The results of Iran’s elections for local councils and the powerful Assembly of Experts have been tensely awaited as the first test of the president’s popularity since he took office last year.(Hat Tip: Iran-va-Jahan)
DEBKAfile’s Tehran sources report that his followers, seeing which way the wind was blowing, took matters in their own hands. Backed by armed Revolutionary Guards, they stormed the counting sessions Monday, Dec. 18, using threats and physical harassment to force the counters to falsify the results and reverse the gains.
Sixty hours after balloting ended, when only 10 percent of the returns to the key Tehran city election had been counted, the publication of further results was suspended.
Four prominent Iranians, including ex-presidents Hashem Rafsanani and Mohammed Khatami, protested that vote-rigging was taking place.
Ahmadinejad took fright from initial reports that the Reform-Seekers camp headed by Tehran mayor (and former RG officer) Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf were pulling ahead of his own candidates. When this trend showed in the early returns from a small number of provincial towns, our Tehran sources report, Ahmadinejad tried approaching the supreme ruler for a directive to “adjust” the ballot count and switch votes to his supporters. When he was told that Khamenei was too busy to talk to him, he ordered RG musclemen to take off their uniforms and shoulder their way into the ballot counting centers of Tehran, which holds one-sixth of the country’s population. He told them to move cautiously as Ghalibaf has his own armed militia.
By then, Ghalibaf has calculated from one-tenth of the ballots counted that he had carried up to eight of the 15 city council members compared with three for the president’s camp. One of the new pro-Ghalibaf councilors is Iran’s popular national wrestling champion Ali Reza Dabir. The president’s sister, Parvin Ahmadinejad ranks 11th out of 15 candidates on her list and may not win a seat.[...]
Monday, December 18, 2006
DEBKAfile has the reputation of being interesting but not necessarily reliable. This is certainly an example of the interesting aspect: