It's obvious that the election in Iran was rigged. Yet Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei denies it was rigged and asks an interesting question: How could one rig 11 million votes?

You might also wonder WHY anyone would rig an election by such a large margin when it is so obvious that rigging it for a smaller victory would have been more clever.

I'm here to answer those questions.

But first, let's discuss what I call liar talk. It's a minor hobby of mine to detect lies by the way people choose their words. For example, liars often answer an accusation with a question, as in "What evidence do you have that I killed that drifter?" Innocent people might ask a question too, but it would be more along the lines of "What are you talking about?"

So when Khamenei asks, "How could one rig 11 million votes?" it sounds like a lie from a guy who knows exactly how he did it and hopes you don't. And it's possible that the huge margin of victory was a blunder. Perhaps a smaller victory was intended and some underlings overshot the mark. So a clever lie would involve asking how anyone could believe that a smart guy like the Supreme Leader could make such a mistake.

Allow me to describe how the election could be rigged by 11 million votes. It's a conspiracy theory and it goes like this. Imagine that Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, identifies the Iranian who is in charge of their election process. They send him a secret message from someone allegedly speaking for the Supreme Leader: "The Supreme Leader wants you to rig the election for a landslide. But in case anyone finds out, he must have plausible deniability. Don't speak to anyone about this. Just pass the word to each of your local vote counters. Don't disappoint the Supreme Leader."

This conspiracy theory fits all of the data. It's not hard to imagine Mossad getting a fake message to one guy who has the power to rig the election. And it's not hard to believe that one guy would do as he believed he was told and keep the secret. Likewise, his underlings would keep the secret for fear of serious consequences.

Israel has the greatest motive for keeping the crazy-sounding President in office, in case they feel the need to attack Iran. You can bomb a country whose President says your own country should be wiped from the face of the map, but it's politically problematic to bomb a country that has a new president who speaks in a less menacing way.

In conclusion, the vote was rigged, and it was either a huge blunder by the Supreme Leader's minions, or a clever plot by someone who has an interest in destabilizing Iran.

If you are trying to decide which theory is more likely, a good place to start is with the track record of the current Iranian administration. How often have they lied to their own people or to the world? If you give examples of those lies in the comments, include the evidence, not just your gut feeling.
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+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 22, 2009
Why rig for a landslide victory rather than a narrow one?

"The people will more easily swallow a big lie than a small one." -Adolph Hitler
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 22, 2009
My vote is blunder-by-underlings. They enlisted Michael Bolton from Office Space to write software to round the extra votes. It was supposed to be 1.1 million.
Jun 22, 2009
Did they even count the votes? I think they just picked some numbers and said, 'Here are the results'. Seems a lot more efficient than actually counting votes you don't care about.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 22, 2009
To those who believe that signs printed in English indicate foreign involvement ....
1 - From what I've heard, most Iranian schools offer English as a second language from middle school onwards.
2 - It's almost unanimous that social networking sites played an important role in spreading the word. Most of these sites didn't offer Farsi / Persian as a language option until after the protests were well underway. This indicates that the Iranian users of these sites were conversant with English.
3 - Even if the people didn't understand the language on the signs they were carrying, it's not uncommon for people in non-English-speaking countries to use such signs and slogans. The attention of the rest of the world is a powerful factor in any protest ... and you're not gonna get it unless you reach out to them.
Jun 22, 2009
My favorite is John Tower's response at at his confirmation hearings when asked whether he had a drinking problem:

"No--I am a man of some discipline."

What does discipline have to do with it--unless you do have a problem? Suppose someone says to you, "I hear you get erotic satisfaction by putting frogs into the bathtub with yourself. Is that true?"

Would you answer, "No--I am a man of some discipline"?

I also liked Woody Allen's line from PLAY IT AGAIN SAM. This comes at a moment when he is feeling guilty over fantasizing about his best friend's wife. She asks him, "Say, did you hear--another woman was raped over in Queens."

And he immediately blurts out, "Really? I was nowhere NEAR Queens."

Serge Gorodish
Jun 22, 2009

The English signs show two things:

1 - The protests were well-organized.

2 - The intended audience is not inside Iran.

Also, consider that English is a very common language around the world.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 22, 2009
How about an alternative theory?

Shortly after the polls close the CIA/Mossad/MI6 agent Mr Mossavi (straight out of the "Coup's for dummies" handbook) declares a spurious vistory based on information from "a source in the Interior Ministry".

Unsurprisingly, The President counters that claim stating that his own polling, and polling conducted independently by the Washington Post, and the most up-to-date counting figures put him clearly in the lead.

This situation presents the Supreme Leader with a crippling problem. In a dictatorship propaganda and control is everything. The Supreme Leader therefore moves to remove any doubt and bring everyone back on message. He speaks with election officials and they tell him that the current President is undoubtedly winning. He later backs the President. Then in the rush to prove this they make a silly mistake of using figures which (whilst reflecting the overall outcome) are clearly fabricated in the specific electoral areas.

Queue agitation of civillian population by agents in Tehran, and exploitation of legitimate grievances. CIA utilises rather superb BBC World media capabilities to reinforce propaganda message. President Obama stays above the fray. Truly beautiful - respect to you guys at Langley. Makes me nostalgic for the old days. First class work guys.
Jun 22, 2009
I guess we know what George W has been doing since he retired, he is now an advisor for Iran. He told them how he rigged an election once by 11 million votes in Florida, and that it made him win by a small margin. The higher ups, conviced by the fact he was elected, forgot to adjust for the population of Iran and ran with the 11 million number. I think the best idea now would be to fess up, then walk George W out into the streets and let the mobs have their way with him.

As for how it was done, that's easy, the Iranians have adopted Scott's idea for rich people being taxed more and gaining extra votes in an election. With the different economiesm, rich over there means something completely different.
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 22, 2009
First, some mathematical evidence that a rigging of the votes is highly likely to have happened:


Secondly: The last thing I heard, and which sounds somewhat plausible to me, is that the too-large margin was intended as a declaration of war to the reformers in the country, basically telling them who's boss now. Unfortunately the reformers didn't end up disheartened but took it as a provocation and went on the streets instead.

+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 22, 2009
There is one thing I wonder about: In every picture of protest I have seen, the protestants had signs with English writing on them. I have not seen one single sign with Farsi writing.

If you go to Washington to protest against something, you would not turn up with Russian protest signs, would you? Nobody would understand you!

How come they are protesting with English signposts?
Jun 22, 2009
actually an Iranian guy on Bill Maher show explained why whoever rigged the election felt the need to fake a landslide: Iranians always felt their elections were fair and a small win would've made it harder to believe that it was real. Given the history of overall satisfaction with the way the elections were previously conducted the woulyd be hard-pressed to believe that fraud could happen on such a large scale. that's why the question "how can you rig 11 million votes" sounded more or less sincere because it's an accepted fact that it never happened before.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 22, 2009
The sad horrific truth of the matter is that very few Americans know an election, rigged or not, even took place nor do we care until it has some material impact on daily life. This is a sad era to witness/participate.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 22, 2009
I wish someone was behind all the problems of the World, at least someone would be in control. Unfortunately there are few conspiracy theories that cannot be equally well explained by !$%*!$% and incompetence. In a totallitarian state the likely hood of !$%*!$ is increased by the fact that nobody wants to be the one to point out an error so when things go wrong they go wrong big time !!

If Israeli intelligence had organised it he would have won by 5% only.
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