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Senior Iran cleric says fake ballots were used to elect Ahmadinejad

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Jul. 10 – In a poignant letter to Iran’s outgoing President Mohammad Khatami, Hojjatol-Islam Mehdi Karroubi accused “an autocratic political clique” of making use of “part of the armed forces and government employees” and taking advantage of “this country’s resources and manpower to conduct illegal activities”. He said fake ballots were used in two provinces to bolster the vote for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the first round of the election to allow him to go on to the second round. Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Jul. 10 – In a poignant letter to Iran’s outgoing President Mohammad Khatami, Hojjatol-Islam Mehdi Karroubi accused “an autocratic political clique” of making use of “part of the armed forces and government employees” and taking advantage of “this country’s resources and manpower to conduct illegal activities”. He said fake ballots were used in two provinces to bolster the vote for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the first round of the election to allow him to go on to the second round.

Ex-Speaker of Parliament Karroubi, who came third in the first round of last month’s presidential elections, said that while he led the other candidates in the vote count by more than 1.2 million votes, suddenly a surge of votes in favour of Ahmadinejad from only two provinces – Tehran and Isfahan – placed the latter in front of him. He called for a recount of all ballots in these two provinces to discover “fake ballots”.

Karroubi’s specific accusation of a crucial vote-fix by Iran’s armed forces and the paramilitary Bassij had the effect of a bomb shell in Tehran’s ruling circles, drawing immediate ire from several clerics close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The letter is bound to exacerbate the already tense relationship between Karroubi and defeated candidate ex-President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on the one hand and Khamenei and his allies on the other.

“Your Eminence is very well aware that the meddling of certain institutions and well-organised forces in the presidential elections had been predicted”, Karroubi wrote to Khatami.

“It seems that those friends who determined the fate of the municipal and parliamentary elections before insisted on doing the same thing this time, in order to complete their project”, Karroubi added. “The fact is that members of the public are talking about the meddling of parts of the armed forces and the paramilitary forces in the elections and any attempt to whitewash this issue would be doomed to fail”.

Karroubi urged Khatami to “set up a team made up of representatives of the Interior Ministry, the Guardian Council, and representatives of the candidates to recount the votes in these two provinces and use computer-assisted methods to discover fake votes”.

“If my information and sources prove to be wrong, I will bravely apologise to the people and officials”, he wrote. “If I prove to be right, I will claim nothing. I will not even ask for a public report, because the venerable President-elect will soon be confirmed as President and will form his cabinet to serve the people”.

“My main objective is to clarify the issue and set an example for future elections that lie in front of us”, Karroubi said.

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