Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ordered a probe of Friday’s presidential election results, and many U.S. analysts are assuming that there was widespread fraud. But pollsters Ken Ballen and Patrick Doherty caution that the results “may reflect the will of the Iranian people.” Nationwide polling they did three weeks before the vote showed incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad leading with a more than 2-1 majority.
Even if Ahmadinejad really did win, Iran shouldn’t be surprised by the skepticism. As a Washington Post editorial noted: “When a regime peremptorily chooses which candidates can run; shutters newspapers, Web sites and television bureaus; silences text messaging; and throws critics into prison — such a regime should not expect its pronouncements on election results to garner any respect.”
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