Iran: Disastrous Outcome Of Second Round Of Sham Parliamentary Elections – OpEd

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The publication of the results of the second round of the sham parliamentary elections of the Iranian regime has caused a stir. The media and regime officials describe it with phrases such as “disaster,” “scandal,” “shame,” and “sounding the alarm bell.”

Amidst this, the outrageous remarks of Ahamad Vahidi, the Minister of Interior Affairs, who had referred to this scandal as a “heroic saga,” have sparked a storm of ridicule. The state-run Ham-Mihan newspaper has sarcastically titled it as the “Eight-Percent Heroic Saga!” referring to the 8% voter turnout.

Former Minister of Communications Mohammad- Javad Azari Jahromi wrote, “Presumably, their notion of heroism refers to the 92 percent non-participation in Tehran.”

Even a former regime television host came forward and said, “It is an honor for all of us that the Minister of Interior Affairs understands the concept of ‘heroism.’”

The matter becomes more serious when newspapers and institutions affiliated with regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei also join in the mockery.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)–run Javan newspaper, wrote, “In Tehran, we witnessed a significantly disappointing level of participation in the first round and witnessed an eight percent participation in the second round.”

The Resalat newspaper, with the sarcastic title of “When ‘Everyone’ Showed Up!” mocked the regime’s claims of purifying its ranks and wrote, “When we said you’re not purifying the front, but rather emptying it, nobody paid attention.”

Khamenei’s goal of appointing Ebrahim Raisi as president, and unifying the regime, followed by purification, was aimed at closing the crisis-ridden gaps within the regime in the face of the inevitable storm of anti-regime uprisings. However, in practice, we can see that this policy has led to an “emptying” or weakening of the regime’s foundations. We are now witnessing the most intense conflicts and power struggles within the regime’s ranks, with officials and insiders attacking each other and exposing each other’s corruption.

The situation has reached a point where even the allies of Khamenei openly criticize him with mockery and insinuations such as “We expected these elites to foster unity and coherence, not for 92 percent of eligible voters to abstain and say ‘no.’” (Source: Resalat, February 12)

But Khamenei is not inclined to heed these words. He cannot afford to change course at this point. Khamenei knows well that given the current explosive state of Iran’s society, opening any rift or even taking a step back would unravel the whole situation and impose a series of inevitable retreats, ultimately leading to the downfall of the regime.

By surgically removing radical elements and elevating people such as Raisi, Khamenei was seeking to close the rifts within his regime.

However, it seems that the crises have reached such a height that in his recent speeches Khamenei has been forced to caution against “spreading hatred,” “contentious rhetoric that fuels disputes and fosters enmity,” and reminding that such actions “can destroy the sweetness of the new parliament” (Khamenei in a meeting with the Assembly of Experts, March 7, 2024).

It is known that the internal crises of the regime generally arises from the widening divide between the people and the ruling authority. At this stage, what has led to the crisis is the fact that Khamenei’s engineered elections, according to his own admission, has turned sweetness into bitterness and produced opposite results. The blunt instrument of a nationwide election boycott has had its impact. With each passing day, the effects and consequences of this devastating blow become more apparent, creating further divisions within the regime.

However, the real source of the regime’s troubles and its failure to purify its political institutions is the people’s mass boycott of the elections and their loud cries of “my vote is regime change” and “it is not the time for elections, it is time for a revolution.”

Shamsi Saadati

Shamsi Saadati writes for the PMOI/MEK.

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