ISSN 2330-717X

The End Of Iran’s Sham Elections – OpEd

By

Finally, despite the boycott of the majority of the Iranian, which was in fact a big “no” to both factions of the clerical regime of Velayat-e-Faqih, Khamenei, as expected, inconsiderate of the public sphere, pulled out the person he wanted from the ballot box. He appointed Ibrahim Raisi as the seventh president of Iran, a man whom Amnesty International has called on the UN Human Rights Council to set up a mechanism to investigate his “crimes” against humanity. Someone who has been on the US and EU sanctions lists for his role in the violation of human rights and the massacre of people.

According to eyewitnesses in various Iranian cities, most polling stations were completely deserted, indicating widespread boycotts of the election by the majority of the population. In spite of this reality, however, as it has been common practice by Khamenei to legitimize the elections and his regime, he claimed that more than 28 million people, or nearly 50% of eligible voters had cast their ballots, quintupling the actual number of vote casters.

While according to reports, and numerous clips that are made by witnesses in various polling stations in different cities of Iran and published in cyberspace, the turnout in this election show was less than 10% of eligible voters.

In this way, Khamenei, with his contractionary policy that he had already started, took control of all affairs by removing all the leaders of the so-called reformist faction and even his former trusted officials to build a unified government and parliament solely from his affiliated faction. He seems to have drawn his last card to guarantee the survival of his regime.

Of course, it is inconceivable that Ebrahim Raessi, because of his brutal nature, which is based solely on the execution and repression and physical elimination of dissidents, and also, because of his backward and reactionary views, can solve any of the people demands, like freedom and improvement of economic situation. As a result, he will try to silence any opposition by using the Revolutionary Guards as its arm of repression, in the way that dictators usually do, that is, to suppress the opposition more and more nakedly.

But how successful he will be is something that will become clear in the not-too-distant future. Because, the people of Iran have now reached a level of misery where 80% of them live below the poverty line and have nothing more to lose. Before this same election Iranians in different cities, in street speeches without fear of the consequences of their words, expressed their desire to overthrow the regime in its entirety and blamed Ali Khamenei for this situation. 

It is noteworthy that until a few years ago, no one dared to speak out against Khamenei in public, and people expressed their dissatisfaction by blaming Hassan Rouhani and his government. But now people were threatening to overthrow Khamenei with the sharpest and even insulting words. Therefore, suppressing the people will not be as easy as before because of the scale of dissatisfaction even though the president and members of parliament are now all members of the hardline faction.

Of course, as far as the repression of the people is concerned, there is basically no difference between the reformist and hardline factions, and both factions have always agreed on this point. As most of the repressions took place during the presidency of the so-called reformist faction. Such as, the crackdown on students during Khatami’s presidency in July 1999, when security forces threw students down from the third floor of dormitories, killing or imprisoning many. 

Or during the protests of the people against the tripling gasoline price during the presidency of Hassan Rouhani in November 2019, when the security forces shot dead 1,500 people in the streets and imprisoned more than 12,000 people. And this is in spite of the fact that Hassan Rouhani has not until today confessed to committing this crime, nor has he announced the number and names of the martyrs.

Unfortunately, other countries focus more on the regime’s foreign policy than on Iran’s internal affairs. For them, the priority is for the regime not to acquire nuclear weapons, to limit its missile programs and interventions in the countries of the region. But since the nature of this regime is based on two pillars of internal repression and export of fundamentalism to other countries, and considers the acquisition of nuclear weapons as a means of its survival, Khamenei will never comply with these demands of the West. Experience has shown that the only language that can dialogue with this regime is the language of determination.

Now Khamenei, assuming that Joe Biden along with his new administration is not a warlord and wants to withdraw his forces from Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern countries, he has opted an aggressive policy and wants to impose his demands by threatening to increase enrichment if the United States does not lift sanctions and will no longer allow IAEA to inspect the suspected sites.

However, a glance at regime’s history shows that the appointment of Ibrahim Reisi as President of Iran is not a sign of power but an indicator of Khamenei’s weakness in handling numerous internal challenges, the demands of different segments of people and their livelihood problems. Naturally, in the future, this situation will prepare the atmosphere for wider protests for the people and their desire for a regime change. 

Click here to have Eurasia Review's newsletter delivered via RSS, as an email newsletter, via mobile or on your personal news page.

Cyrus Yaqubi

Cyrus Yaqubi is a Research Analyst and Iranian Foreign Affairs Commentator investigating the economy of the middle east countries that are relying on the oil revenue and comparing their progress to their ruling system, specially covering a variety of topics about Iran.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.