Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rezaei Demands Vote Data

Iranian electoral protests are going well beyond just "moderates" and students. Former commander of the Revolutionary Guards Rezaei may have no shot at winning, but don't discount his influence during the protest.

Dissatisfaction over the Iranian election seems to be increasing, with former Revolutionary Guards commander Rezaei intensifying his personal protest:

Defeated presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei has given the Interior Ministry an ultimatum to release the detailed election results.

In a letter to Iran's Interior Minister Sadeq Mahsouli, Rezaei objected to the delay in releasing the exact number of votes and a detailed and comprehensive result of each and every ballot box.

He said that unless the results are released by the end of Wednesday, the delay denies candidates their legal right for filing complaints.

With Iran having a regime that we take to be highly control-oriented, super-patriotic, and reliant on the support of the military, it is one thing for a politician who campaigned as a reformer and who is popular among students to take to the streets in protest. It is quite another for the man who commanded the Revolutionary Guards during the war against Saddam...the war that created the neo-con generation Ahmadinejad has been relying on as a key pillar of his make public demands on the government.

It might be easy for the regime to clamp down hard with its intelligence and para-military forces against the students, but such a tactic seems utterly irrelevant to the problem being posed by superpatriot Rezaei. It is no wonder that Khamenei appears to be staying out of the limelight, presumably trying to figure out how to respond. (Take a look at Rezaei's "face full of resolution" in the photo that PressTV published.)

Rezaei's remarks also raise a specific question that authorities may find hard to address: if the exact number of votes has not been released, this suggests that either it is still being tabulated or that the regime is hiding something. If it is still being tabulated, then how could the regime have been so certain about the outcome immediately after the election? If the regime is hiding something...well, then that does prove the protesters' point.

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