Mousavi remains defiant
28 Jun 2009 04:17
By MUHAMMAD SAHIMI in Los Angeles | 28 June 2009
Iran's Guardian Council -- the Constitutional body that vets the candidates and certifies the validity of the elections -- has formed a special committee to look into the irregularities of the presidential election, and to recount 10 percent of the votes. It has invited the candidates to introduce a special representative, so that the recounting can take place.
But in a letter to the Guardian Council, Mir Hossein Mousavi, the main reformist candidate, insisted that the entire election process was fraught with numerous violations of important articles of Iran's election laws and, therefore, there was no way to rectify the situation other than annulment of the election and holding a new one. In his letter, Mousavi divides all the violations of the government and the Interior Ministry, which supervises the elections, into four categories, stating:
Based on what I already informed the Council about [in Mr. Mousavi's previous letters], the extent and depth of the unlawful acts [of the government] in four distinct categories, namely,
- The election campaigns, and what the government did prior to Election Day;
- The collection of the votes [on June 12] and their enumeration;
- Summarizing the results and announcing them [and],
- What has taken place after announcing the results,
are such that there is no remedy for them other than annulment of the entire election and holding a new one. As examples, I point out certain violations and unlawful acts that are recognized by Article 33 of the laws of presidential elections as violations that influence the overall result of the elections and, therefore, leave no choice but annulment of the elections:
- Explicit and widespread violation of Article 68 of the elction laws that forbids the use of public resources for, and the intervention of the cabinet members, senior officials, governor-generals, and managers in favor of the candidate of the establishment [President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad].
- Violation of the neutrality of the Voice and Visage [Seda va Sima: National Iranian Radio and Television Network], and making unfounded accusations [against the reformist candidates] by that organ, the unlawful nature of some of which has also been confirmed by Iran's Chief Justice [Ghorbanali Dorri Najafabadi], as well as widespread campaign and propaganda by governmental organizations, such as IRNA [Iran's official news agency], newspapers, and websites in favor of the establishment's candidate.
- Widespread violations of Article 33 of the presidential election laws:
- buying votes by distributing the so-called "justice stocks and shares" and cash among the peasants.
- Threatening, as well as bribing by cash, members of the city councils, influential people, etc.
- Lack of confidence in the ballot boxes being empty before they were sealed [before voting], disappearance of the voting forms and ballot boxes after voting, due to the fact that [our] monitors had been barred from being present at the voting places, as well as based on reports that have been received.
- Denying people's rights to vote by limiting the hours of voting, and many other violations, such as lack of voting forms at the voting locations.
- Fraud in voting by not having enough voting forms at voting places, even though 12 million additional forms [on top of the 47 million needed for the number of eligible voters] had already been printed, and printing of an additional 2.5 million forms (and perhaps more) that had no official serial numbers had also been authorized by a member of the Council. Such violations can undoubtedly be proven by comparing the completed voting forms with the information in the Information Bank [that the government keeps of all the Iranian people].
- "Recommendation" to people by the officials working at voting places for whom they should vote, and selecting such officials and monitors from amongst the ranks of the establishment candidate.
- Intimidating the voters and supporters of the reformist candidates in the week before the election, and attacking their campaign headquarters and their supporters in the legal gathering and rallies around the country.
- Setting many limitations for the [reformist] candidates' monitors to attend the meetings of the executive committees [that supervise the elections], be present at the centers where the votes were collected and counted, as well as at a significant number of voting locations.
- Cutting off, on the voting day, all means of mass communications, such as SMS and cell phones, which are used for monitoring the elections and reporting unlawful acts to my campaign headquarters, so that we could pursue the legal channels to stop them.
- Collecting the votes in a way that could not be monitored, and announcing the results in an "engineered" way (while, even before announcing the results by the Interior Ministry, the websites that are linked with the government, the Sepaah [the Revolutionary Guards], and [the daily] Kayhan [the mouthpiece of the hard-liners] had already announced the results).
- Widespread intervention in the elections by some parts of the armed forces prior and during the elections, which is against the explicit order of the Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who had forbidden the military from intervention in political affairs].
- The existence of more 170 voting districts [out of a total of 368] in which the percentage of the votes cast was between 95% and 140% of the total number of eligible voters.
- Attacking my [Mr. Mousavi's] campaign headquarters throughout the country, shutting down my central campaign headquarter [in Tehran], and arresting the campaign chairman and its active members, which disrupted our work for collecting information and documents on the violations of the election law.
The letters continues to insist that the aforementioned violations of the election laws cannot be remedied by a partial recounting of the votes. It also casts doubt on whether the special committee can, in fact, be trusted:
All the above items indicate the existence of prior planning and organization for violating the election law. Since the Guardian Council has already stated that investigating some of the violations is beyond its authority, and because some of the violations were committed by the Interior Minister [Sadegh Mahsouli], other senior officials in the Ministry, and some members of the Guardian Council who violated the principle of neutrality, an impartial investigation of the violations cannot be done by the Guardian Council, as well as any committee that is appointed by the Council. Indeed, some members of the committee were not neutral in the elections, and have stated their positions before the investigation has been conducted and, therefore, cannot contribute to removing the public's doubts about the elections.
Therefore, I [Mr. Mousavi] insist once again that the best way of addressing the issue and regaining the nation's trust in the election process is by annulling the election and appointing a national adjudicating team that can be trusted by the public and its verdict can be accepted by it. Thus, I suggest that the issue should be referred to an independent legal team trusted by all the candidates and the religious leaders.
The special committee that the Guardian Council has formed consists of former Foreign Minister Dr. Ali Akbar Velayati; former speaker of the Majles (parliament) Gholamali Haddad Aadel; Chief Justice [and former Minister of Intelligence] Ghorbanali Dorri Najafabadi; Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabi, a conservative Majles deputy and a deputy Speaker; Mohammad Hassan Rahimiyan, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's special representative in the Shahid [martyr] Foundation; and Goudarz Eftekhar Jahromi, a legal scholar, university professor, and former member of the Guardian Council. Of these, Dr. Valayati has criticized Mr. Mousavi for calling for the annulment of the election. Mr. Haddad Aadel [whose daughter is married to a son of Ayatollah Khamenei] supported the candidacy of Mr. Ahmadinejad for a second term, and Mr. Rahimiyan has stated that, "those who could not get people's votes [meaning Mr. Mousavi and Mr. Mahdi Karroubi, the second reformist candidate], instead of pursuing the matter through legal channels, resorted to alternative ways that have only made our enemies happy," hence stating his opposition to mass demonstrations against the rigged elections.
It should also be noted that Mr. Karroubi has stated that, in order for his representative to participate in the work of the special committee, two members of the committee who are not considered neutral must be replaced by others, but has not specified which two.
Copyright (c) 2009 Tehran Bureau