]
 6. Hasn't the U.S. (and Israel) been interfering in Iran and promoting  regime change, including by means of supporting all sorts of "pro-democracy"  groups?
 In the 1950s and 60s, right-wingers charged that the U.S. civil  rights movement was actually controlled by the Soviet Union, through the  U.S. Communist Party. Of course Communists were involved in the civil rights  movement and no doubt Moscow approved. But that's a far cry from indicating  that the Soviet Union was a decisive force in the civil rights movement, let  alone that it controlled the movement.
 There is no doubt that U.S. agents, as well as those of other  countries, are hard at work in Iran, as elsewhere. It is well known that  Washington has meddled in the politics of Venezuela and Bolivia, as well as  Georgia, Ukraine and Lebanon, to take only the most recent examples.  Congress has even set up a special fund for "democracy promotion" in Iran.  But foreign meddling does not prove foreign control. And foreign meddling  does not automatically discredit mass movements or their goals; it depends
 on who is calling the shots. In any event, there is no evidence that the CIA  or any other arm of U.S. intelligence -- or Mossad -- had anything to do  with initiating or leading the protests in Iran. And it is absurd to see a  parallel between the rightwing elements in Venezuela and Bolivia -- who are
 not fighting for greater popular control over their governments -- and the  millions of protesters who have demanded democracy in Iran.
 In 1953 U.S. and British intelligence engineered a coup to oust the  democratically-elected Mossadeq government in Iran. But that coup involved  bribing street gangs and a treasonous military. There was nothing like the  mass upsurge that we've recently seen in Iran, and there has been not a  scrap of credible evidence that the millions of people in the streets these  past few weeks were brought out by CIA money.
 On the contrary, for years now leading Iranian human rights  activists, feminists, trade unionists -- people like Shirin Ebadi and Akbar  Ganji -- have taken the position that Iranian dissidents should not accept
 U.S. financial support.[11] They have a consistent record of opposing U.S.  bullying, sanctions and threats of war,[12] and they know that any hint of  links to Washington would be the kiss of death in Iran.
 Recently, Iranian state television has broadcast footage of alleged  rioters stating "We were under the influence of Voice of America Persia and  the BBC" and some detainees -- politicians, journalists, and others – are  said to have confessed to all sorts of Western plots.[13] Surely, though, no  one should take such claims, elicited under torture or duress,  seriously.[14]
 7. Has the Western media been biased against the Iranian government?
 Mainstream Western media have clearly been more interested in  pointing out electoral fraud and repression in Iran than in states that are  closely allied with Washington. But this doesn't mean that there has been no  fraud or repression in Iran.
 For example, a video of the killing of Neda Agha Soltan spread  widely on the internet and the media was quick to turn her death into an icon  of the brutality of the Iranian government. We never saw a similar response  to the many victims of government atrocities in Haiti or Egypt or Colombia.  Nevertheless, the claim by some Iranian officials that she was killed by the  CIA or by other demonstrators just to make the regime look bad[15] is  totally lacking in credibility.
 Western media have always selectively publicized and often  exaggerated the crimes of official enemies. But we shouldn't conclude from  this that crimes have not been committed. And in the case of Iran, there is
 no good evidence so far that Western news reports on the government's  electoral fraud and violent repression of dissent have been fundamentally  inaccurate.
 8. Is Mousavi a leftist? A neoliberal? What is the relation between Mousavi  and the demonstrators in the streets?
 Mousavi's politics and economic program are not very clear. He is in  many ways a pillar of the Establishment -- approved as a candidate by the  Guardian Council and a former prime minister who served under Ayatollah  Khomeini in the 1980s. He had a reputation for being one of the leaders more
 sympathetic to welfare state programs. Under his prime ministership many  such programs were enacted, but also leftists were brutally repressed. With  Washington's assistance: using U.S. intelligence information, the Iranian  government rounded up members of the pro-Soviet Tudeh Party and conducted  mass executions, virtually eliminating the Tudeh in Iran and killing many  other leftists as well.[16] It has been argued that the repression was  carried out by the ministry of intelligence and the judiciary, and that
 these institutions were not in fact under his control even though he was  prime minister. Whether or not this is the case, at a minimum Mousavi  neither resigned nor publicly protested the violent repression that took  place when he was prime minister, and thus he cannot be absolved of  responsibility.
