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Iran Supreme Leader Orders Election Fraud Investigation

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After a weekend of protests and clashes over the alleged fraud perpetrated by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s party in Iran, the real powers in Iran are stepping in:

State television quoted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei directing a high-level clerical panel, the Guardian Council, to look into charges by pro-reform candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who has said he is the rightful winner of Friday’s presidential election.

The decision comes after Mousavi wrote a letter appealing to the Guardian Council and met Sunday with Khamenei, who holds almost limitless power over Iranian affairs. Such an election probe by the 12-member council is uncharted territory and it not immediately clear how it would proceed or how long it would take.

What we don’t know is whether this investigation is just for show or whether Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is actually concerned about the underhanded tactics apparently used to rig the election. After all, Iran’s theocratic leaders don’t exactly have a history of defending democracy. This move could very well be nothing more than an attempt to silent the ongoing protests.

We’ll see. Wish I could be more optimistic.