In the wake of a finding by the Council of Guardians that there were widespread voting irregularities in last week’s presidential election, some observers are now expecting a quick call from Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for a new round of polling. They feel that Khamenei, who had very publicly (and very personally) assured the Iranian people that the vote was indeed free and fair, will be looking for a way to save face and salvage what remains of his tattered credibility — along with that of the entire regime.
The Council has been careful to leave a plausible “out” for the Supreme Ruler, stating that over-voting in some districts is a “normal phenomenon”. This will afford Ayatollah Khamenei the opportunity to make his own ruling on the matter — but, in all likelihood, not before a semblance of order is restored.
All eyes (and suspicions) will then turn to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who will, no doubt, try to deflect all responsibility for the debacle by shifting the blame for ballot-stuffing onto “agents of the arrogant foreign powers” and, of course, the “Israeli Mossad”.
One back-channel rumour suggests that arrest warrants may already have been issued for several individuals — including one or more of Ahmadinejad’s advisors. There has been no independent confirmation of this rumour, but many are hoping that it’s true.
Wishful thinking? We’ll have to wait and see.
Related: New York Times coverage