Rouhani said: “Everyone must participate in the election. No one should say because their friends or fellow party members were disqualified, they will not participate… If we want to stand up to America, we must vote… Our presence will disappoint America and our absence will make America happy.”
While Ashena claimed that not voting would lead to an increase in sanctions, the chances of a military assault, and the activities of the Iranian Resistance.
Khamenei had previously said: “Election is a popular jihad; strengthens the country, and safeguards the system’s legitimacy. Presence in the election and voting is a religious duty, a religious edict. It is not simply a nationalistic and revolutionary duty…. Whoever likes the system must take part in the election.”
The boycott sentiment is so large that the regime factions are speculating that 85% will not vote this year, while the people had made their feelings about the election clear. They’ve burned regime posters in the streets, scrawled anti-regime graffiti on the walls, and even destroyed a number of candidates’ election headquarters, despite the risk of arrest and execution.
Of course, it is strange to hear the regime talk about the importance of these elections when just days ago Rouhani called them “selections” after learning that the vast majority of his candidates, including 90 sitting MPs, were disqualified in an attempt by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to consolidate power.
It is weirder still when the regime has admitted to large-scale cheating in the elections. On January 27, Rouhani said that the regime often runs into problems when they want to compile the votes, while his first deputy Es’haq Jahangiri admitted on February 16 that people often vote with fake IDs, those from dead people, and at several polling stations with the same ID. One day later, Iran’s state TV reported politicians buying votes, engineering the ballots, and bussing people to polling stations.
No wonder Guardian Council Spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhoda’i is still predicting a 50% turnout.
Shahin Gobadi of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said: “It is [becoming] evident that the regime has to engage in even more exaggeration than before to show a high turnout.”
The Secretariat of the NCRI reported that Khamenei has told the put all suppressive agents on red alert to oversee the voting in polling stations because he fears an uprising.