A Friend’s Note: Mesbah Yazdi’s Decree to Rig Votes

Following the discovery of a “Fatwa” (”religious decree”) issued by ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi which sanctions cheating in Friday’s presidential election and was published in an open letter written by a group of Ministry of Interior employees, the heads of the Election Supervision Committees established by reformist candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi sent a letter to the head of the Guardian Council, Ayatollah Jannati, warning about the possibility of manipulating election results.

The letter states that a total number of 59 million and 600 thousand ballots have been printed, despite the Ministry of Interior’s claim of having printed only 57 million ballots, and warns about the implications of the Ministry of Interior’s failure to disclose the fate of the 2,600,000 extra ballots.

Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour and Morteza Elviri, who head the Election Supervision Committees of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi, respectively, also comment in their letter about the number of election seals sent to the provinces. Addressing the Guardian Council’s head, they write, “The number of seals that will be used to stamp final tally reports is twice as high as the number of voting centers, without any plausible explanations. This is extremely dangerous and worrisome.”

They also warned about organized vote rigging, writing, “It is heard that the identification cards of soldiers at military stations have been collected.”

The letter also criticized the holding of a secret meeting at the Ministry of Interior, which was attended by provincial governors from across the country. The purpose of that meeting and the content of discussions held remain unknown. Noting that such special meetings are hold only during wartime or under extremely urgent circumstances, Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour and Morteza Elviri write to Ayatollah Jannati, “What secretive and confidential issue was being discussed that only governors and the minister can know about, to the exclusion of all of the ministry’s other officials and staff?”

Another part of the letter states, “Supervision over one-third of the ballot boxes has been taken away from the police and given to the Passdaran Revolutionary Guards, which is against the law and prior norms.”

In a related reaction, a number of officials at the Ministry of Interior published an open letter warning about the possibility of changing the election’s results by the Ministry of Interior.

The letter, which has been signed by a number of Ministry of Interior employees, reveals the existence of a “religious decree to manipulate the results” of the election. Revealing the behind-the-scenes efforts of certain government officials to manipulate the results, the letter reveals, “After the rapid decrease in the number of votes of one of the candidate (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) in late April, one of the Qom Seminary School professors, who also heads a research institute there and previously spoke at the Tehran Friday prayers, called for ‘changing the votes’ in a secret meeting, quoting a line from the Qoran, and adding, ‘If someone is elected president whereby Islamic principles that are currently on the rise in Lebanon, Palestine, Venezuela and other parts of the world, start diminishing, it is Haraam [forbidden by Islam] to vote for that person. We shouldn’t vote for that person and we should inform the people not to vote for him either, or else. For you, as administrators of the election, everything is permitted to this end.”

The letter does not reveal the identity of the seminary school professor, but describes the qualities of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s spiritual guide, Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi. The letter states, “In effect, the religious decree to manipulate the election results was issued following this meeting.” Thereafter, the head of the country’s election bureau announced the “number of eligible voters at 46 million and 200 thousand, whereas the state statistical organization had previously announced that about 51 million and 300 thousand people are eligible to vote.”

Two weeks ago, a number of the Ministry of Interior’s officials sent a letter to the president blasting the recent personnel changes in the ministry ahead of the elections. That letter stated that on the eve of the presidential election “more than 70 percent of the ministry’s election experts from the support, supervisory and public relations offices have been removed within the past three or four months.”