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Iran’s election a screen for the Regime’s consolidation of its power

Written By | Jun 2, 2021
Iran, Election, Regime

By Shahram Sharif –, CC BY 2.0,

With the Iranian election occurring in June 2021 and reports anticipating a low turnout, the regime is flipping into survival mode and eliminating any candidates seen as not falling into lockstep with Khamenei.

In his New Year speech, Khamenei specified the criteria for his favorite president, which fits Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi. Yet, Raisi has neither academic nor religious standing. He is known as the Henchman of the 1988 massacre, which resulted in the death of 30,000 political prisoners.

Raisi’s loyalty to Khamenei is what made him the only serious candidate left among the almost 600 that registered initially.

Note that each of these candidates is not about real change to benefit the Iranian people but focused on maintaining power to benefit financially.

The Guardian Council axed Ali Larijani as a presidential candidate, despite the fact that he has served on the Supreme National Security Council, been Parliament Speaker for 12 years, was part of the IRGC, and been the head of state-run television and radio.

He is not seen as the loyal candidate that Khamenei would prefer and his choice of Raisi as president is obvious.

“Officials and state media are sounding the alarm. Every single day, they are warning about the growing appeal of the Mujahedin-e Khalq supporters and resistance units among the public, especially among the youth. They are openly speaking about their impact on the hearts and minds of the Iranian public,” said Mohammad Mohaddessin, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) on May 26. “What happened yesterday [elimination of Larijani’s candidacy] should offer a valuable lesson to world powers. They continue to pin their hopes on illusionary moderates or reformers with a medieval theocracy. But a viper never gives birth to a dove.”

During the past 40 years, elections in Iran are not about expressing the will of the people in a democratic and transparent process.

Instead, they have served as a selection process by the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, who is himself not elected. Even the vetting of the Guardian Council that approves the candidates is chosen by Khamenei or his cohorts.

The election is decided by the demands of the regime to maintain an internal balance of power among the factions. Each faction has its own demands and Khamenei must continue to jockey among their competing interests. Notice that the Iranian people are not a priority.

Khamenei is making moves within Iran to purge the rival faction

Which is likely to shrink his power base even further. Every move he makes internally to maintain power is actually having the opposite effect. With all the internal challenges facing the Iranian people, Khamenei’s fixation on power consolidation will make it more vulnerable to the next uprising of the people.

It comes after three uprisings, in 2018, 2019, and 2020. There are daily protests in virtually every sector of Iranian society. The economy is in tatters, while the regime’s foreign policy continues to isolate the Iranian people internationally and regionally. The fighting between the regime’s factions has escalated and organized opposition to the regime is increasing its activity level.

Foreign policies, which have long been focused on Iran’s nuclear program, are not enough to distract the Iranian people from the challenges at home.

Even efforts by Khamenei to lengthen the Gaza conflict by providing weapons, material support, and training are not taking the focus away from the powder keg of problems in Iran.

All the internal efforts to squash any opposition to the regime have been met with an increasing number of resistance units. All the repressive measures, executions, arrests, and restrictions on social media have failed to stop the wave of disgruntled Iranians. While Khamenei is trying to downplay the anticipated low turnout of the election, a nationwide boycott against the election is gaining momentum.

Events over the past month have shown the regime is emboldened to violate the human rights of the Iranian people because there is no accountability on the international scene.

“There is no longer any excuse to appease and engage with this regime,” said Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the NCRI.

“Any interaction and cooperation with the mullahs will help repression and killing of the Iranian people. It will help the regime get nuclear weapons and start conflicts in the region,” said Mohaddessin.

The NCRI and its leadership believe it is time for the international community to end its appeasements of the Iranian regime. To that end, they have laid out specific actions that need to be taken in support of the Iranian people.

“We are calling on the West and the international community to stand on the right side of history and with the Iranian people in their struggle to overthrow the regime and their quest for freedom,” said Mohaddessin.

These actions include condemning this year’s election as the sham that it is. Ending impunity for the mass murderers in place throughout the regime.

And bringing members of the regime to justice for their crimes against the Iranian people and humanity.


Read more from Hamid Enayat on CDN

About the Author:

Hamid Enayat is an Iranian political analyst and freelance writer based in Europe.

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Hamid Enayat

Hamid Enayat is an independent Iranian political analyst and writer based in Europe.