Iranian election contested

Today the NYTimes reports that Mehdi Karroubi, moderate cleric and former speaker of Parliament is claiming that Saturday's Iranian election was rigged by the hardliners of the Guardian Council. In a bold upset, the conservative mayor of Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, would face former president--and newly minted moderate--Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in a run off election on Friday.

Karroubi's third place finish makes him ineligible for the run off, and his complaints could first be taken as just sour grapes, except for the fact that they are seconded by Dr. Mostafa Moin, the fifth place finisher who is also a moderate. In a published satements, he warns:

"This is a warning for democracy. We must be aware that such efforts will
eventually lead to militarizing the regime, and political and social supression.
This is a threat for civil society and is blocking reform."
WaPo does offer a fair explanation of the Ahmadinejad surge: The hardliners rallies their forces and didn't split their vote. In truth, it is a weak explanation at best. The moderates call for an independent investigation is a fair one, and the Ayatollah should respond.

Finally, whatever the outcome, this is the last gasp for the hardliners. One of two things will happen in this next term. Either the moderates will make significant gains--de facto if not de jure--or the hardliners will crackdown causing large scale mass demonstrations the likes of which have not been seen since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Either way, Iran will be a more liberal state, but will it be a safer one?