Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Iranian election update

Increasingly it is becoming clear just how severely the Iranian presidential elections were marked by vote rigging and irregularities.  On July 21, Chatham House released a preliminary analysis which they concluded the following:

Working from the province by province breakdowns of the 2009 and 2005 results, released by the Iranian Ministry of Interior on the Farsi pages of their website shortly after the election, and from the 2006  census as published by the official Statistical Centre of Iran, the following observations about the official data and the debates surrounding it can be made.

· In two conservative provinces, Mazandaran and Yazd, a turnout of
more than 100% was recorded.

· If Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's victory was primarily caused by the
increase in voter turnout, one would expect the data to show that the
provinces with the greatest increase in voter turnout would also show
the greatest 'swing' in support towards Ahmadinejad. This is not the

· In a third of all provinces, the official results would require that
Ahmadinejad took not only all former conservative voters, all former
centrist voters, and all new voters, but also up to 44% of former
reformist voters, despite a decade of conflict between these two

· In 2005, as in 2001 and 1997, conservative candidates, and
Ahmadinejad in particular, were markedly unpopular in rural areas.
That the countryside always votes conservative is a myth. The claim
that this year Ahmadinejad swept the board in more rural provinces
flies in the face of these trends.

[click here to download the full report]

Of particular concern to us at The Voice of the Martyrs are recent statements by  Iranian government officials and Ayatollah Khamenei blaming “foreign elements” for the recent unrest and demonstrations. 

Similar accusations have, in the past, been accompanied by increased oppression against religious minorities, including Christians, who are perceived as having Western sympathies and support. 

Pray for Western leaders as they seek wisdom as to how to respond to the Iranian government’s crackdown on demonstrators. Pray that church leaders in Iran would have wisdom to know how to advise their congregants on how to best exhibit God’s priorities during this tumultuous time.  Pray for increased freedom in Iran at all levels.

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