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Was Iran’s election stolen? New study makes a forceful case

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A statistical analysis of province-by-province voting in Iran’s June 12 presidential election makes a compelling case for wide-spread fraud in the vote that returned conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power and touched off days of bloody protests in Iran.

The report, “Preliminary Analysis of the Voting Figures in Iran’s 2009 Presidential Election” published by the Chatham House think tank in London and the Institute of Iranian Studies at St. Andrew’s University in Scotland, found instances of greater than 100 percent turnout in two provinces. It also found an improbable 90 percent turnout in four other provinces. The research was based official Iranian data.

In the immediate aftermath of the election, with defeated challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi and his supporters saying the election was stolen, political scientists cautioned that it was possible that Mr. Ahmadinejad had won, given the lack of accurate polling data before the election

Vastly different voting patterns

But the researchers found a pattern of voting widely at odds from past Iranian elections, including a surge in support for Ahmadinejad in rural areas where conservative candidates were deeply unpopular in Iran’s 1997, 2001, and 2005 elections.

In those elections “conservative candidates, and Ahmadinejad in particular, were markedly unpopular in rural areas,’’ the authors write. “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.”


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