Abbas Barzegar argues that, barring proof of fraud, it's fair to infer that Iran's deeply religious and conservative rural population gave Ahmadinejad victory:

On Monday night at least 100,000 of the former prime minister's supporters set up a human chain across Tehran. But, hours before I had attended a mass rally for the incumbent president that got little to no coverage in the western press because, on account of the crowds, he never made it inside the hall to give his speech. Minimal estimates from that gathering have been placed at 600,000 (enthusiasts say a million). From the roof I watched as the veiled women and bearded men of all ages poured like lava...

For over a week the same social impulses of anti-corruption, populism, and religious piety that led to the revolution have been on the streets available to anyone who wanted to report on them. Ahmedinejad, for most in the country, embodies those ideals. Since he came into office he has refused to wear a suit, refused to move out of the home he inherited from his father, and has refused to tone down the rhetoric he uses against those he accuses of betraying the nation. When he openly accused his towering rival, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanji, a lion of the revolution himself, of parasitical corruption and compared his betrayal to the alleged deception against the Prophet Muhammad that led to the Sunni-Shia split 1,400 years ago, he unleashed a popular impulse that has held the imagination of the masses here for generations. That Rafsanji defended himself through Mousavi's newspaper meant the end for the reformists.

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