Wikileaks Iran Special: The Initial US Reaction to the 2009 Election


At noon on the day after the June 2009 Presidential election, the US Consulate in Dubai — the major „watching post“ for events in Iran — offered a snap assessment of events.

What is initially striking is the Consulate’s firm declaration of belief (based on which sources? hard information or just chatter from Iranians with US officials?) that the result had been manipulated for a first-round victory for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Beyond this, there is uncertainty. The Consulate expects „some public rejection“ of the result, but it is caught between anticipation of repression (a correct assessment), coverage by foreign journalists (a misguided assessment, at least as those journalists where shut down by Iran after 15 June), and the possible reaction of an „intensely alienated and angry“ public.

Two days later, the Consulate would be surprised by the scale of the demonstrations in Tehran. And so the next stage would begin: the „wait-and-see“ attitude would now have to find „an appropriate public
position“ as „many opposition supporters will likely look to the US — particularly after the Cairo speech [of President Obama on 4 June] — for inspiration“.

Nowhere does the Consulate seem to recognise the pitfalls in that statement. The Government could turn US „inspiration“ into warnings to the Iranian public of Washington-backed „regime change“. And „opposition supporters“ were not necessarily looking to the US to define the nature of their challenge.

THE ORIGINAL CABLE

O 131229Z JUN 09 ZDK
FM RPO DUBAI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0432
INFO RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI IMMEDIATE 0355
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
RUEIDN/DNI WASHINGTON DC
RUMICEA/USCENTCOM INTEL CEN MACDILL AFB FL
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL IMMEDIATE 0035
RUEHDIR/RPO DUBAI 0433

S E C R E T RPO DUBAI 000247

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 6/13/2034
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PROP PINS IR
SUBJECT: IRAN’S REFORMISTS BRAND ALLEGED ELECTION FRAUD AS TREASON,
VOW TO FIGHT ON

REF: WOI 06/11/2009

CLASSIFIED BY: Ramin Asgard, Director, Iran Regional Presence
Office – Dubai, DOS.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

¶1. (S/NF) In reftel, we suggested the two most likely outcomes
for the Iranian election were a Moussavi win in the first round,
or a massively fraudulent Ahmadinejad win in the first round.
(Winning in the first round requites winning more than 50
percent of the nationwide vote.) It appears both took place.
Moussavi in a press conference on 06/13 claimed Interior
Ministry told him and his campaign Friday night that he had won.
It then appears that massive political intervention led to a
huge (60 percent plus) AN landslide being announced on state TV
early on Saturday.

¶2. (S/NF) Based upon statements by Moussavi and Karroubi,
comments from sources inside Iran, and press reports, we can
expect some form of public rejection by their campaigns and
their supporters of the reelection of President Ahmadinejad.
Former IRGC Commander Mohsen Rezai has not yet spoken on the
results. In his statements Moussavi called the result „treason“
and vowed to fight. Karroubi issued a statement at 1500 Tehran
time on 06/13 calling the process unconstitutional and stating
that he would not remain quiet as he did in 2005.

¶3. (S/NF) Official results of AN’s victory with 63 percent of
the vote were announced at 1630 Tehran time Saturday. Even
before the results were public, large protests have reportedly
broken out in Tehran as of 1530. We anticipate these will
continue, possibly leading to skirmishes between Moussavi
supporters and AN forces this evening. Reports indicate a heavy
security presence in the Tehran streets, so the situation could
escalate quickly.

¶4. (S/NF) Comment: We surmise that the Supreme Leader’s control
over the security services and national media will act to
inhibit the flow of reliable information coming out of Iran in
the coming days. As reported earlier, however, over 200 foreign
media were in Iran to cover the election, so they may serve as
an eyewitness to developments. The outcome of this contested
election could be as limited as a large segment of the
population feeling intensely alienated and angry. This is
nothing new for the IRIG, and their monopoly of force and some
well-timed repression can likely quell most dissent – although
it would be particularly bad PR to do this while so many foreign
media are present.

¶5. (S/NF) Comment, Cont’d.: It is possible, however, that given
the number of senior political figures this campaign and this
election result have profoundly angered, and the scope of
popular resentment over the results; a large-scale political
crisis could develop. Our position should remain wait-and-see
for the time being, particularly as several key figures have yet
to speak publicly on events. That said, if the opposition does
start to organize on a large scale, or if clashes turn violent,
we will need to quickly determine an appropriate public
position. Many opposition supporters will likely look to the US
– particularly after the Cairo speech – for inspiration.

Quelle

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