These remarks are only a part of charlatanism that has engulfed the clerical ruling system in its entirety, a charlatanism that not only in the president himself but also seen in all the functions of the system. Of course, we shouldn’t forget the 40-year background of crime and secrecy that marks this regime.
In dictionaries, “charlatan” means a person who pretends to have skills or knowledge that the person does not actually have. This person also says words without believing in them or gives promises that either cannot or would not keep. Additionally, the person lies and cheats to achieve goals. Charlatanism is the method of people who use any means to achieve their goals or take power. In summary, charlatanism relies on secrecy and sophistry to permute the truth for the benefit of its users.
However, when charlatans use religion, they do not respect any principles. They perform it as an essential means to fool ordinary people. Iranian officials, particularly the supreme leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, are such charlatans. In this respect, a careful glance at Rouhani’s remarks on January 27 helps us to realize new scopes of the systematic charlatanism among Iranian leaders.
Hassan Rouhani’s First Lie: Referendum of the Islamic Republic
“A referendum determined our [political] system as the Islamic Republic,” this was the first lie raised by Rouhani on January 27. However, it is worth examining how much this claim is accurate.
The fact is today, the Islamic Republic is synonymous with brutal cleric dictatorship, which is refused by the Iranian people all the time. In 1979, regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini could deceive the outraged masses who had gotten fed up with the hollow promises of a long-time monarchic dictatorship. He abused the people’s desire for freedom and equality to remove an outdated ruling system, not to benefit the people but to materialize his old dream of establishing a religious empire. Notably, Khomeini had expressed his eagerness for an “Islamic State” in his book with the same title many years earlier.
Additionally, during all the past years, the people of Iran always showed their determination to change the current political system. “Death to Khamenei,” “Death to the principle of the ‘Velayat-e Faqih [the main pillar of the IR],’” and “Death to the tyrant, whether he is king or leader,” are chanted by protesters in each demonstration. These slogans obviously display the major demand of society for fundamental change. However, a question remains that if Rouhani is honest, why his government rejects holding a referendum supervised by the United Nations? And why do security forces violently respond to any cry of protest, even for economic grievances?
Meanwhile, it is worth reminding that Khomeini had specified the type of governing system before Rouhani’s mentioned referendum in March 1979. He believed in a state that the “Velayat-e Faqih,”– himself– is the superior power and absolute ruler. Khomeini also preferred tyranny rather than the situation without a ruling system. “We should believe in the necessity of the establishment of the government, and we should make efforts to run the system of executing of rulings and managing the affairs,” the Institute of Organizing and Publishing of Khomeini’s Works quoted Ruhollah Khomeini as saying at ‘Velayat-e Faqih,’ page 21, in 1994. On the other hand, despite the people could overthrow the Shah dictatorship, several years later, Khomeini noted in page 227 of his book under the title of “Kashf al-Asrar” that occasionally, entering into the same “ruinous dictatorship” was necessary to “deter corruption and refine the country’s affairs.”
Therefore, Khomeini as the founder of the religious fascism regime had never believed in a republic, democratic system. In this respect, holding a referendum under the supervision of the Velayat-e Faqih is mere deceit. The Iranian president pursues to insinuate the public opinion that the current government enjoys popular support. However, the people’s frequent demands for toppling the governing system have previously debunked Rouhani’s attempts to restore the failed regime’s authority either inside the country or abroad.
Why Did Ruhollah Khomeini Say “the Islamic Republic”?
“Maybe, you ask me why Imam [Khomeini] said the ‘Islamic Republic’ and didn’t say ‘Islam’ or the ‘Islamic State’? The choice of the word ‘republic’ was to reject the monarchy… In the political literature, [our] regime is called ‘the Republic,’ but not the [same] Republic [as is known] in the West,” Mohammad-Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi, the head of minority faction of the Assembly of Experts, which is responsible for choosing the supreme leader, noted in Parto Sokhan magazine in December 2005.
Mesbah-Yazdi, who is renowned for his archaic explanations, added that we want a republic with “Islamic content” not a republic regime, in which “the people control everything, and which obeys the vote and cravings of the people!” Then, he said, “Therefore, [our] purpose is the implementation of ‘Islam’ in a ruling system. Today, when the monarchic system doesn’t exist, it is called ‘republic.’”
Mesbah-Yazdi finally concluded that it is a “blasphemous thought” if we consider another subject under the name of “republic” beside of “Islam.”
