In the lead up to the Iranian presidential elections later this month, the regime’s infighting has increased and the state-controlled media is warning that there will be “dangerous” consequences for the mullahs.
It began last week when the Guardian Council, which is the body that approves or disqualifies election candidates, announced that out of 500 people who registered to run, only seven will actually appear on ballot papers.
Many of those disqualified were high-ranking current or former officials because Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who directly and indirectly appoints all of the Council members, wants to ensure that Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi becomes the next president.
This is because the regime is facing so much resistance from its people, so Khamenei needs to consolidate power, especially with the help of a man best known for sending thousands of political prisoners to their death during the 1988 massacre, as well as violently cracking down on the 2019 major Iran protests.
The Arman daily wrote Sunday: “The most important concern of the upcoming government is to prevent the emergence and happening of something very horrendous [read: an uprising by the people]. This horrendous issue that [the mullahs] believe is coming will show itself in the future. They think that if they cannot prevent this terrible thing from happening, the [regime] will face serious challenges. This situation can be a kind of depiction of society, rivals, social actors, people, and historical conditions.”
One of the final seven candidates, Mohsen MehrAlizadeh, responded on Twitter to candidates being told by the Tehran prosecutor that they must follow the regime’s “red lines”.
He said: “How do they allow themselves to define a red line for presidential candidates? Suppose Mr Raisi is worried that in this unequal competition, criticizing him will be interpreted as an attack on the judiciary. In that case, it is better for him to either resign from the judiciary or stop running for the presidency.”
In a Wednesday article, Arman said that officials should not make statements that stir public opinion, but rather try to ease dissatisfaction among the public, following an outburst by Basij militia propaganda figure Saeed Ghasemi, who threatened violence against the disqualified candidates.
The paper wrote: “What causes the likes of Saeed Ghasemi to lose control and say whatever they want to? Worst, how he allows himself to call for one-on-one combat that could result in violence and more people losing their lives. If he continues this manner, it will certainly end in nothing but further hostilities and hatreds… If these wounds become open, there will be major consequences for all of us, even Ghasemi.”
Then one of the disqualified presidential candidates Mostafa Tajzadeh about the regime’s situation said:
“Why did I’ve criticized the leader? And why criticizing the IRGC? Because the situation in our society is very sensitive and unfortunately the power in Iran is centralized in such a way, that everything we want put our finger on it, making decision, is related to the leader, now even the vaccine is related to the leader.
“The leader wants to reduce criticism on himself, should interfere less in the affairs of the IRGC, does not want to be criticized should not interfere. The system, now we are reaching a point that is fearing its own shadow, why should it be like this?”
And its seems that the situation in this election is becoming worse than any time before. Following Abdolnasser Hemmati’s protest against the non-broadcasting of his election video clip by the regime’s state-TV on June 2, Mohsen Rezaei Pasdar one of the candidates in a tweet said, that his election video was not allowed to be broadcast on the regime’s TV too.
“My election documentary, which was delivered to the radio and television last night, was not allowed to be broadcast due to narrow-mindedness. They said delete public interviews to allow broadcasting! We made a revolution to hear the voice of the people. Do not be afraid of people’s voice. I will publish the full documentary on social media at 8 pm.”