The supreme leader Ali Khamenei and the related faction, fearing the emptiness of the polling centers, have tried to fill the gap with the 41 anniversary of the Iranian revolution in order to turn this show into a maneuver to boost morale among their forces, and give them the motivation to be present at the ballot box.
The official IRNA news agency clarified this need of the regime and while warning about “lower participation risk than previous periods” it wrote:
“The participation rate of the elections has always been of great importance to the Islamic Republic of Iran and reflects the popular image of the system (regime), especially as it is one of the most important documentation of our sacred system for denying the baseless claims and propaganda of foreign enemies about the loss of popular support of the Islamic Republic.” (IRNA, 8 February 2020)
Young Hezbollah government
Khamenei’s strategy of dealing with this “surgery” and getting rid of the rival faction is nothing more than an effort to unify the regime to counter upcoming protests. In the meantime, as Khamenei has said before, he is also in search of a future government that he hopes to be completely unified.
Mohamad Ali al-Hashimi’s remarks in the Tabriz Friday praying ceremony are very clear, “This parliament can guarantee the future of a young Hezbollah government.”
In order to show that he is aware of the danger and gab that can be opened, he immediately added:
“It is natural that, given the importance and sensitivity of the parliamentary elections, the enemy does not sit idle and carry on with his evil deeds and prepares, so we should not fight each other in this regard.”
Just like Al-Hashim, Friday Prayers’ Imam of the Ezhieh in Isfahan province used the phrase “Hezbollah government” to make it clear that such a state its “foundation is created in the parliament”.
The “Young Hezbollah Government” is a phrase first used by Khamenei himself. Addressing Basij students complaining about President Hassan Rouhani and his government on 22 May 2019, he said:
“If you, young people provide the foundation for the coming of the new Hezbollah government, your sorrows will be over, and these sorrows are not just for you.”
Regime’s hard situation and aggravation of the crisis
On the other hand, the continuation of the faction war in the media on both sides not only signifies the escalation of the internal crisis over the elections but is also a confirmation of the “hard situation” for Iran’s supreme leader; which can make the confronting faction against the supreme leader more aggressive and attacking his unlimited powers.
The statements of the current member of the parliament, Shahabedin Bimeghdar, are very intuitive in this respect. Speaking to the state-run news agency ILNA, while calling for “revising the constitution”, he attacked Khamenei and complained: “Appointment organizations have a great deal of power and can easily use their legal powers.
If we want the Islamic Republic to remain stable, we must pay special attention to the republican system, but in the constitution, unfortunately, the powers are combined in one place.” (Setareh-e-Sobh daily, 8 February 2020)
In this regard, the IRNA news agency also reported on 5 February, about a letter from the President to his Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri calling for “Preparing a bill to reform the election monitoring section.” Rouhani in addition to this that is a clear threat, while remembering the control of the government over the “Otaghe Tajmi” (vote count/rigging room) and threatened to prevent counterfeiting of votes.
Confirm the competence of corruptors and thieves
Khamenei’s factions’ newspapers, in numerous articles, have endorsed the Guardian Council’s move to remove the reformist candidates and attacked Rouhani.
For example, in an article published on the website of the state-run newspaper Vatan Rooz on 9 February 2020, titled “You can’t confirm corruptors and thieves”, it supported the Guardian Council’s actions and attacked Rouhani:
“The words against the Guardian Council during this period are unfortunately those saying who were approved by this Council of Guardians for some periods and were representing the parliament. And have been approved for the presidency two times and have been in charge of this system (regime) for 40 years. “
What is certain is that under the current conditions of the regime, the infightings will not extinguish very soon. But the question is, how far the president will go and threats, or at what point he is intimidated and forced to retreat by the attacks of the Vilayet-e Faqih (Supreme Leader’s rule) and his faction, are questions that will become clearer in the coming days.