OSC: Larijani admits Majority Has Doubts on Election Results, Urges Respect for them

The USG Open Source Center puts into English the gist of an interview in the official Iranian press with Speaker of the Parliament Ali Larijani in which he admits that a majority of Iranians doubts the officially announced election results, and says that their views should be respected. However, he does not himself bring the results into question and suggests that rural and small town voters voted differently than urban ones. Since the latter assume everyone thinks like them, hence the urban disbelief. But since he has identified the doubters as the majority, wouldn’t the majority be doubting precisely because they voted for Mousavi and can’t believe he lost to Ahmadinejad in a landslide?

FYI — Iranian Speaker Larijani Criticizes Guardian Council for Taking Sides
Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network 2
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Document Type: OSC Summary

Tehran Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network 2 Television in Persian at 1815 GMT on 20 June broadcast a live interview with Iranian Majles Speaker Ali Larijani.

Larijani said the fact that more than 85 percent of Iranians had participated in the election was “unprecedented”. He said the election’s aftermath should not provide a pretext for foreign leaders to interfere in Iran’s domestic affairs. He added that the performance of the government over the past four years, as well as the televised debates, paved the way for a high turnout. Larijani said the debates led to some controversies as well.

Larijani tried to explain why more votes were cast for Mahmud Ahmadinezhad. He said that in the past, the “wave of election” usually started in the major cities and spread to smaller cities and villages. “If you have a look at 2nd Khordad (23 May 1997, when Mohammad Khatami won the election), you will see that there was a balance between big and small cities and villages. However, it was not the case in the latest election; various factors were involved in this election. It was a new phenomenon. It had its own consequences. Maybe those people who lived in a city, and most of them shared the same idea (about a candidate), started to assume that all people across the country held the same idea, and it became a criteria for their judgement.”

Cont’d (click below or on “comments”)

He said the officials and the television stations should respect the majority of people who complained about the results. However, he differentiated between the protesters and “rioters”. Larijani said: “The demands and expectations of the masses, who have their own idea and perhaps the political parties and politicians have played a role in shaping their ideas, should be respected. We in the Majles are serious about pursuing their demands legally.”

He referred to the Guardian Council stance on the presidential election and said: “As you know, some disputes were about the stance taken by some of the members of the Guardian Council on the election. Some of politicians and candidates have expressed the same thing. I think that it was better for them (the Guardian Council) not to take sides (in favor of Ahmadinezhad). The status of the Guardian Council, who plays the role of arbitrator, should not be a center of such a dispute. This issue can be used as experience for the next elections.” On the other hand, the Majles Speaker tried to defend the members of Guardian Council by describing them as “faithful and pious”. Ali Larijani said that those groups who have attacked students’ dormitory in Tehran should be “seriously dealt with”. He called for the establishment of security in the society and urged the police and Basiji forces to do it “logically” and “carefully”.

“Our system, which is based on people’s vote, freedom, and independence, is never for despotism,” he added. Larijani said: “Everyone believes in people’s right to hold gatherings. If some groups want to hold gatherings they can ask for permission. Our legal bodies should permit them. Maybe they are not allowed to hold gatherings in streets which disrupt people’s business, but they can hold gatherings somewhere else in order to express their ideas. You (referring to the network’s staff), on television, can play a key role in this regard.”

He advised the state politicians not to express anything which may agitate people. Larijani called for the establishment of tranquillity in the society. The Majles speaker referred to some claims of “vote-rigging” and advised all groups to pursue their complaints through legal means. He expressed hope that the Guardian Council will be able to resolve the issue. The Majles Speaker urged the Guardian Council to “transparently” announce the results of its findings to the people. Larijani said that all Iranian officials are members of a same family and they should not be divided over the recent election.

Larijani referred to the latest remarks of the foreign leaders and media on the election. He said: “I think that (Iranian) radio and television should be very transparent and should not be biased. They should broadcast different views so that people do not feel that they need other (foreign) media. It will be a very good strategy.”

He added: “Some Western politicians, particularly the Americans and the British, have rudely spoken in this regard. They expressed their whole-hearted support for human rights in Iran and expressed their worries for the Iranians. I would like to tell this point to Mr Obama, the French president, German chancellor, British prime minister, that you are too dishonored to speak about Iran’s domestic affairs. The people of Iran are very well familiar with your records.” He talked about the measures taken by the US and European officials in the past against Iran. Larijani added: “Britain is too dishonored. In many regional and domestic conflicts in Iran, we have seen the footsteps of Britain. Our people believe that there is a British hand behind every evil move.” He once again stressed that the Iranian officials are members of the same family. Larijani said that Obama’s rhetoric of change could not alter anything.

The Majles Speaker then talked about Iran’s status in the world and described it an “honor and dignity” for the country.

He referred to the recent statement by the US Congress on the election events and said: “It was a disgraceful move. They have hastily ratified a bill. So what is the value of such thing? You have spoken in defense of freedom in Iran. If there were not any freedom in Iran, we would not have such disputes now. Americans have a black record in our country. You have backed the Shah’s regime, who had detained all fighters. Your action is fruitless; it only has made our people more vigilant.” Larijani said: “The Iranian nation have witnessed that in the current context a number of groups are sitting outside like wolves. Our society is so united and religious ideas have joined the hearts so closely together that the foreigners cannot penetrate into that. They are only making our people angrier. Velvet revolution cannot happen in our society. It happens in societies which do not have a long history of civilization.”

On the future cooperation of the Majles with the government, Larijani said that the lawmakers would have a good relationship with the government based on “fraternity and justice”. The Majles Speaker said that the government should implement the Outlook Plan and the ratifications of the Expediency Council. He said that the country should stop relying on oil revenue in the future. At the end of the interview, he said that the current situation in the country could be considered as an opportunity to correct past mistakes. He urged all officials in the country to be vigilant and follow the guidelines of the supreme leader.

The interview ended at 1917 GMT.

(Description of Source: Tehran Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network 2 in Persian — state-run television)
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