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Transcript of Interview With Ahmadinejad Aide Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi

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Thursday, June 18, 2009; 8:29 PM

Transcript of an interview with Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi, trusted aide to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, June 18, 2009, in his office in Tehran. The interview was translated by The Washington Post.

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Q: Why has there been fraud reported?

A: In the name of God. I think there are a few reasons for these allegations.

Mr. Ahmadinejad's government was more productive than other governments that preceded him. Almost all of the people of the nation in cities and villages benefited from his government's actions. Anyone you ask can list a number of things that benefited them from Mr. Ahmadinejad's government; whether it was urban, regional or nationwide . . . Universities were expanded and all villagers got health insurance. Many urban issues were resolved, especially issues pertaining to the urbanization of areas around major cities by farmers and villagers. Agricultural output increased to a surprising amount. For instance, agricultural output surpassed one hundred million tons. The ratio of exports to imports increased even ahead of the five year plan.

People felt that there's no distance between them and the government. A lot of time was spent on studying people's problems. All these actions [by the government] attracted people to this government to a point where many of the people who were Mr. Ahmadinejad's opponents were unaware of this attraction.

The vote difference was so great that many opponents were shocked. Some interesting things happened in areas that were traditionally against this government.

For instance, in Kerman province, which is a rather leftist area that leans towards Mr. Hashemi, the turnout was high and the percentage of votes that went to Mr. Ahmadinejad was high. 87 percent voted, of which 78 percent voted for Mr. Ahmadinejad. The reason for this is that many infrastructure projects were carried out in this region. In the past, southern Kerman had been forgotten but in this government a committee was formed to address the issues of this region. The head of this committee was the first minister of the president.

This caused the region to grow and advance to a great degree. In Southern Khorason, Northern Khorasan, and Khorasan Razavi; or even in apparently better developed provinces like Mazandaran the participation of the people was high in the elections, and the percentage of votes that went to Mr. Ahmadinejad were high. These were all reasons. To sum it up, the opponents' lack of knowledge about people feelings and reactions to the government's services and actions was the reason [why fraud was reported.]

The second reason was because Mr. Ahmadinejad's opponents' set up their main base in the city of Tehran. Some of their supporters thought the rest of the nation is like the area they live in. Although, Mr. Ahmadinejad had the majority vote in the province of Tehran. It was higher than Mr. Mousavi's vote as well.

Another reason had to with the propaganda campaign and psychological war the opponents had launched. The opponents themselves fell into the trap of these campaigns.

As you see today, aside from a couple of cities in the Tehran province and three or four cities nations wide [in total], the rest of the nation don't have a problem with the result.

The people accept the results and didn't expect anything but this result.


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