 More recently, he has been an ally of the powerful billionaire  cleric and former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, who is close to major  private business interests. Mousavi supports turning over many of the
 publicly-owned sectors of the Iranian economy to private hands, but so does  Ahmadinejad, who boasts that he has privatized more public assets than his  predecessors,[17] and in fact privatization has been going on for several  years and is mandated by recently passed legislation.[18] In his campaign
 for the presidency, Mousavi called for loosening some of the Islamic  Republic's restrictions on personal liberties, especially as concern women's  rights. But Mousavi came to embody the aspirations of millions of Iranians  for more than this -- for an end to the terrorism of the Basijis and the  Revolutionary Guards and for an even broader democratization of the Islamic  Republic. Undoubtedly, some of them hoped -- as do we -- that the protests  would be a first step towards dismantling the fundamentally anti-democratic
 system of clerical rule itself.
 During the weeks that followed the election, demonstrators protested  voting fraud, but also called increasingly for equality and freedom -- "down  with dictatorship!" The marches may have been started mainly by students and  liberal-minded middle class people, but they were quickly joined by growing
 numbers of workers, elderly people and women in conservative chadors.
 It seems that Mousavi's electoral organization did not anticipate the massive outpouring of protest after the election and was unable (and  perhaps unwilling, given Mousavi's Establishment ties) to provide any
 organization or real leadership. The ferocious violence of the security  forces has left the protesters, and the general public in Iran, stunned and  understandably intimidated. However, their outrage is deep, and it will not  go away. Protest may soon return to the streets and rooftops. And many are  looking for other forms of protest. Mousavi, Khatami and Rafsanjani have not  made their peace with Ahmadinejad, and the split in Iran's clerical  establishment deepens.
 The millions who have gone into the streets have already shown  themselves capable of acting independently of Mousavi, and, as has often  been the case in democratic struggles historically around the world, there  is good reason to believe that the masses of protesters who have entered  into the fight for limited demands can transcend the political, social and  economic program of the movement's initial leaders. In Iran, this is  especially the case if trade unions are able to use the opening created by
 today's challenges to Ahmadinejad to assert the interests of the poor and  lend their organized strength to the movement.
 9. Is Ahmadinejad good for world anti-imperialism?
 There is a foolish argument in some sectors of the left that holds  that any state that is opposed by the U.S. government is therefore  automatically playing a progressive, anti-imperialist role and should be
 supported. On these grounds, many such "leftists" have acted as apologists  for murderous dictators like Milosevic and Saddam Hussein. The Campaign for  Peace and Democracy has always argued that we can oppose U.S. imperial  policy without thereby having necessarily to back the states against which
 it is directed.
 Ironically, despite their current rhetoric, some U.S.  neoconservatives favored an Ahmadinejad victory.[19] They knew that on the  main issues dividing the U.S. and Iran -- Tehran's pursuit of nuclear  energy, its support for Hamas and Hezbollah, and its insistence on forcing  Israel to withdraw completely from the Occupied Territories -- Ahmadinejad's  position was no different from that of Mousavi or that of Iranian public  opinion.[20] But Ahmadinejad, with his confrontational style and his  outrageous "questioning" of the Holocaust, is a much easier leader to hate  and fear; his continuing grip on power therefore serves the goals of  neoconservative hawks and Israeli hardliners.[21] And they know that Iranian  public opinion solidly supports the cause of Palestinian rights; and that  Ahmadinejad's anti-Jewish rhetoric has harmed, not helped, the Palestinians.
 Some of these "leftists" say that whatever Ahmadinejad's faults, the  mass upsurge in Iran plays into the hands of U.S. imperialism. On the  contrary, a people's pro-democracy movement is the worst fear of the many  authoritarian regimes on which Washington relies to maintain its hegemony;  such as the rulers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Pakistan and elsewhere.  And not just among U.S. clients. It is significant that news of the  demonstrations was heavily censored in China and Myanmar, and that the  Russian government was one of the first to congratulate Ahmadinejad on his  "victory."
  Hugo Chavez too congratulated Ahmadinejad. As Reese Erlich, author  of The Iran Agenda, who frequently appears on Democracy Now!, has commented,      
 "On a diplomatic level, Venezuela and Iran share some things  in common. Both are under attack from the U.S., including past efforts at  'regime change.' Venezuela and other governments around the world will have  to deal with Ahmadinejad as the de facto president, so questioning the  election could cause diplomatic problems.  "But that's no excuse."[22]
 10. Is Ahmadinejad more progressive than his opponents in terms of social  and economic policy? Is he a champion of the Iranian poor?

