tv [untitled] CSPAN June 15, 2009 1:00am-1:30am EDT
comments by saying i used to be with the international crisis group, but now i'm in washington. ahmadinejad gave a victory speech yesterday. today, i've not seen the press conference, but apparently along the same lines he thanked the people of iran for voting for him. he didn't give the impression that this was a contested election. he gave the impression that the numbers were this was an overwhelming victory for him. certainly, the opposition hasn't let the matter rest yet. alleging major fraud. i think the right to allege major fraud. i think the opposition still hasn't figured out what the strategy will be. host: that leads into my second question. it has been about 24 hours since the results have come out. what is the opposition's next move? guest: they would like to meet
with the supreme leader. power in iran is interesting. the presidential elections are not for the most powerful post. the most powerful post is held by the leader. he will be the major arbitral in this situation. it is correctly believed that ahamani essentially selected mahmoud ahmadinejad as president. he's not exactly an objective arbitrator in this situation. the opposition is trying to appeal to him first. saying this is a fraud. people will rise up. we need a recount or cancel the elections and start a new. he has rejected, renewed to meet with -- refused to meet with them. i think if he continues to refuse to meet, it will be an impasse.
they may implore people to go to the streets and strike. the reform ants have been reluctant to do that. they put the security of the islamic regime above all else. we have reached an issue that is with the leads so divided. host: if he comes out and said it is over with ahmadinejad is the winner, how much more resistance can the reformists put up and how much more will ahanini put up with? guest: he did come out and say that ahmadinejad won. the security forces are out in fullesque upon you can -- full effect. you can see some of the videos on youtube where students were beat up, students who voted on the reformist who believe this was a stolen election. historically, this regime has
repression down to the science. they know when to ease up. before the elections they ease up political and social restrictions to project a democratic face to the world. you saw much of the world's media covered these as much of a democratic election. afterward when it is a sham and incenses and they react. they put tens of thousands of people in the streets to prevent people from rising up. still there is tensions. the reformists may calculate if this was a fraud. we want an overwhelming victory. they believe they had 65% of the vote. they believe the population is on their side and they have a right to strike and to tell people to resist this result. and if i were in their situation i would do the same. i hope they do, do that. host: talking about the future of western relations with iran
with our guest who is with the international iranian peace. host: call us ... host: philadelphia is the first call on the line for democrats. go ahead, please. turn your television or radio down, ok? go ahead. caller: the name is hasem. host: go ahead. caller: the claims that the elections were stolen that he made on cnn this morning? guest: let me give you several examples. we can go into more details. first it was announced that official state media that
mahmoud ahmadinejad had won. he had won an overwhelming majority when less than 20% of the votes were cast. that is one example. another example, the reformist opposition candidate is an ethnic from bajan. he campaigneded and overwhelmingly received. huge crowd. historically elections, iranians do well because of the locals. in this election musabi was trumped by mahmoud ahmadinejad, which makes sense. now it is the equivalent of barack obama losing to mccain in 2008. it doesn't add up. many examples of this. quite frankly, after the elections have been held, the fact that all of the reformist candidates and opposition
candidates, many of them, the activists have been imprisoned, beaten in the streets, this leads me to believe that this action was not real. host: next up, howard from ham den, connecticut on the line. caller: i don't see all this propaganda. i know those in the united states are inciting this whole thing. i ask you what is the difference? every time there is an election. doesn't matter -- it is hamas, or ahmadinejad. look at south america. they don't like anybody being elected because people want to do their own thing. we keep interfering. who interferes with our elections when they're being rigged up like 2004. we can't police the whole world. why don't you guys talk about the problems in peru that we are
behind that, too. host: are you still with me? caller: yes. host: what would be the budget of having mahmoud ahmadinejad in office rather than having another elected in by the people? what would be the advantage of having ahmadinejad with a second term? caller: i can see that this is important as far as we have relations with every other country. i can not that. this keep guessing on. we keep interfering with these people's politics for god knows how long. i'm young, but i know about the 1950's, the shah. i mean, this keeps going on. host: you're saying it would be better for united states relations that we are -- that we are somehow involved because we feel it would be better to have ahmadinejad in as the president rather than musabi? caller: it is the other way around.
they want the other guy. they keep stirring this up. there are people out there being paid to stir this up. guest: i would disagree with that, caller. i would disagree with the fact the united states has any role in this election. the united states had's a preference in the elections. we don't want ahmadinejad reelected. we have a right to have that. the obama administration has been careful not to express any preference for any candidate. they said we're observing these elections with interest. i'm not calling for any u.s. role in the elections. i want to see a free and fair result. there were a free and fair result and the reformist candidates conceded and said we lost fairly and squarely. i don't like the results, the u.s. doesn't like the results, that is democracy. this was an absolute fraud, not a democracy. host: abraham in detroit, hello.
