Valgfusket i Iran var uten forsøk på å late som om alt gikk riktig for seg. Det var åpenlyst og grovt.

One version (from somebody’s brother who supposedly knew someone inside) had it that vote counters simply were ordered to doctor the numbers: «Make that 1,000 for Ahmadinejad a 3,000.»

Others pointed out that the ballots seemed designed to lead opposition voters astray. Voters were obliged to choose a candidate and fill in a code. Though Mr. Moussavi was Candidate No. 4, the code No. 44 signified Mr. Ahmadinejad.

One man who worked in the Ministry of Interior, which carried out the vote count, said the government had been preparing its fraud for weeks, purging anyone of doubtful loyalty and importing pliable staff members from around the country.

«They didn’t rig the vote,» claimed this man, who showed his ministry identification card but pleaded not to be named. «They didn’t even look at the vote. They just wrote the name and put the number in front of it.»

The government on Saturday insisted that the election was aboveboard and made it ominously clear that it would have little patience with anyone who questioned the purity of Iranian democracy.

Wide Reverberations as Door Slams on Hope of Change