Originally published at the NCRI website
Iran’s regime will hold its sham presidential elections on June 18. While many try to portray the mullahs’ sham elections as a sign of the regime’s democracy, it is necessary to take an in-depth look at the procedures and rules of the elections in the regime truly a “maneuver of democracy.” We intend to shed light on different aspects of the regime’s sham presidential elections. This piece is part of our several articles covering the Iranian regime’s sham presidential elections.
A glance at Iran’s elections
The Iranian regime will hold its 13th sham presidential elections on June 18, 2021. Western media and regime’s apologists intend to portray elections in Iran under the mullahs’ regime as a struggle between political parties. Yet this is far from reality. It is crucial to understand this process with more Iranians calling for the national boycott of the regime’s sham presidential elections.
The process of the so-called “elections” in the mullahs’ regime shows how undemocratic Iran under the absolute clerical rule or “Velayat-e Faqih” is.
According to Article 99 of the regime’s constitution, the Guardian Council is responsible for supervising the elections and vetting candidates. The Guardian Council is an appointed and “constitutionally” mandated 12-member council.
Based on the regime’s constitution, this council consists of six Islamic faqihs (so-called experts in Islamic Law), chosen by the regime’s Supreme Leader; and six jurists, nominated by the head of the Judiciary and “elected” by members of the regime’s Majlis (parliament).
Besides choosing the six mullahs, the regime’s Supreme Leader indirectly selects the other six so-called jurists. But how?
The Mullahs’ Supreme Leader, now Ali Khamenei, appoints the Judiciary Chief. The regime’s MPs are also those vetted by Khamenei’s Guardian Council and act on his behalf because the regime’s laws require all candidates to exhibit “heart-felt and practical allegiance” to absolute clerical rule, the Velayete Faqih, as a precondition for their candidacy.
Before the sham parliamentary elections in February, the Guardian Council disqualified thousands of candidates, including 90 percent of the so-called reformists and dozens of then-MPs.
In other words, all these “democratic” maneuvers are to allow the Supreme Leader to choose the man he wants, and there is no room for the opposition forces.
Many officials and regime affiliates have signed up as candidates, But the Guardian Council has eliminated all of them during previous elections. The maximum number of “qualified” candidates was 9 in the 2001 elections.
In other words, the Guardian Council acts on behalf of Khamenei, and the regime keeps its “democratic” façade for deceiving the international community.
Throughout its reign of terror and oppression, the mullahs’ regime faced a restive society. Fearing people’s reaction, the regime created the so-called “reformists” factions, to compete with the so-called “hardliners,” and deceive the public and the international community. These “reformists,” are the regime’s top officials involved in terrorism and oppression.
The current reformist president, Hassan Rouhani, is proud of being the first officials in the regime to implement the mandatory veiling. He is also responsible for the death of over 1500 Iranians during the major Iran protests, in addition to nearly 5000 executions during his mandate.
Iranian people chanted “reformist, hardliner, the game is over,” during the major Iran protests in January 2018 and November 2019. People acted in line with this slogan, by largely boycotting the regime’s sham parliamentary elections in February 2020.
In Iran, there is no voter registration or roll. Iranians can vote anywhere as long as they present their national identification book, or Shenasnameh, which is stamped at the polling station. Once the polling stations are closed, the counting process begins. Neither the general public nor any civil society organization is permitted to monitor the count. This makes it very difficult to audit election results and ensure the integrity of the vote.
Despite the overall control, the regime officials were forced to admit to people’s “unprecedented” boycott of the sham parliamentary elections.
The Presidential Elections of 2021
With his regime entangled in an international crisis, and facing a restive society, Khamenei tries to hold the sham presidential elections at any cost to legitimize his regime as the public dissent in Iran, and the regime’s international isolation continues to grow.
The situation in Iran has changed since the major uprisings in January 2018, November 2019, and January 2020. During their protests, people chanted “reformist, hardliner, the game is over,” underlining they want regime change.
Facing an explosive society, Khamenei has decided to unipolar his regime. In May 2020, Khamenei spoke of the “young and Hezbollahi government,” meaning people from his faction. Since May 2020, Khamenei has been repeating his goal of having the so-called “young and Hezbollahi government.”
Khamenei knows that his regime has reached a point that the slightest difference at its top could lead to another uprising by people. In addition, the so-called reformist faction is no longer able to deceive people.
According to a survey in February 2021 by the state-run Goman think tank, around 78% of educated people and above 19 years old have declared they will not participate in the election.
To this date, it is clear that Khamenei intends to pull out his desired candidate, but who will be this person?
It is not clear whether Khamenei will allow members of the rival faction to participate in this election or disqualifies them by using his Guardian Council.
But clearly, this sham presidential election will be boycotted by Iranians from all walks of life. In addition, whatever the outcome is, the regime’s behavior, its role in spreading terrorism and chaos in the region, and systematic human rights violations will accelerate.