Re: [DEHAI] Iranian Elections: The "Stolen Elections" Hoax (By James Petras)

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From: Berhan Sium (
Date: Fri Jun 26 2009 - 13:53:26 EDT

Selam Zeyhilel,

I agree that Prof James Petras's sharp, clear and critical analysis on the situation in Iran is one of the best that helps us understand what's happening there beyond the substandard garbage and propaganda that is being spewed out by Western (Anglo-American) media outlets such as CNN and BBC. What these recent events in Iran and their coverage by Western media has clearly demonstrated to me is how much they stoop to gutter-level propaganda and lose all decorum of objectivity, and how much low regard and contempt they have for the ignorance of their own people.

I might also add that in addition to the excellent analysis provided by James Petras, the insightful dissection of the Iranian power politics as expounded by Asia Times commentator, the former Indian ambassador and diplomat par excellence, Mr. M K Bhadrakumar, is a good read. I especially found the article titled "Rafsanjani's gambit backfires" -- which I just forwarded to Dehai -- very informative and an eye-opener. It is more illuminating to see this election as a last-ditch effort by the wily Ayotollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanajani to get control of the presidency and become a power to be reckoned with. Rather than seeing it only as contest between the candidates Ahmedinejad and Mousavi, it makes more sense to look at the larger picture of power politics in the real power center in Iran, the council of the clerics, and this one was a fight between the Supreme Guide Ayottolah Khamenei and one of the most richest (if not the richest) man in Iran and a
 Machiavellian politician and cleric, Hashemi Rafsanjani. It's not for nothing that the telling nicknames of Rafsanjani in Iran are "Akbar Shah" (for his immense wealth and corruption) and "The Shark" for his machiavellian politics and ruthlessness.

It seems that in the latest Iranian presidential elections the Shark has finally met his match in the Khamenei-Ahemedinejad team, and may have gone down in defeat for good. But who knows how the intricate power games among the Ayatollahs in Qom might eventually play out. Either way, IMO, the CIA-NED destabilizers in Washington and Langley are clueless when it comes to Iranian politics. We can confidently predict that overall the Iranian Islamic Republic will come out strengthened out of this skirmish. It's nuclear power program will proceed without a hitch, and it will become the most important power-player in the region (and this may signal the death knell for the the Zionist regime of Israel). The biggest losers will be Washington and Israel, and their Arab allies in the Middle East. The Europeans, seeing which way the wind is shifting, are already beginning to backtrack, and Iran will move further into the Russia-China alliance of the BRIC nations
 and Shanghai block.


--- On Thu, 6/25/09, <> wrote:

