Thursday, June 18, 2009

Leaked Memo on Iranian Election?

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
(Image from Wikipedia)

Over at The Marmot's Hole Blog, a commentor going by the handle "Nix" left a very interesting comment (#70) on June 17, 2009 at 5:04 a.m. From an Iranian friend, he obtained a rough, unedited translation of a supposedly "leaked memo" of June 13th that had originally been intended for Ayatollah Ali Khameni and supposedly gave the real results of the recent Iranian election. Here's the original memo, provided online at a site titled "Iran Election was Rigged":

Here's the rough, unedited English translation:
To: The Supreme Leader, Hazrat (similar to sir) Ayatollah Khameni

Salam Alaikon

due to your express of concern to the results of the tenth election and (your) very own discretion to retain Mr. Ahmadinejad as the President at this sesetive times, the plans are set so that the results that will be published would be expedient to the regime and the revolution, and all the necessary measures have taken for the likely events following the election, the head of the parties and candidates are under heavy suvaliance.

so, only for your information, we present you with the real results of the election.
the sum of the ballots: 42,026,078

Mir Hossein Musavi Khamene: 19,075,623

Mehdi Karrubi: 13,387,104

Mahmud Ahmadinejad: 5,698,417

Mohsen Rezai Mirqaed: 3,754,218

Invalid (Blank, Unreadable, etc.): 38,716
Minister of Interior
Sadegh Mahsouli
Is this memo authentic? Are these numbers genuine? If so, they put Ahmadinejad a distant third in the vote. But there could be much reason to doubt, for Ken Ballen and Patrick Doherty tell us in their Washington Post article, "The Iranian People Speak" (Monday, June 15, 2009), that a poll conducted by them prior to the election supports the official vote tally in Iran:
The election results in Iran may reflect the will of the Iranian people. Many experts are claiming that the margin of victory of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the result of fraud or manipulation, but our nationwide public opinion survey of Iranians three weeks before the vote showed Ahmadinejad leading by a more than 2 to 1 margin -- greater than his actual apparent margin of victory in Friday's election.
Moreover, they strongly insist that their poll produced valid statistics:
While Western news reports from Tehran in the days leading up to the voting portrayed an Iranian public enthusiastic about Ahmadinejad's principal opponent, Mir Hossein Mousavi, our scientific sampling from across all 30 of Iran's provinces showed Ahmadinejad well ahead.
What, then, are the correct results? We do know that Ayatollah Ali Khameni -- under pressure from the enormous demonstrations -- has agreed to a recount. But why? Because of his certainty? Or his uncertainty? I would tend toward skepticism on this memo, for I doubt that Ahmadinejad could have done so poorly. The memo shows the two candidates considered reformist far in the lead, which looks suspect to me. But what do I know?

Perhaps one or two of this blog's Iranian readers could offer comments, for I know that some Iranians do occasionally read Gypsy Scholar.

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At 2:02 AM, Anonymous Hajir said...

Dear Prof. Hodges
I can tell you the translation is sound and I did not find any errors (I'm not a professional but just as a persian native speaker), I really cannot prove or disprove the ginuinity of the letter which I had seen before and it was posted in some Perisan blogs, but it has not been approved by any legitimate source, therefore I would like to just let you know my personal opinion on the 10th presidential election.
As you may remember, during the 8th presidential election there was an unorecedented turnout just for the reason that Mr. Mohammad Khatami was holding a slightly different position from that of the rejime, and the majority voted for khatami I believe they were voting 'no' against the regime rather than personally having great enthusiasm for the running president.
Many analists also blamed the 9th election and accused the regime for manipulation of the results, and they estimamted that about 5-6 million votes were forged in favor of Ahmadinejad who is a hard liner, and in particular againt Hashemi Rafsanjani- the second political power in the country and the dian council.
This time there is no dobt that the whole result is made up but no one exactly knows yes who should be held resposible, either Ahmadi Nejad, Mahsuli, the supreme leader, or any one else.
It is clear that who ever did this, the forgery in the election will defenately have detrimental results for the regime beyond their expectations, I think the leaders expected minor dimonstrations and never expected massive protests in the scale we see these days.
Soem scholars think that if the protest continue it would not remain limited to people's discontent about the election result and it will gear more toward the legitimacy of the regime, as I have seen some videos that people are protesting againt the regime, not only the results. And it was a news that one protester was killed in Kermanshah (west part of the country where is oredominantly populated by kurds) and I assume the recent incident will also spread the protest more all around the country.
Musavi has said that he will not give up and leader's voice has been softened in his second public speech regarding the recounts, and some people especulating Ahmadinejad's resignation which I personally do not think could be likely due to his personality.
I have been closely following the news but I apologize for not giving propper sources, I will report in more regorous way after the final week if you want me to do.
At the end we are reaaly happy that you are going to lecture at Yonsei again, and also we are uncertain that we can take a course with the same title which we had taken before, is there any possibility for you to change the course title, or to offer another political science course?

At 5:56 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Hajir. You've given me much to think about. I look forward to more analysis when you have time.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:14 AM, Blogger Deplorably Bonnie Blue said...

For what it's worth, this is also from the Washington Post:

"More to the point, however, the poll that appears in today's op-ed shows a 2 to 1 lead in the thinnest sense: 34 percent of those polled said they'd vote for Ahmadinejad, 14 percent for Mousavi. That leaves 52 percent unaccounted for. In all, 27 percent expressed no opinion in the election, and another 15 percent refused to answer the question at all. Six Eight percent said they'd vote for none of the listed candidates; the rest for minor candidates."



At 11:31 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Cynthia, thanks for the link. That puts the poll that I had read into perspective . . . but I still remain skeptical of this memo.

Perhaps Hajir will have more to say soon.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The document is fake.

I have my own reasons for deciding the document fake, the only one I'd care to place on a publicly accessible blog is this: "clerics do not take notes on their discussions. whether the clerics involved are Shia or Southern Baptists. (USA)"

We should let this play out.

Allow the Iranians to decide for themselves.


At 12:04 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I don't know that clerics would never take notes, but I also have my doubts about the memo.

I think that the Obama Administration intends to let the Iranians play this out.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


A "memo" to the head huncho of the Islamic republic, which does not start with "Bismillah ..."?

"Salam aleikum". LOL.

"Hey there!

Here are the tallies ..."

Ahmadinejad was ahead before the election, and there is no reason to believe he did not win a landslide. He has been rubbing the West's nose in its own shit for over 4 years.

Four more years, like it or not. (Your own shit, that is.)

At 4:31 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Anonymous, when I saw the "Anonymous" signature, I expected the sort of comment that you posted, so I wasn't surprised and therefore certainly not disappointed.

Congratulations on your victory. You sound happy with it.

Jeffery Hodges

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