Iran’s Presidential Election In The Sizzling Summer – OpEd
By Cyrus Yaqubi
In a situation where the scorching temperature in some parts of Iran has reached above 50 degrees Celsius, and some Iranian cities are being recognized as the hottest cities globally, in recent days, electricity in many parts of Iran has been cut off for various reasons for consecutive hours. As a result of this power outage, not only people can use the minimum cooling equipment to reduce heat pressure but also many production units have been shut down, and many other facilities, including hospitals without emergency generators, are facing increasing problems. The electricity interruption has caused the death of many patients with Covid-19 due to oxesion system failure.
This has raised the anger and protest of the people who, even without this problem, have faced other issues such as skyrocketing prices, unemployment and shortages of essential food items such as cooking oil, chicken meat, eggs, rice, etc. The people have to wait in long queues for hours to purchase these necessities. As a result of all these the discontent of the people towards the regime has reached an explosion level.
This dissatisfaction with the current situation shows itself in daily protest rallies, sit-ins, gatherings,… in different cities across Iran. The people’s demands include their back salaries, high inflation, unemployment,…
The People have decided to showcase their dismay and dissatisfaction by boycotting the regime’s sham presidential election scheduled to be held on June 18, 2021. The people are expressing their anger with the regime’s hollow promises, mismanagement and corruption with their gatherings and in social media . They do not believe in the empty promises of the presidential candidates who, like in the past, offer promises and forget all of them once in power. The people are looking forward to a regime change and a free democratic Iran.
In reality, this election, like other elections in Iran, is a battle zone for different rivals and factions within the regime to grasp more share of power. The candidates by no means represent the people. This year, in particular, everyone knows that Ali Khamenei,the supreme leader, is trying to pull out Ra’isi’s name out of the ballot boxes. For that reason, this year’s presidential election is more meaningless than ever.
The government has cited the lack of water behind the dams as the main reason for the electricity shortage due to reduced snow and rainfall in the winter and spring. Still, people do not accept this and consider corruption in the government as the main cause of electricity shortages. Because after 42 years of mullah’s reign, while Iran has the second-largest natural gas reserves in the world and can easily supply electricity to the whole country by gas power plants, the regime has spent tens of billions of dollars to build a nuclear power plant in Bushehr to follow its atomic programs.
Studies have shown that one of the reasons for the lack of electricity is the high consumption due to a large number of electronic currency mining farms. In order to compensate for some of its foreign exchange deficits, which it has faced due to the US embargos, the Iranian regime has, in recent years, set up large-scale electronic currency extraction farms that consume a lot of electricity.
This has made Iran the second country after China to extract cryptocurrencies. Due to the low price of electricity in Iran, even other countries have officially and unofficially established cryptography farms with the agreement and cooperation of government agencies such as the Revolutionary Guards. Of course, the income from this investment is not benefiting the pockets of the people but the pockets of government affiliates such as the Revolutionary Guards.
The revelation of this issue has increased the anger of the people so much that Hassan Rouhani was forced to ostensibly announce that the production of cryptocurrencies will be banned until the end of September and the electricity of all these centers should be cut off. By offering such rhetoric, Rouhani, in the last days of his government, wants to reduce the people’s anger. But the situation in Iran, according to some leaders of the regime, is very volatile.
It exemplifies a barrel of gunpowder that can explode any Day. Khamenei is well aware of the situation and people’s discontent and had to ask the Guardian Council to disqualify ex-government officials such as Larijani (a two-time speaker of the parliament) and Ahmadinejad (a 2-time ex-president) as candidates to prevent any possible rivalry that would have potentially set the scene for a widespread uprising similar to the one that took the regime by surprise in November 2019. Because, Khamenei is now incapable of suppressing the demonstrations like then , and as a result it could lead to the overthrow of the regime.