> From: <>
> Subject: Re: [DEHAI] Iranian Elections: The "Stolen Elections" Hoax (By James Petras)
> To:
> Cc:
> Date: Thursday, June 25, 2009, 2:01 PM
> Selam Dehaiers,
> The attached piece by Prof. James
> Petras (thank you,
> Berhan ) is a classical
> example of critical thinking
> that I wish to emulate in sizing up the
> geopolitical
> issues around the around the
> world that we hear of and
> read about every day.
> Of course, you won't hear
> Prof. James Petras being
> quoted on the networks. I
> am sure you know
> why.
> Zeyhilel
> “Stubborn and ardent clinging
> to one's
> opinion is the best proof of stupidity.”...
> .............. Michel de
> Montaigne
> ===============================================================
> Iranian Elections:
> The "Stolen Elections"
> Hoax
> James Petras - 18.06.09
> "Change for the poor means food and
> jobs, not a relaxed dress code
> or mixed recreation…Politics in Iran is a lot more about
> class war than
> religion."  Financial Times Editorial, June 15
> 2009
> Introduction
> There is hardly any election,
> in which the White House has a significant stake, where the
> electoral defeat of
> the pro-US candidate is not denounced as illegitimate by
> the entire political
> and mass media elite. In the most recent period, the White
> House and its camp
> followers cried foul following the free (and monitored)
> elections in Venezuela
> and Gaza, while joyously fabricating an 'electoral
> success' in Lebanon despite
> the fact that the Hezbollah-led coalition received over 53%
> of the
> vote.
> The recently concluded, June 12, 2009 elections in Iran are
> a
> classic case: The incumbent nationalist-populist President
> Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
> (MA) received 63.3% of the vote (or 24.5 million votes),
> while the leading
> Western-backed liberal opposition candidate Hossein Mousavi
> (HM) received 34.2%
> or (3.2 million votes). Iran's presidential election
> drew a record turnout of
> more than 80% of the electorate, including an unprecedented
> overseas vote of
> 234,812, in which HM won 111,792 to MA's 78,300. The
> opposition led by HM did
> not accept their defeat and organized a series of mass
> demonstrations that
> turned violent, resulting in the burning and destruction of
> automobiles, banks,
> public building and armed confrontations with the police
> and other authorities.
> Almost the entire spectrum of Western opinion makers,
> including all the major
> electronic and print media, the major liberal, radical,
> libertarian and
> conservative web-sites, echoed the opposition's claim
> of rampant election
> fraud.
> Neo-conservatives, libertarian conservatives and
> Trotskyites
> joined the Zionists in hailing the opposition protestors as
> the advance guard of
> a democratic revolution. Democrats and Republicans
> condemned the incumbent
> regime, refused to recognize the result of the vote and
> praised the
> demonstrators' efforts to overturn the electoral
> outcome. The New York Times,
> CNN, Washington Post, the Israeli Foreign Office and the
> entire leadership of
> the Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations
> called for harsher
> sanctions against Iran and announced Obama's proposed
> dialogue with Iran as
> 'dead in the water'.
> The Electoral Fraud
> Hoax
> Western leaders rejected the results because they
> 'knew' that their reformist candidate could not
> lose ... For months they
> published daily interviews, editorials and reports from the
> field 'detailing'
> the failures of Ahmadinejad's administration; they
> cited the support from
> clerics, former officials, merchants in the bazaar and
> above all women and young
> urbanites fluent in English, to prove that Mousavi was
> headed for a landslide
> victory. A victory for Mousavi was described as a victory
> for the 'voices of
> moderation', at least the White House's version of
> that vacuous cliché.
> Prominent liberal academics deduced the vote count was
> fraudulent because the
> opposition candidate, Mousavi, lost in his own ethnic
> enclave among the Azeris.
> Other academics claimed that the 'youth vote' --
> based on their interviews with
> upper and middle-class university students from the
> neighborhoods of Northern
> Tehran were ovverwhelmingly for the 'reformist'
> candidate.
> What is
> astonishing about the West's universal condemnation of
> the electoral outcome as
> fraudulent is that not a single shred of evidence in either
> written or
> observational form has been presented either before or a
> week after the vote
> count. During the entire electoral campaign, no credible
> (or even dubious)
> charge of voter tampering was raised. As long as the
> Western media believed
> their own propaganda of an immanent victory for their
> candidate, the electoral
> process was described as highly competitive, with heated
> public debates and
> unprecedented levels of public activity and unhindered by
> public proselytizing.
> The belief in a free and open election was so strong that
> the Western leaders
> and mass media believed that their favored candidate would
> win.
> The
> Western media relied on its reporters covering the mass
> demonstrations of
> opposition supporters, ignoring and downplaying the huge
> turnout for
> Ahmadinejad. Worse still, the Western media ignored the
> class composition of the
> competing demonstrations -- the fact that the incumbent
> candidate was drawing
> his support from the far more numerous poor working class,
> peasant, artissan and
> public employee sectors while the bulk of the opposition
> demonstrators was drawn
> from the upper and middle class students, business and
> professional
> class.
> Moreover, most Western opinion leaders and reporters based
> in
