Insider news & Analysis in Iran

By INU Staff 

INU - The Iranian elections, due to be held on 19th May, are coming at a time that is critical for the Iranian regime. Firstly, the fear of uprising in Iran is reaching a critical level and authorities are scared there will be a repeat of the 2009 protests. Secondly, regarding international relations – especially with the US – the Islamic Republic is in a situation where it needs to either be open to negotiations or prepare for confrontation. Thirdly, the succession of the current Supreme Leader is something that will play a big role in the choice for the next President of Iran.

The election process has been described by many as a “sham” and this is because the process does not conform to international standards. In Iran, the “Guardian Council” oversees the elections. That means that it first of all approves who even runs for presidency. 

Election law also stipulates that candidates have to adhere to, as well as believe in, “Islam and the sacred system of Islamic Republic in practice”. They must also be loyal to the Constitution and the absolute rule of the country. 

In democratic elections there is an opposition, however in Iranian elections, the opposition is blocked by the Guardian Council. Also blocked are the candidates who have been in disagreements with the Supreme Leader. 

The President of Iran can always be overruled by the Supreme Leader. In fact, it is the Supreme Leader that has absolute power, making the powers of the President rather limited. Former President of the Islamic Republic from 1997 to 2005, Mohammad Khatami, said that the role of presidency is basically just a “facilitator” of the regime. 

Although there are two factions in the Iranian government, they cannot be differentiated in the way we can differentiate candidates in Western elections. Both factions are criminal, terrorist, and have the common aim of supressing the Iranian people. Both sides have been involved in crimes against humanity and abuses of human rights. 

The 2015 nuclear deal is something that will affect the presidential elections because it is a way that President Trump can enforce sanctions on the country. Iran had the upper hand while the Obama administration was in place because it was able to get away with a number of malign activities, safe in the knowledge that Obama was so desperate to have the nuclear deal that he would not dare to do or say anything that would jeopardise it. 

With the arrival of a new US President who is not willing to let the Islamic Republic continue its murderous rampage across the Middle East, the regime is growing concerned. It has put so much effort into supressing opposition and invested heavily in killing, torturing or holding captive members of the PMOI/MEK. It was hugely destabilising for the regime to know that there was an international effort to transfer thousands of opposition members away from Camp Liberty and Ashraf to countries in Europe. 

The two main candidates for next month’s elections are Hassan Rouhani (the current president) and Ebrahim Raisi.

Hassan Rouhani has had direct involvement in the decision making of the Iranian regime’s crimes, including the most recent suppression of the people and sending children to war to fight on behalf of Iran. He has failed to condemn the human rights abuses that take place on a daily basis and he has boasted about being able to deceive other countries during the nuclear deal negotiations. 

His opponent, Raisi, has also made a career out of pursuing the regime’s malign policies. The most significant act he was involved with was the 1988 massacre of tens of thousands of political prisoners. He was part of the so-called “death commission” that oversaw all the executions. Shockingly, juveniles were executed as well and pregnant women. He has played a part in a harrowing crime against humanity and should be punished, not chosen to be president. 

So it is clear that no matter what the outcome of the election is, the candidates have been selected by the Guardian Council and are as corrupt as each other. The dire situation of the country will never change unless the international community intervenes. 

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