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Commentary: A new Iranian revolution?

Governments rig elections for only one reason: They're afraid of the people.

The fear appears to run deep among Iran's ruling mullahs and their allies. The massive demonstrations since Friday's presidential election show that their worries are well-founded.

So far, no proof has emerged that lunatic-in-chief Mahmoud Ahmadinejad engineered his own re-election as president Friday, but the circumstantial evidence would persuade any impartial jury.

His nearly two-thirds majority against three opponents, including the popular Mir Hossein Mousavi, was suspect. More suspect was his "victory" in their hometowns and among their ethnic constituents. Our last presidential election would have been less than credible had Barack Obama triumphed among white Arizonans or John McCain among black Chicagoans.

Most suspect of all was the government's announcement of Ahmadinejad's win within hours of the polls' closure. Voters turned in 40 million paper ballots, all of which had to be counted by hand. Some American jurisdictions have trouble getting returns out that fast, even with computerized systems.

Since Friday, staggering protests have filled the streets of Tehran with hundreds of thousands of demonstrators. The city last saw angry crowds of this magnitude 30 years ago during the revolution that toppled the country's monarchy and put the mullahs in power. Comparable crowds toppled the regime of Fernando Marcos in the Philippines and the old communist governments of Eastern Europe.

To read the complete editorial, visit The (Tacoma) News Tribune.