NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Iranian security forces beat protestors during weekend riots against the June 12 landslide re-election of Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Amid cries of fraud, critics of the election pointed out that Ahmadinejad's three rivals were overwhelmingly defeated in their own hometowns and that he apparently carried the day in all of Iran's 30 provinces and in every social and age category.
Voters thronged polling places on election day, international news services reported, with turnout estimated at 85 percent. Ahmadinejad's main challenger, the moderate reformer Mir Hossein Mousavi, engineered a campaign much like that of U.S. President Barack Obama, using tools like Facebook and text messaging to build a formidable movement among Iranian young people. In some places, voters stood in lines that were literally miles long and polling stations stayed open late to accommodate the crowds.
Yet, according to official results, Ahmadinejad won nearly 63 percent of the national vote, including 80 percent of the ballots in Mousavi's own hometown. News services reported that cell phone service and text messaging were disrupted in the run-up to the election and the Facebook site was blocked.
The election was tightly controlled, with no independent election commission, no secret balloting, no election observers and no way to verify the announced results, Iranian observer Amir Taheri said in a Wall Street Journal column June 15.
"Mr. Ahmadinejad was credited with more votes than anyone in Iran's history. If the results are to be believed, he won in all 30 provinces and among all social and age categories," Taheri wrote. "His three rivals, all dignitaries of the regime, were humiliated by losing even in their own hometowns. This was an unprecedented result even for the Islamic Republic, where elections have always been carefully scripted charades."
Time magazine said the results could be doubted because of the speed in which Ahmadinejad was pronounced the winner -- less than a day after the election. The Interior Ministry "is supposed to wait three days after voting before it certifies the result to allow time for disputes to be examined," Time said. Iran uses paper ballots. Read More