Joe Klein, Time magazine columnist on his 10-day trip to Iran to cover presidential election has relatively fair view about election fixation and aftermath crisis.
In the article Joe wrote:
It has to be assumed that the Iranian presidential election was rigged, but it is impossible to know how heavily the government's thumb rested on the scales. It is entirely possible that Ahmadinejad would have won anyway, but narrowly, perhaps with less than 50% of the vote, setting up a runoff election he might have lost as the other candidates united against him. It is possible that his government, perhaps acting in concert with Supreme Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei, decided to take no chances.
But I do disagree with him on:
The President was, without question, the best politician in the race. His debates against the two reformers, Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, were routs.
To be fair Mohsen Rezaee was the winner in presidential debate, who really can disagree with that? But Rezaee a conservative with extensive background in Revolutionary Guards couldn’t get Iranians who urging for reforms in society and economy.
There is no doubt that Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi belong to older generations of Islamic revolution and they definitely appeared poor in debates, specially Karroubi. Mousavi picked up some hints in the middle and changed his style a bit but at the end, all of their shortcomings wouldn’t matter much for people who were fed up with Ahmadinejad lies.
On the other side, Ahmadinejad made deadly mistakes and lied during debates which raged people. He lied about inflation and his aggressive personal attacks during debates ignited people, even apathetic ones to get to vote against him. He was already president of failed promises. Back then on June 20, 2003 presidential election, Ahmadinejad promised people to stop crackdown on dress-code and bring oil wealth on Iranian tables. He clearly went against his promises; some would call him president of failed promises.
People could deal a bit with skyrocketing inflation and failing economy but they couldn’t take notorious crackdown on dress code which mostly targeted women as the repressive regime would thought they would. It was the unforgiving mistake on his failed promise. So people who chose to go against Ahamdinejad they were made up their minds long time before presidential debates on June 03, 2009. I would say the most offenders were women (in some cases men) and any presidential candidate in Iran who ignores to take into account women is a looser.
Women are half of Iranian population.
Also I recommend "Not the Change They Expected" from Robert Dreyfuss on The Nation.
* Above video is recorded sometime before June 18, 2009 that also you can watch on Time website.