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.
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!
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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