 As leftists we are very familiar with rightwing politicians  disingenuously claiming to care about the poor and the working class. The  Islamic Republic has long included a social welfare component to help it
 maintain support. Ahmadinejad has undertaken some populist programs,  utilizing some of the revenues generated by the sharply higher price of oil.  But, even ignoring the fact that basic democratic rights and women's rights  are hardly the exclusive concern of the well-to-do, the Islamic Republic,  and especially Ahmadinejad's presidency, have not been good for the workers  and the poor of Iran.
 Anyone purporting to support the working class has to back  independent unions so that workers can defend their own interests both in  the work place and in the society at large. However, Iran has still not
 ratified international labor conventions guaranteeing freedom of association  and collective bargaining and abolishing child labor,[23] and unions in Iran  have been subjected to horrendous repression. As the International Campaign  for Human Rights in Iran has reported[24]:
  "Iranian workers are still unable to form independent trade  unions, a right denied both within Iran's labor code and de facto repressed  by the government in action. The government routinely arrests and prosecutes  workers demanding their most basic rights, such as demands for wages unpaid,  sometimes for periods as long as 36 months. Security forces often attack  peaceful gatherings by workers, harass their families, and even kill them,  as happened during a gathering by copper miners in Shahr Babak, near the
 city of Kerman, in 2004."  Under Ahmadinejad's presidency, the situation has been especially  grim:
  "Two leading trade unionists, Mansour Osanloo and Mahmoud  Salehi, are currently in prison. Another one, Majid Hamidi, recently the  target of an assassination attempt, is hospitalized. In addition to being
 imprisoned and fined, eleven other workers were flogged in February 2008 for  the crime of participating in a peaceful gathering to commemorate  International Labor Day, May 1st.
  "In January 2006, security forces arrested nearly a thousand  members of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company,  attacked some of their homes, beat their families, and even detained the  wives and children of the leading members, to prevent a planned strike.  Since then, most members of the Syndicate's central council have been  targets of prosecution and imprisonment. The Syndicate's leader, Mansour  Osanloo, is currently serving a five- year sentence, while he suffers from  eye injuries due to earlier beatings, and is in danger of going blind.  Fifty-four members of the Syndicate have been fired from their jobs and are  prosecuted in courts for their peaceful activities."    
 Teachers' attempts to organize and collectively bargain have also  met violent repression.
  Just this past May Day, the government beat participants in a  peaceful labor event and arrested the leaders.[25] And in June, a committee  of the International Labour Organization cited Iran for the "grave situation  relating to freedom of association in the country.[26]
 What makes the need for unions in Iran so important is that large  numbers of workers are forced to work under temporary contracts that permit  even more exploitation of labor than usual. One common practice is for  workers to be fired and then rehired every three months as a way to deny  them pensions and other benefits.
 11. What do we want the U.S. government to do about the current situation in  Iran?
 There is a great deal that the Administration can do. Obama should  promise that the U.S. will never launch a military attack on Iran or support  an Israeli attack. He should commit the United States not to support  terrorism or sabotage operations in Iran, and immediately order the  cessation of any such activities that may still be occurring. He should lift  sanctions against Iran -- certainly not as a reward to Ahmadinejad for  stealing the election, but because the sanctions have a negative impact on
 the Iranian people and provide one of the main justifications for  Ahmadinejad's iron rule. He should take major initiatives toward disarmament  of U.S. nuclear and conventional weapons, and he should withdraw all U.S.  troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Pakistan. And he  should work to promote a nuclear-free Middle East, which includes Israel. By  reducing these threats, Obama would thereby be removing one of the main  rationalizations for Iranian repression (as well as for its nuclear  program).
 12. What should we do about the current situation in Iran?
 We need to make it clear to the Iranian people that there is  "another America," one that is independent of the government and opposed to  its oppressive and anti-democratic foreign policy. Our support comes with no  strings attached and no hidden agenda. Iranians should be made aware that it  is American progressives -- not the U.S. government or the hypocrites of the  right -- who offer genuine solidarity.
