Up until now - say what you want about the 1979 constitution - elections in Iran were fair. The candidates may have been vetted, but the voting process was transparent. I always felt that Iran's regular, free and fair elections were an example for many Muslim countries. But this falsification is a turning point. In 2009, 30 years after 1979, the Velayat-e Faqih - "Rule by the Supreme Jurist" - is failing spectacularly. If rumours are to be believed, Ayatollah Khameni's long dispute with Mousavi, Ahmedinejad's main rival, led to the fixing of the outcome of the election.
The 1979 constitution stipulates that the people are the source of power. The rigging of the election puts Khameni in direct conflict with the people of Iran.
It's just not credible that Ahmedinejad would win in Mousavi's home province. It is not credible that the other candidates would gather only two percentage points between them. Given the extremely high turnout, Mousavi was supposed to benefit. Instead, according to the official results, it seems that even those who voted for a reform candidate four years ago, plopped for Ahmedinejad this time - not credible. Ayatollah Khameni was supposed to verify the result after three days. He signed them off right away.
See NYT columnist in Tehran.
Interestingly, an Iranian colleague of mine believes that Ahmedinejad DID win - but perhaps with not as wide a margin as the official result. He believes Ahmedinejad has genuine popularity amongst the poor, and they see him as one of them - on their side. This echoes Robert Fisk's anonymous trusted friend:
"The election figures are correct, Robert. Whatever you saw in Tehran, in the cities and in thousands of towns outside, they voted overwhelmingly for Ahmadinejad. Tabriz voted 80 per cent for Ahmadinejad. It was he who opened university courses there for the Azeri people to learn and win degrees in Azeri. In Mashad, the second city of Iran, there was a huge majority for Ahmadinejad after the imam of the great mosque attacked Rafsanjani of the Expediency Council who had started to ally himself with Mousavi. They knew what that meant: they had to vote for Ahmadinejad."
"You know why so many poorer women voted for Ahmadinejad? There are three million of them who make carpets in their homes. They had no insurance. When Ahmadinejad realised this, he immediately brought in a law to give them full insurance.