go ahead, shirr. caller: it doesn't matter who wins, the main leader is the one that controls the relation, what iran does, the government and everything else. in the history of iran, the incumbent has never lost against the person he's running against. thank you. guest: that is true. the incumbent has not lost an election since 1979. this was a particularly special election. let me tell you why. in 2005, i covered it closely. i was based tehran. i can tell you, every person that i spoke to that voted for ahmadinejad. they didn't say they wanted him because he denied the holocaust or belligerent to the economy.
no, he said he would put dinner on the tables. the economy has one of the highest inflation rates in the world. high unemployment, high underemployment with young college graduates driving taxis and selling pizas. so this was a country that it is one of the few -- i argue probably the only major oil producer in the world whose population claims their economic circumstances got worse, even when oil was $150 a barrel. that is an achievement. oil prices quadruple and people say they're worse off than they were. given the fact he was elected to improve the state of the economy and profoundly mismanaged it. with regards to the most powerful idea in iran. i would argue he's more powerful than he's ever been in the 20-year tenure.
if you look at all important and military institutions within iran, the office of the president, the parliament, revolutionary guards, all of the different biz an teen bodies -- byzantine bodies, they're elected by him or loyal to him. that being said, the office of the president is not a negligible office. the president is the most high-profile iranian official within iran and internationally. do a google search for him and do a google search for ahmadinejad. compare the results. ahmadinejad will get 10 times more hits. his profile is higher. i can tell you if you look at iran's previous president hoopy was remembered for calling a dialogue of civilizations. at home, he was calling for greater political and social
freedoms. what is ahmadinejad known for? denying holocaust and belligerent toward i think that you are right, the most powerful individual will remain -- the presidents in iran is not irrelevant of this. host: much influence does he have in putting it on the ballot? guest: he has a lot of influence. he can control who was allowed to run for president in iran. there is a guardian council. it has superdelegates were 12 individuals who were directly appointed by him or indirectly appointed by him. this guardian council is tasked with children candidates.
all candidates -- is tasked with filtering candidates. all candidates have to go through this. would be like an american election where -- between david duke who would be the furthest right candidate and the furthest left would be bob dole. host: given this relationship, one person writes how much of an actual reformer is this person? guest: that is a good question. he is a great of reforming reas. context look at the election. i don't think he was anyone's ideal candidate. he's 67 years old. not necessarily charismatic or well spoken. in terms of social views,
traditional. political views described as caution. i remember when i was based tehran years ago when we had another president, he was considered a conservative. the political spectrum has shifted so far right with ahmadinejad that the other appears as a voice of reform and reason. is all relative, i suppose. host: our next call comes from tom in manhattan with the democrats. caller: thank you for letting me have this question. there is so much concern for fraud in the election and probably true. the question circumstances what are the mechanics of counting the votes in iran? what constitutional laws or rules apply and are there observers from all sides? what is the nature of the appeal? what good might it do?
thank you very much. guest: thank you for asking the question, tom. there is a point that is important to make. that is that government organization, which is tasked with overseeing the elections in the interior ministry. the head of the interior ministry was pointed by mahmoud ahmadinejad. not an objective observer. the work of overseeing the interior ministry to make sure they conducted things freely and fairly is the guardian council. the head of the guardian council, jenosee. publicly endorsed ahmadinejad. not objective observer. an earlier caller asked what are the evidence of fraud. that is the major sign of impropriety when you have people that are publicly endorse ahmadinejad being the ash
arbitrators of this election. i think several hours after the polls closed states had announced that ahmadinejad had won. people ask how do you count 30 million votes in a span of a couple of hours. they're hand-counted. didn't make much sense. host: tom on our line for independents. welcome. caller: thank you for taking my call. if he feels there was fraud, why the election was so lopsided. i mean, it was totally lopsided. like he said himself, the other guy was older -- hello, sir. i thought i was off, looking at the tv. he said the other guy was old and everything. i think the iranians are probably moving toward -- like the united states is doing. we get these older guys out of
office and getting somebody in there that is more younger. and more charismatic. we need to stop meddling in people's business. i think iran -- we run around and tell people that oh, we want you to have a democracy, we want you to vote and all this. when they vote somebody in that we don't like, it is back to square 1. saying we want to put people in government in that part of the world and create states. we may want -- let me finish, please, sir. we made one of the biggest mistakes when we did that in iraq. iraq is like israel. a state we went over there and created. and a state that is going to always be a pain. host: we will leave it there. guest: let me reiterate that i'm not calling for any u.s. intervention in this situation. i would reiterate that the obama administration has been careful to not say anything to interfere