 13. Is it right to advocate a different form of government in Iran?
 As leftists, the Campaign for Peace and Democracy supports radical  change everywhere that people do not have full control over their political  and economic lives. We advocate such change in the United States, in France,  in Russia, in China. And we support it in Iran too. But we do not support  the United States government -- or Britain or Israel or any other country --  imposing "regime change" outside its borders by force. What was wrong with  Bush's invasion of Iraq in 2003 was not that the regime of Saddam Hussein
 was overthrown -- his was a hideous regime and anyone concerned with human  decency wanted it ended -- but that Bush asserted that the United States had  the right to invade. Political change imposed by a foreign army, or brought  about by the covert operations of foreign intelligence agencies, is  unacceptable, and it is especially unacceptable when the foreign power  concerned has a long history of interventions for its own sordid motives: to  impose its domination, to control oil resources, to establish military
  But do we support the Iranian people if they act to end autocratic  rule in Iran? Of course! This is a government that, in addition to its  just-completed election fraud and vicious attacks on its own citizens,
 imprisons, tortures, publicly flogs and hangs political opponents, labor  activists, gays, and "apostates," and still prescribes execution by stoning  as the penalty for adultery. The Head of the Judiciary declared a moratorium  on executions by stoning in 2002, but at least five people are known to have  been stoned to death since then, two of them on December 26, 2008.[27]  Workers have no right to strike. A woman's testimony is worth half that of a  man's and women have limited rights to divorce and child custody. The regime  imposes gender apartheid, segregating women in many public places. Veiling  is compulsory and enforced by threats, fines and imprisonment. We should support Iranians' efforts to end these barbaric practices.
 1. See, for example, Amnesty International, "Iran: Worsening repression of
 dissent as election approaches," 1 February 2009, MDE 13/012/2009,
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-XFalNQIdR6TE6%404406836-33PKMhalBb5Rc ; Amnesty
 International, "Iran's presidential election amid unrest and ongoing human
 rights violations," 5 June 2009,
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-eojOcmkBAVsfY%404406837-x8evoDdfwPevY ; Amnesty
 International, "Iran: Election amid repression of dissent and unrest," 9
 June 2009, MDE 13/053/2009,
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-fEzwxnCzPf.cI%404406838-RO8BNlLO8rXLU .
 2. See BBC, "Iran: Who Holds the Power,"
 .stm http://m1e.net/c?96293433-PYbfy.mo5u4/U%404406839-XCW5JL6zOQqV%2e .
 3. Michael Slack man
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-AQjtXlt5Gyc5g%404406840-wwpgQjlgPM5Ao , "Amid
 Crackdown, Iran Admits Voting Errors," New York Times, June 23, 2009,
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-SkADpXbGyZP.2%404406841-6Q0Mn/VJnMOJ2 .
 4. Ali Ansari, ed., Preliminary Analysis of the Voting Figures in Iran's
 2009 Presidential Election, Chatham House and the Institute of Iranian
 Studies, University of St Andrews, 21 June 2009,
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-B57HD8h/SYuPo%404406842-jOGiSx1wopTOg .
 5. Kaveh Ehsani, Arang Keshavarzian and Norma Claire Moruzzi, "Tehran, June
 2009," Middle East Report Online, June 28, 2009,
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-Dct.KIVtYHBzI%404406843-bJmsE4L9GwhS%2e .
 6. Ansari, op. cit.
 7. George Friedman, "The Iranian Election and the Revolution Test,"
 Stratford, June 22, 2009,
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-tpyQdZfgS496c%404406844-R23Ssqa8kLL6k ; Esam
 Al-Amin, "A Hard Look at the Numbers: What Actually Happened in the Iranian
 Presidential Election?" CounterPunch, June 22, 2009,
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-zuOFqLDInPz5w%404406845-yT8R1NY9Q8dvw .
 8. Terror-Free Tomorrow & New America Foundation, "Ahmadinejad Front Runner
 in Upcoming Presidential Elections; Iranians Continue to Back Compromise and
 Better Relations with US and West; Results of a New Nationwide Public
 Opinion Survey of Iran before the June 12, 2009 Presidential Elections,"
 June 2009,
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-jZMkML/GLNorA%404406846-tyVuRdazyjc8%2e .
 9. Eric Hoogland, "Iran's Rural Vote and Election Fraud," June 17, 2009,
 Agence Global, http://www.agenceglobal.com/Article.asp?Id=2034
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-YjBINYUIGqh62%404406847-Zt/POVzw8poao .
