The Iranian Guardian Council last week approved just seven candidates for the presidential elections this month out of the 592 who had registered to run, eliminating many of the reformist candidates.
Many unfamiliar with the regime were shocked, but the Iranian opposition knew this would happen because supreme leader Ali Khamenei needs to consolidate his power following the nationwide uprisings of 2018, 2019, and 2020, especially after the trauma of the pandemic.
One of the approved candidates is Judiciary head Ebrahim Raisi, who is infamous for his role on the Death Commission during the 1988 massacre when 30,000 political prisoners were slaughtered in just a few months.
He is the clear favourite because Khamenei needs a man with a history of suppressing dissidents, both during the massacre and in his current role, as the mullahs see daily protests from almost every sector of the country, due to the various crises that the mullahs are facing.
As the rejected candidates have come out to support Raisi and call for a high turnout at the election, purely because keeping the regime in power is good for all the mullahs, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and its internal units have stepped up their calls for an election boycott through anti-regime slogans that have been posted on walls across the country and posted on social media with the hashtag #BoycottIranShamElections, which was shared over 121,000 times in just a few hours. One of these slogans is “We’ve heard so many lies that we won’t vote anymore.”
One of those activists spoke to Times Radio recently and said that no one she knows will vote.
She said: “All of the candidates are for us the same and in the last 42 years the elections have never been about an expression of a popular choice but a selection by the supreme leader.”
The election boycott is supported by the opposition leader Maryam Rajavi, who reiterated the call on May 25, telling people to protest the whittling down of the candidates, saying that there’s no excuse to appease the regime.
The Iranian opposition wrote: “The reality is that the regime is in survival mode and is caught between a rock and a hard place, Khamenei had no choice, but to close ranks and purge the rival faction. The regime will become more vulnerable in the face of the looming nationwide uprising waiting in the wings. And when that happens, it will be far more intense and widespread than in previous years. In a nutshell, for Khamenei, this is a battle of survival.”
The state-run newspaper Setareh-e-Sobh quoted one of the regime’s clerics Mohsen Gharvayan as acknowledging the illegitimacy of the regime’s presidential election, saying: “People should not feel that decisions are being made for them elsewhere or that it have been elected for them elsewhere. This feeling is very dangerous. Policies should not be in such a way that people feel that they have no rights in the issue of elections, as well as political and social issues.” (Setareh-e-Sobh, June 1, 2021)
But this time the situation is worse than ever, even many of the regime’s officials are criticizing the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei as Ahmad Alamolhoda, member of the regime’s Assembly of Experts on May 31 admitted:
“When you say that a leader is not without faults and perhaps make wrong decisions, do I have the right to say that? If someone came and said this, he is either crazy or the enemy and he is trying to gain power, he has become an enemy’s tool, and has targeted the pillar of the system.” (State-run website Khabar Fori, May 31, 2021)