with the elections. they simply said we are observing these elections from afar. really the u.s. has little access or leverage in iran. that i have not had an embassy in tehran for 30 years now. you asked why were the results so lopsided? the reason why, a candidate has to get a majority of the votes, over 50% for him to be the outright victor. if he doesn't, the two candidates go to a second-round runoff. i think what the calculated -- what they calculated was that if this went to a second round between ahmadinejad and mus want avi he would be beat handedly. i think those were the calculations very much. one other point, in 2005, when ahmadinejad was elected, i think there were major allegations of
impropriety. but essentially, the opposition conceded the fete. people were disappointed. the u.s. was disappointed. we moved on. ahmadinejad visited the united states four times and the u.n. general assembly. but i will tell you as someone who also holds an iranian passport, for me, this is irrelevant, the history here with the united states. i agree that u.s. intervention in the united states around the world is never well received. but this was not about the united states. this was about iran and how would you as an american would feel if canada or mexico came and rigged yours? host: you wrote foreign policy in june with the title why iran 2009 can be like florida 2000. there is a long recount to the
ballots. it sounds to me like hanini will come out, say this is the decision, let's move on. guest: i think that is the fear. hamini. he is the equivalent of the supreme court justice, he has a dog in the fight. that dog is ahmadinejad. if we indeed have the overwhelming majority of the popular vote and people feel incensed, that they were robbed, cheated, that this was a stolen election. some political capital will have to be used. i have to point out, the supreme leader's adversary, the political rival over the past two or three decades, who not long ago was must considered more powerful than himself. he's in the opposition as well. this is a unique situation that we haven't seen in iran in the past few decades of the
revolutionaries being divided among themselves. host: about five more minutes with our guest. miami, john on the line with the republicans. caller: thanks for taking my call. i wanted to make a quick observation. it is ironic, about 30 years ago, the current iranian country, the government came into power on the backs of student uprising and on the backs of the reformists. the same uprisers and reformists are attacking current uprisers and reformists. guest: interesting point. i think many people whom i have spoken to and e-mails from, said it is reminiscent of 1979. the people that rose up against the shah in 1979 and some of the main figures of the revolution see themselves in the opposition
camp. this is the point i was making earlier. never have we seen the revolutionaries so divided. host: a lot of young people in the streets expressing their dissatisfaction with the results. is this a generational split in or are the older people who are also upset too old to go throw their stone? guest: about 2/3 of the country is under 32. they were born after the revolution or unknowing children at the time of the revolution. they have no loyalty toward the republic or discontent with the regime. this is a different time in the age of internet and satellite television to see what is happening elsewhere in the world. they say we want the same thing. why is iran still in the dark
ages while the rest of the world is moving forward? host: how does ahmadinejad relate to other leaders in the region and also in the western world while the election is still sort of up in the air? guest: i think he's trying to appeal to the friends in the international community. i was told me made a statement this morning saying if the united states recognizes the results of the elections, he will meet with president obama. he is trying to get recognition from the outside world to make this a done deal. i would advise the outside world refrab from making decisions -- refrain from making decisions until the dust settles. we shouldn't be influencing the results. it should be an internal iranian matter the iranians resolve for themselves. host: go ahead. caller: thanks for taking my question. i was disappointed in what
happened in iran over the past couple of days. i think mainly because in 2000 with the election, i sort of felt the same way. i was wondering, even though it is not our affair living outside of iran. is there anything we can do. people dieing in iraq for democracy. is there a peaceful means people can take in this country to show support for the reformist party in iran? guest: that is a good question. you probably heard many of the previous callers say very definely that the u.s. shouldn't play any role in this. i think one of the ways we can help is sit on the sidelines at the moment. not endorse the results of the elections but not necessarily contest them, either. and i think that we live in such a globalized world with twitter and facebook and all of these sites and participating on some of the debates and discussions
and letting the iranians know we respect their position and support their quest for depocacy and more -- democracy and more opens is -- open system. we should possibly not declare a preference for either candidate. host: we have this french foreign minister bernard kuschner we're told he's concerned about the post election violence that happened after the release of the results on saturday. guest: that is right. european governments in tehran with embassies who are expressing concern. there is deep concern that ahmadinejad serves another four year, he could be an
insurmountable obstacle between the confidence building between u.s. and europe. host: our last caller. caller: can you hear caller: we ought to look at this entire situation in the middle east his starkly -- historically. we've had nothing but violence in these parts of the world. to think we can change anything as laughable. we should go back to the history books. when need to take a look at a philosophy.