Vice President Joe Biden gave a wide ranging interview to Meet the Press today, where he expressed doubt about the legitimacy of the recent Iranian presidential election. Biden said, It sure looks like the way they’re suppressing speech, the way they’re suppressing crowds, the way in which people are being treated that there’s some real doubt about that.”
Here is the video:
Biden said, “Well, you know, we don’t have all the details. It sure looks like the way they’re suppressing speech, the way they’re suppressing crowds, the way in which people are being treated that there’s some real doubt about that. I don’t think we’re in a position to say. It was surprising that the assertion was he won by what, 60-some percent of the vote? And so I think we have to wait and see. But it, it, it didn’t seem on its face to be as clear cut as so many…”
The vice president expressed doubts about the legitimacy of the election, “Actually going back and taking a look–for example, 70 percent of the vote comes out of the city. That’s not Ahmadinejad’s strong place. The idea he could get, you know, 68 or whatever percent of the vote and, and in a circumstance like that seems unlikely.”
Host David Gregory said it looked like Biden had doubts. Biden replied, “Well, you know, I, I have doubts, but I–we’re going to withhold comment until we have a, you know, a thorough review of the whole process and how they react in the aftermath.”
The result of this Iranian election defies the logic of electoral politics. In Iran there was an incumbent president of a nation whose economy has gotten worse being challenged by a moderate reformer, who seemed to have momentum and popular support, and on Election Day there was a massive turnout that should have favored the challenger, but the official results show a landslide incumbent victory.
Biden is correct. It doesn’t add up. However, it is wise for the administration to withhold any definitive comment until more is known. If the Obama administration issues too strong of a public statement condemning the election too soon, they could appear to be meddling in Iranian domestic politics, which would help the anti-American President Ahmadinejad. Even though the vice president won’t officially state it, it looks like something highly irregular occurred in this election.