> Tehran extrapolated their projections from their
> observations in the capital --
> few venture into the provinces, small and medium size
> cities and villages where
> Ahmadinejad has his mass base of support. MMoreover the
> opposition's supporters
> were an activist minority of students easily mobilized for
> street activities,
> while Ahmadinejad's support drew on the majority of
> working youth and household
> women workers who would express their views at the ballot
> box and had little
> time or inclination to engage in street politics.
> A number of newspaper
> pundits, including Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times,
> claim as evidence of
> electoral fraud the fact that Ahmadinejad won 63% of the
> vote in an
> Azeri-speaking province against his opponent, Mousavi, an
> ethnic Azeri. The
> simplistic assumption is that ethnic identity or belonging
> to a linguistic group
> is the only possible explanation of voting behavior rather
> than other social or
> class interests. A closer look at the voting pattern in the
> East-Azerbaijan
> region of Iran reveals that Mousavi won only in the city of
> Shabestar among the
> upper and the middle classes (and only by a small margin),
> whereas he was
> soundly defeated in the larger rural areas, where the
> re-distributive policies
> of the Ahmadinejad government had helped the ethnic Azeris
> write off debt,
> obtain cheap credits and easy loans for the farmers.
> Mousavi did win in the
> West-Azerbaijan region, using his ethnic ties to win over
> the urban voters. In
> the highly populated
> Tehran province, Mousavi beat Ahmadinejad in the urban
> centers of Tehran and Shemiranat by gaining the vote of the
> middle and upper
> class districts, whereas he lost badly in the adjoining
> working class suburbs,
> small towns and rural areas.
> The careless and distorted emphasis on
> 'ethnic voting' cited by writers from the Financial
> Times and New York Times to
> justify calling Ahmadinejad's victory a 'stolen
> vote' is matched by the media's
> willful and deliberate refusal to acknowledge a rigorous
> nationwide public
> opinion poll conducted by two US experts just three weeks
> before the vote, which
> showed Ahmadinejad leading by a more than 2 to 1 margin --
> even larger than his
> electoral victory on June 12. This poll revealed that among
> ethnic Azeris,
> Ahmadinejad was favored by  a 2 to 1 margin over
> Mousavi, demonstrating how
> class interests represented by one candidate can overcome
> the ethnic identity of
> the other candidate (Washington Post June 15, 2009). The
> poll also demonstrated
> how class issues, within age groups, were more influential
> in shaping political
> preferences than 'generational life style'.
> According to this poll, over
> two-thirds of Iranian youth were too poor to have access to
> a
> computer and
> the 18-24 year olds "comprised the strongest voting
> bloc for Ahmadinejad of all
> groups" (Washington Post June 15, 2009). The only
> group, which consistently
> favored Mousavi, was the university students and graduates,
> business owners and
> the upper middle class. The 'youth vote', which the
> Western media praised as
> 'pro-reformist', was a clear minority of less than
> 30% but came from a highly
> privileged, vocal and largely English speaking group with a
> monopoly on the
> Western media. Their overwhelming presence in the Western
> news reports created
> what has been referred to as the 'North Tehran
> Syndrome', for the comfortable
> upper class enclave from which many of these students come.
> While they may be
> articulate, well dressed and fluent in English, they were
> soundly out-voted in
> the secrecy of the ballot box.
> In general, Ahmadinejad did very well in
> the oil and chemical producing provinces. This may have be
> a reflection of the
> oil workers' opposition to the ‘reformist’ program,
> which included proposals to
> 'privatize' public enterprises. Likewise, the
> incumbent did very well along the
> border provinces because of his emphasis on strengthening
> national security from
> US and Israeli threats in light of an escalation of
> US-sponsored cross-border
> terrorist attacks from Pakistan and Israeli-backed
> incursions from Iraqi
> Kurdistan, which have killed scores of Iranian citizens.
> Sponsorship and massive
> funding of the groups behind these attacks is an official
> policy of the US from
> the Bush Administration, which has not been repudiated by
> President Obama; in
> fact it has escalated in the lead-up to the elections.
> What Western
> commentators and their Iranian protégés have ignored is
> the powerful impact
> which the devastating US wars and occupation of Iraq and
> Afghanistan had on
> Iranian public opinion: Ahmadinejad's strong position
> on defense matters
> contrasted with the pro-Western and weak defense posture of
> many of the campaign
> propagandists of the opposition.
> The great majority of voters for the
> incumbent probably felt that national security interests,
> the integrity of the
> country and the social welfare system, with all of its
> faults and excesses,
> could be better defended and improved with Ahmadinejad than
> with upper-class
> technocrats supported by Western-oriented privileged youth
> who prize individual
> life styles over community values and solidarity.
> The demography of
> voting reveals a real class polarization pitting high
> income, free market
> oriented, capitalist individualists against working class,
> low income, community
> based supporters of a 'moral economy' in which
> usury and profiteering are
> limited by religious precepts. The open attacks by
> opposition economists of the
> government welfare spending, easy credit and heavy
> subsidies of basic food
> staples did little to ingratiate them with the majority of