 10. Ansari, op. cit.
 11. Karl Vick and David Finkel, "U.S. Push for Democracy Could Backfire
 Inside Iran," Washington Post, March 14, 2006,
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-TtTG6AZVEnnZg%404406848-ZneavWTZMkcxI ; Akbar
 Ganji, "Why Iran's Democrats Shun Aid," Washington Post, Oct. 26, 2007,
 216.html http://m1e.net/c?96293433-grD6ixDbmaSqw%404406849-1CbFA6no49.u%2e
 ; Patrick Disney, "Iranian Civil Society Urges US to End 'Democracy Fund,'
 Ease Sanctions," 16 July 2008,
 mid=2 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-K5naUHB1uCPJ6%404406850-8nfjMbKjh4Z8k .
 12. See, for example, "Iran's Civil Society Movement Sets Up 'National Peace
 Council'," CASMII Press Release, 10 July 2008,
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-rwESI9rRhLiwQ%404406851-EKisdvqvSr8jU .
 13. AFP, "Iran shows footage of 'rioters influenced by Western media'," 23
 June 2009,
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-2xB1e/F/9jttI%404406852-u/5.9jIyjsJnI ; Michael
 Slackman, "Top Reformers Admitted Plot, Iran Declares," New York Times, July
 4, 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/04/world/middleeast/04confess.html
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-f0o.qREKv2TtA%404406853-uWi7cW0S/7rbE ; CNN,
 "Newsweek reporter in Iran reportedly 'confesses'," July 1, 2009,
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-Vq41QBObAHQ0s%404406854-5WRJiB6hQ9wFQ .
 14. Of course, when similar torture was carried out by the U.S. government,
 U.S. media only referred to "harsh interrogation techniques." See Glenn
 Greenwald, "The NYT calls Iranian interrogation tactics 'torture'," Salon,
 July 4, 2009,
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-LLAX/QAwOOKnw%404406855-a1WDP40TC6CB6 .
 15. Thomas Erdbrink and William Branigin, "Iranian cleric says protesters
 wage war against God," Boston Globe, June 27, 2009,
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-ZUN5XEU6cftHA%404406856-.a7UhMfW8bAys .
 16. The Tower Commission Report, President's Special Review Board, New York:
 Bantam Books/Times Books, 1987, pp. 103-04.
 17. Ehsani, et al., op. cit.
 18. Billy Wharton, "Selling Iran: Ahmadinejad, Privatization and a Bus
 Driver Who Said No," Dissident Voice, June 28th, 2009,
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-zAzwHXLzo5UlE%404406857-JDPlKJH9USO5Y .
 19. Stephen Zunes, "Why U.S. Neocons Want Ahmadinejad to Win," AlterNet,
 June 17, 2009, http://www.alternet.org/story/140707/
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-xBzueiJ6a7P32%404406858-NMCtq5ZbHEhMk .
 20. See Obama's assessment of the lack of difference between Mousavi and
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-Am6JEm.oKgt2s%404406859-bU1ZVvjkqkFAQ ; on
 public opinion, see Terror Free Tomorrow poll cited above.
 21. Joshua Mitnick, "Why Iran's Ahmadinejad is preferred in Israel; The
 incumbent president will be easier to isolate than reformist leader Mr.
 Mousavi, say some leading Israeli policymakers," Christian Science Monitor,
 June 21, 2009, http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0621/p06s04-wome.html
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-cVFIm9WOE1kdc%404406860-wo6DfZOdl432M .
 22. Reese Erlich, "Iran and Leftist Confusion," ZNet, June 29, 2009,
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-fa.D0hGIuHrK.%404406861-AT9HGWd9ZNVAU .
 23. See ILO, "Ratifications of the Fundamental human rights Conventions by
 country" (7/1/09), http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/docs/declworld.htm
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-/5iUF3lY.sSAw%404406862-mGg3Op5Z3iZbE .
 24. International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, "Workers' Rights,"
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-3TIhnewGAZmQI%404406863-aEakJ04MhK8.k .
 25. Amnesty International, "Iran: Prisoners of conscience / fear of torture
 or ill-treatment," 10 June 2009, MDE 13/054/2009,
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-6TfjuERjJpvgs%404406864-Wi6YzmhgmF2dI .
 26. International Labour Organization, "ILO Governing Body elects new
 Chairperson -- Committee on Freedom of Association cites Myanmar, Cambodia
 and Islamic Republic of Iran," Press release, 19 June 2009, ILO/09/41,
 http://m1e.net/c?96293433-jxhMiPeTxz4cI%404406865-E.U8Wy7.k5dbM .
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