Choice Between the “Islamic Republic” and “Nothing”
On April 1, 1979, Khomeini pushed the Iranian people into voting “yes” or “no” to his preferred “Islamic state.” In truth, there was no freedom of choice in the so-called referendum. He forced the people between choosing the toppled “monarchy,” to return to the regime that they themselves had overthrown some months earlier, or accepting an “Islamic Republic,” about which only Khomeini was aware. The people trusted him, hoping he can lead the country to prosperity and welfare. However, Khomeini betrayed the people’s expectations for achieving the freedom, justice, and equality they had risen up for.
The note of ballot well shows how the Islamic Republic founder misused his credibility and left the people to choose between his preferred regime and “nothing.” The people had to opt for the “Islamic Republic” or the collapsed monarchic regime. On the ballot had written, “The change of the previous regime to the ‘Islamic Republic,’ whose constitution will be chosen by the nation: Yes/No”
In this regard, every person was considered “rogue loyal to the Shah monarchy” if the person had not voted for the “Islamic Republic,” or raised questions about the unspecified constitution.
Hassan Rouhani’s Second Lie: Referendum of the Constitution
“The constitution is the basis of our functions. All of us, without exception, get our credibility from the constitution.” This was the second lie raised by Hassan Rouhani on January 27. Why?
The truth is Khomeini hadn’t ever been familiar with the democratic concepts. On February 10, 1979, when he delivered his first speech at the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery of Tehran, one of his aides reminded him that he was supposed to assemble the “National Constituent Assembly” to adopt the form of next government. However, Khomeini didn’t finally pronounce the word correctly and the audience turns a blind eye to this obvious error. He, of course, never established the mentioned assembly and founded the “Assembly of Experts,” composed mostly of mullahs loyal to himself, instead of the National Constituent Assembly. The “Experts,” who were appointed by Khomeini and not through ballot boxes, eventually drafted the constitution in accordance with Khomeini’s mindset, published in his book titled “Velayat-e Faqih.” Therefore, Ruhollah Khomeini could institutionalize his outdated idea about the “religious empire.” Velayat-e Faqih was the main pillar of the new constitution and there was no one more qualified than Khomeini to be Velayat-e Faqih!
A few days later, Khomeini held another “referendum!” He forced the people to choose between the “pro-Velayat-e Faqih constitution” and “nothing” once again. Everyone who denied voting for Khomeini’s loved constitution would bear different accusations like “Monafeq [hypocrite],” “Mofsed-e-filarz [spreading corruption on Earth],” and “pro-monarchic regime.” In addition, deniers to Velayat-e Faqih’s rule were targeted by Khomeini’s thugs who were formed in the Islamic Revolutionary Committees. Later, the committees became responsible for patrolling in the streets and terrorizing the society to eliminate any cry for freedom of expression and make the masses fully obedient to Khomeini. Members of the mentioned committees were the originators of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the force most loyal to the Velayat-e Faqih’s regime as the ayatollahs’ firmest anchor for fulfilling oppressive and aggressive policies.
It is worth reminding that the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), also known as Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) in the West, was the sole movement that refused to vote for the pro-Velayat-e Faqih constitution. PMOI/MEK members later paid massive costs for not succumbing to Khomeini’s cravings. Khomeini personally removed them from running for presidential elections in February 1980 with a Fatwa. “Those who did not vote for the [pro- Velayat-e Faqih’s] constitution, don’t have the right to be President,” Khomeini addressed PMOI/MEK leader Massoud Rajavi, who had publicly announced his objection to the dictatorship under the banner of religion.
Subsequently, Khomeini changed the name and function of the national parliament. He called the “Islamic Parliament,” instead of the “National Parliament.” Then the Islamic Republic founder established several unprecedented councils such as “the Guardian Council,” and “the Expediency Discernment Council of the System” to dominate all the country’s affairs and quell any cry for free and democratic elections. Remarkably, on February 10, 1979, before his plane landed in Iran, Khomeini had claimed, “I am a simple mullah and would like to go to Qom [the city is renowned by its Islamic Seminary] and pursue my cleric lessons.”
Hassan Rouhani’s Third Lie: This Is a Democratic Government!
On January 27, in another part of his remarks, the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani pretended that religious fascism is a democratic establishment. Previously, he has named the theocratic dictatorship as the “high tower of democracy!”
“The greatest danger against democracy and national sovereignty comes the day that the elections become ‘formality.’ Somewhere else [Khamenei] appoints [the people’s] representatives then the nation becomes present at the ballot boxes merely to execute the [routine] protocols of the elections,” Rouhani said on January 27.
