Scott Lucas, Prof.
This weekend, candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, in the context both of the Guardian Council’s purported recount of 10% of the Presidential vote and its appointment of a “special committee” to conduct an enquiry into the electoral process, wrote a letter calling for an annulment of the election and a new vote. He also objected to the composition of the “special committee” and call for a fair, neutral arbitration panel consisting of legal and religious specialists. Via Tehran Bureau:
Based on what I already informed the Council about, the extent and depth of the unlawful acts [of the government] in four distinct categories, namely,
1. The election campaigns, and what the government did prior to Election Day;
2. The collection of the votes [on June 12] and their enumeration;
3. Summarizing the results and announcing them [and],
4. 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:
1. 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].
2. 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.
3. Widespread violations of Article 33 of the presidential election laws:
a. buying votes by distributing the so-called “justice stocks and shares” and cash among the peasants.
b. Threatening, as well as bribing by cash, members of the city councils, influential people, etc.
c. 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.
d. 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.
e. 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].
f. “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.
g. 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.
h. 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.
i. 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.
j. 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).
k. 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].
l. 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.
m. 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.
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.