Opposing a Recount
The last real hope for definitive evidence proving that Ahmadinejad's victory was fraudulent may have passed when Mousavi rejected the possibility of a recount. Instead Mousavi insisted on an entirely new election.
Mousavi's objection to a recount drew support from the New York Times' top brass. "Even a full recount would be suspect," the Times wrote in an editorial. "How could anyone be sure that the ballots were valid?"
But one reason for a recount is that examining ballots can unearth evidence of fraud, especially if ballot-box stuffing was done chaotically or if the tallies were simply fabricated without ballots to support them, as some Western observers have speculated regarding Iran.
This perception gap between the West and Iran over the legitimacy of the election now has become a powerful point of dispute between the two sides.
A poll by WorldPublicOpinion.org questioned 1,003 Iranians across the country between Aug. 27 and Sept. 10, 2009, discovering that 81 percent said they considered Ahmadinejad to be the legitimate president of Iran. Only 10 percent called him illegitimate, with eight percent offering no opinion.
Sixty-two percent said they had strong confidence in the election results and another 21 percent said they had some confidence in the official vote count, for a total of 83 percent expressing favorable views on the election. By comparison, only 13 percent said they had little or no confidence in the results.
Those poll results were either ignored by the U.S. news media or discounted as the result of fearful Iranians simply saying what their government wanted to hear. However, similar polls have been conducted in countries around the world, including during the U.S. military occupation of Iraq, and have been regarded as useful measures of public opinion.
In the six months following that poll, the Post, the Times and other Western news outlets have continued to insist that the Iranian election was "fraudulent," thus giving moral backing to street protests seeking to overthrow Ahmadinejad.
However, if the election indeed was legitimate, then the American news media is helping to create political support for the removal of a democratically elected government.
Bush and Regime Change
A similar situation occurred in Iran in 1953 when the United States and Great Britain opposed Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, who was seeking to nationalize Iran's oil resources. The CIA undertook a propaganda campaign to depict Mossadegh as unstable while also passing out millions of dollars to rally big crowd demanding his ouster.
Given that history and Iran's inclusion on President George W. Bush's "axis of evil" list it would not be unreasonable for the Iranian government to suspect that the United States, possibly with its UK junior partner, is conducting a new covert operation today.
Prior to the June 12 election in Iran, it was well known and widely reported that Bush had signed a covert action finding targeting Iran's Islamic government with a major program of propaganda and political destabilization.
In the July 7, 2008, New Yorker magazine, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh wrote that late the previous year, Congress had agreed to Bush's request for a major escalation in covert operations against Iran to the tune of up to $400 million.
"The Finding was focused on undermining Iran's nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change," one person familiar with its contents told Hersh. The operation involved "working with opposition groups and passing money," the person said.