Hassan Rouhani also threatened Khamenei about the fate of the previous dictatorship and compared the current state of the regime with the Shah regime, saying, “God forbid someday comes to our country like [the past]. Because, you remember that in the previous regime’s era, several people were nominated in electorates, but everyone knew who was supposed to be the representative. The people were saying ‘that one’ was elected by Tehran [the government]. And finally, the same person who was previously elected by Tehran became the elections’ winner.”
Rouhani Admits That Officials Are Appointees
Hassan Rouhani as the president of Velayat-e Faqih unwittingly acknowledges that there are no elections in the Velayat-e Faqih’s regime but are the appointments ceremony. The fact is that votes and voting are merely a formality in the Islamic Republic due to the “representatives” being previously appointed in the Office of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The members of the parliament, like other Iranian officials, are elected by Khamenei and his staff, not by the people of Iran.
“If all the people say ‘yes,’ but the Velayat-e Faqih says ‘no,’ the order of Velayat-e Faqih should be implemented,” Ruhollah Khomeini had said, explaining the scale of the supreme leader’s authority.
The fact is Rouhani has spent the majority of his life as an intelligence agent serving the Islamic Republic. He time and again reiterated that he is the most security-focused cabinet in the regime’s history. He is also well aware that his fate has been tied with the fate of the current regime and many times he has proven his allegiance to the supreme leader. However, a question is why has he emerged as a critic for this method? Has he lost his loyalty to Khamenei or intends to revolt against the regime?
Absolutely, nay! But he truly feels that Khamenei has dramatically weakened after the crippling sanctions, the November protests, the death of the commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force Qassem Soleimani, and the January protests. In this respect, he seized this opportunity to size up his share of power and neutralize the influence of Khamenei-controlled Guardian Council that has lately disqualified many of Rouhani’s allies. He plainly and simply pursues to blackmail the supreme leader into acquiescing to his expectations. Rouhani’s remaining claims about public participation and competition between different performances are only publicity maneuvers to fool the regime’s international counterparts and funding Iran’s lobbies and propaganda apparatus in the West. Because as far as the Iranian people are concerned, they have demonstrated their desperation about the entire ruling system and its factions by shouting, “Reformists, hardliners, the game is over.”
The Room of Votes Collection
Rouhani also displayed another card to pressurize his rivals and raised the subject of votes collection’s room. He indirectly leaked authorities’ method for increasing the number of votes and implicitly threatened pro-Khamenei factions about the consequences of the removal of his allies.
“Of course, I am not satisfied with this kind of [elections]; however, there is no other choice. Despite my efforts and those of the Minister of the Interior, we didn’t succeed to hold electronic elections. Even Afghanistan did but we couldn’t… It is not clear what an agent is reading and where does another agent mark? Afterward, it is not specified what may happen at collection time! We must be very careful about [the room of votes collection],” Rouhani said on January 27.
He also slammed Khamenei’s proponents by raising, “Many elections have fallen in [non-transparency] in the collection part.” Rouhani really meant the 2009 presidential elections, when Mehdi Karroubi, then-presidential candidate and former speaker of the parliament, criticized the government about the votes collection method, saying, “We gained further votes, however, when we waked up on the next morning, we dealt an obvious manipulation in the benefit of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which resulted in our defeat!”
How the Ayatollahs Preserve Their Tyranny by Using Charlatanism
Despite Hassan Rouhani realizing that the members of the parliament have previously been appointed by the office of Khamenei, however, he tried to publicize “elections” and attract many more people to the ballot boxes. This matter shows that there is no difference among the officials and all of them only pursue to style their dictatorship as a legitimate rule! And contrary to democratic states, authorities’ genuine concern is not gaining more votes, but they scramble for achieving huge participation on the ballot boxes alone.
“You say in your private sessions, ‘[the majority of the next parliament is ours] by 100 percent,’ so, why are you concerned if [you are sure] it is yours?… If [the next parliament] is yours, let competition take shape and the rate of participation increases. Okay, enjoy your majority!” Rouhani addressed Khamenei-linked factions on January 27.
Rouhani, also in parallel with mocking his rivals, expressed his concern about security affairs and people’s disaffiliation, saying, “We have no problem with the next parliament; therefore, let’s save security and shape competition… We all [should] attempt to increase participation… We [should] pursue participation, health, and security of elections as our task, let’s make the people’s spirit happy.”
Rouhani frankly said that he merely hopes to gain legitimacy for the religious fascism. However, he did not talk about responding to the people and their rightful demands with live ammunition and employing tanks, armored vehicles, and helicopters. The fact is Khamenei and Rouhani have the blood of more than 1,500 protesters on their hands, which extremely shook the pillars of the ruling system. And neither elections nor appointments will return the Islamic Republic’s legitimacy!