Ahmadinejad to expose 2009 voter fraud if protégé barred from June 14 election

Site close to former Revolutionary Guards commander

As Iran gears up for its presidential election in June, the question of fraud in the 2009 election continues to haunt the country’s leadership.

Baztab, a widely read news site close to former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsen Rezaei, stirred up controversy on Saturday after it claimed that Ahmadinejad, Iran’s beleaguered head of government, was in possession of a tape that would prove that authorities had inflated his number of votes in the 2009 race by 8 million and thus brought his total tally to 24 million instead of his original 16 million.

Based on figures released by Ahmadinejad’s Interior Ministry a day after election day (12 June 2009), Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won around 24 million of the total votes (63%) and reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi won 13 million (34%). The other two candidates Mehdi Karroubi and Mohsen Rezaei were able to get less than 3% of the total votes.

Baztab claimed that Ahmadinejad had threatened to release the alleged tape should the Guardian Council, a body charged with overseeing elections, decide to bar his top aide and protégé Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei from running in the upcoming presidential election on 14 June. It is widely believed that Mashaei is being groomed by Ahmadinejad as his potential successor since according to the Iranian constitution he will not be allowed to serve for more than two consecutive terms. The increasing likelihood of a Mashaei candidacy has infuriated leading figures within the conservative camp who see him as the head of a so-called “deviant current.”

The site says that the tape in question is a recording of a conversation between Ahmadinejad and other regime officials in the early hours of 13 June 2009. During the conversation, Baztab claims, Ahmadinejad was told that his “real vote” was 16 million. However, in order to prevent allegations of fraud from being levelled at the ruling elite, the incumbent president was informed that his final vote would be announced as 24 million.

In the tape, Baztab adds, Ahmadinejad argued against the move and called for the “real” result to be announced!

The contentious story was removed less than an hour after its publication on 27 April. However, opposition site Digarban has made available an archived screenshot of the story via FreezePage.com.

Iran’s 2009 presidential election marked a pivotal point in the country’s history. Soon after the results were announced, massive protests sprung up across the country, plunging the Islamic Republic into an unprecedented crisis of legitimacy.

The two reformist candidates in the election, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, would spearhead the opposition Green Movement until their illegal house arrest in February 2011.

The pair were placed under arbitrary house arrest after calling for protests in solidarity with the Arab Spring.

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