Engulfed by domestic and international crises, the Iranian regime needs a strong turnout at its sham parliamentary elections on February 21, to keep its so-called “democratic” façade and legitimize its deadly rule in Iran.
Yet, it fears a general boycott of its elections farce. A state opinion poll published in the regime’s own media acknowledged that 76 percent of Tehran locals have no intention of voting in the regime’s sham election process.
The Iranian regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei intends to have a unipolar parliament and given the recent domestic and international developments, he is unable to tolerate the other faction of the regime, close to the regime’s president Hassan Rouhani, that have been culprit in all the regime’s crimes within the past 40 years. Therefore, Khamenei used the Guardian Council to massively purge candidates of Rouhani’s faction.
Khamenei’s act only intensified the regime’s infighting over more share of power. Rouhani called these elections a “selection,” and his Minister of Interior, Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, acknowledging the rigging and engineered nature of the regime’s sham elections.
“Experience shows that most of the violations took place with people using the identification documents of dead people to vote for a second time. There is also the case of fake documents with which people used to vote. We have also seen people using the same ID documents to vote more than two, three or four times. They would go from one voting station to another, making it very difficult for authorities,” he said.
Yet he didn’t say how officials, including himself, refuse to prevent such voting frauds, that are only meant to show a higher voter turnout, providing necessary propaganda material for the state-run media to broadcast or publish.
Khamenei knows that intensifying the regime’s infighting might prepare the ground for another series of protests, yet he has no choice because the recent Iran protests has forced him to do so. The slogans chanted by people of “reformist, hardliner the game is over” confirmed this truth that the regime’s games of reformism won’t manipulate the Iranian people.
The nationwide Iran protests in November 2019 over the fuel price hike was met with a deadly crackdown by the Iranian regime’s security forces. According to reports published by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK), over 1500 protesters were killed by the regime’s forces. This number was later confirmed by Reuters and the United States officials.
The Iran protests were a major turning point regarding the 4-decades-long conflict between the Iranian people and the regime. This was later demonstrated during the second wave of protests in Iran, against the regime’s downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet and three consecutive days of lying about the incident, which quickly turned political, with people calling for regime change.
The real fear of the regime
The regime’s utter fear of the Iranian people boycotting the sham elections is that this will pave the way for further protests, particularly the activities by the MEK and its “Resistance Units” across Iran. That’s why despite the massive purge of his faction’s candidates, Rouhani desperately begged people to participate in the regime’s elections farce. “Everyone must participate in the election. No one should say because their friends or fellow party members were disqualified, they will not participate… If we want to stand up to America, we must vote… Our presence will disappoint America and our absence will make America happy.”
Comments by Rouhani’s political advisor Hesameddin Ashena confirm the regime’s fear of its true enemy: the Iranian people and their organized Resistance. He wrote: “Snubbing the ballot box is not just tantamount to snubbing the government or the Guardian Council. It leads to an increase in sanctions, in the probability of a military assault, and in the MEK’s sabotage operations.”
For this reason, terrified of the outcome, Khamenei said participation is a religious duty and edict. “Election is a popular jihad; strengthens the country and safeguards the system’s legitimacy. Presence in the election and voting is a religious duty, a religious edict. It is not simply a nationalistic and revolutionary duty…. Whoever likes the system must take part in the election,” he emphasized.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, said in her remarks at a gathering of members of the MEK at Ashraf 3 in Albania, marking the anniversary of the 1979 anti-monarchic revolution in Iran: “Khamenei is trying to fill the reactionary parliament with absolute loyalists because he sees closing ranks as the only solution to deal with the current crisis. But, whether he succeeds or fails in this endeavor, in the end, the clerical regime has no way out and cannot forestall its overthrow.”
Mrs. Rajavi recently reiterated that the Iranian people had cast their real vote in the November 2019 and January 2020 uprisings with chants of “death to the principle of the velayat-e faqih, and death to Khamenei.” She added, the pathetic pleas by Rouhani only arouse the Iranian people’s hatred and revulsion toward the ruling mullahs, making Iranians ever more resolute in boycotting this illegitimate election. Boycotting this sham is a patriotic duty and the Iranian nation’s bond with the martyrs, especially the 1,500 massacred during the November 2019 uprising, Mrs. Rajavi said.