Working from the province by province breakdowns of the 2009 and 2005 results, released by the Iranian Ministry of Interior, 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.
· At a provincial level, there is no correlation between the increased turnout and the swing to Ahmadinejad. This challenges the notion that Ahmadinejad’s victory was due to the massive participation of a previously silent conservative majority.
· 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 groups.
· 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.
Here’s a link to a CNN story that discusses this study, “Survey raises questions about Iran vote results.”
And there is a new story on CNN that states that a report was run on Iran’s state-run television station, “acknowledging that the number of ballots cast in dozens of cities exceeded the number of eligible voters there .. that excessive ballots were found in 50 cities.”