> Iranians benefiting
> from those programs. The state was seen as the protector
> and benefactor of the
> poor workers against the 'market', which
> represented wealth, power, privilege
> and corruption. The Opposition's attack on the
> regime's 'intransigent' foreign
> policy and positions 'alienating' the West only
> resonated with the liberal
> university students and import-export business groups. To
> many Iranians, the
> regime's military buildup was seen as having prevented
> a US or Israeli
> attack.
> The scale of the opposition's electoral deficit should
> tell us is
> how out of touch it is with its own people's vital
> concerns. It should remind
> them that by moving closer to Western opinion, they removed
> themselves from the
> everyday interests of security, housing, jobs and
> subsidized food prices that
> make life tolerable for those living below the middle class
> and outside the
> privileged gates of Tehran University.
> Amhadinejad's electoral success,
> seen in historical comparative perspective should not be a
> surprise. In similar
> electoral contests between nationalist-populists against
> pro-Western liberals,
> the populists have won. Past examples include Peron in
> Argentina and, most
> recently, Chavez of Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia and
> even Lula da Silva in
> Brazil, all of whom have demonstrated an ability to secure
> close to or even
> greater than 60% of the vote in free elections. The voting
> majorities in these
> countries prefer social welfare over unrestrained markets,
> national security
> over alignments with military empires.
> The consequences of the electoral
> victory of Ahmadinejad are open to debate. The US may
> conclude that continuing
> to back a vocal, but badly defeated, minority has few
> prospects for securing
> concessions on nuclear enrichment and an abandonment of
> Iran’s support for
> Hezbollah and Hamas. A realistic approach would be to open
> a wide-ranging
> discussion with Iran, and acknowledging, as Senator Kerry
> recently pointed out,
> that enriching uranium is not an existential threat to
> anyone. This approach
> would sharply differ from the approach of American
> Zionists, embedded in the
> Obama regime, who follow Israel's lead of pushing for a
> preemptive war with Iran
> and use the specious argument that no negotiations are
> possible with an
> ‘illegitimate’ government in Tehran which 'stole an
> election'.
> Recent
> events suggest that political leaders in Europe, and even
> some in Washington, do
> not accept the Zionist-mass media line of 'stolen
> elections'. The White House
> has not suspended its offer of negotiations with the newly
> re-elected government
> but has focused rather on the repression of the opposition
> protesters (and not
> the vote count). Likewise, the 27 nation European Union
> expressed 'serious
> concern about violence' and called for the
> "aspirations of the Iranian people to
> be achieved through peaceful means and that freedom of
> expression be respected"
> (Financial Times June 16, 2009 p.4). Except for Sarkozy of
> France, no EU leader
> has questioned the outcome of the voting.
> The wild card in the aftermath
> of the elections is the Israeli response: Netanyahu has
> signaled to his American
> Zionist followers that they should use the hoax of
> 'electoral fraud' to exert
> maximum pressure on the Obama regime to end all plans to
> meet with the newly
> re-elected Ahmadinejad regime.
> Paradoxically, US commentators (left,
> right and center) who bought into the electoral fraud hoax
> are inadvertently
> providing Netanyahu and his American followers with the
> arguments and
> fabrications: Where they see religious wars, we see class
> wars; where they see
> electoral fraud, we see imperial
> destabilization.
> ======
> James Petras is the author
> of more than 62 books published in 29 languages, and over
> 600 articles in
> professional journals, including the American Sociological
> Review, British
> Journal of Sociology, Social Research, and Journal of
> Peasant Studies. He has
> published over 2000 articles in nonprofessional journals
> such as the New York
> Times, the Guardian, the Nation, Christian Science Monitor,
> Foreign Policy, New
> Left Review, Partisan Review, TempsModerne, Le Monde
> Diplomatique, and his
> commentary is widely carried on the internet.
> His publishers have
> included Random House, John Wiley, Westview, Routledge,
> Macmillan, Verso, Zed
> Books and Pluto Books. He is winner of the Career of
> Distinguished Service Award
> from the American Sociological Association's Marxist
> Sociology Section, the
> Robert Kenny Award for Best Book, 2002, and the Best
> Dissertation, Western
> Political Science Association in 1968. His most recent
> titles include Unmasking
> Globalization: Imperialism of the Twenty-First Century
> (2001); co-author The
> Dynamics of Social Change in Latin America (2000), System
> in Crisis (2003),
> co-author Social Movements and State Power (2003),
> co-author Empire With
> Imperialism (2005), co-author)Multinationals on Trial
> (2006).
> He has a
> long history of commitment to social justice, working in
> particular with the
> Brazilian Landless Workers Movement for 11 years. In
> 1973-76 he was a member of
> the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Repression in Latin
> America. He writes a
> monthly column for the Mexican newspaper, La Jornada, and
> previously, for the
> Spanish daily, El Mundo. He received his B.A. from Boston
> University and Ph.D.
> from the University of California at Berkeley.
> The James Petras Website
>   Make your summer sizzle with fast
> and easy recipes for the grill.


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