By Pooya Stone
Under the rule of dictators, whether monarchic or religious, the election was a means to portray the Iranian government as a democratic and normal state. The upcoming parliamentarian election scheduled in March is yet another publicity stunt by the Ayatollahs.
This event is taking place in the country while less than three weeks ago the government in its entirety passed the most dangerous political crisis in its 40-year life. During this period, nationwide protests rapidly engulfed hundreds of cities and towns across Iran and aimed the highest officials by chanting, “Death to Khamenei,” and “Death to Rouhani.” However, the authorities pretend that the situation has been normalized, but the blood of 1,000 protesters killed by security forces won’t easily be forgotten. And there are thousands of detainees who are certainly under torture and under the threat of being executed according to officials’ vows. Notably, severe sentences for protesters reveal that the unrest has not been contained! And the rulers are still concerned about further protests in the near future, therefore, they attempt to deter, or delay forecasted revolts by intimidating the society.
Protests Continue Like A Dormant Volcano
In these circumstances, the government resorted to cutting off the people’s ordinary communications in fear of more expansion of the protests. Officials touted this move as a great security achievement which resulted in quelling the upheavals. However, the abrupt internet blackout and keeping the people unaware of what is happening around them informed the society that their communications are controlled and monitored by state-own institutes.
Factually, the government let Iranians know how their private space is insecure and is threatened. Therefore, the government’s huge “achievement” [the internet blackout] is likely an achievement for protesters rather than the rulers who are distancing themselves from the citizens more and more. Remarkably, by gradually reconnecting the internet, other segments of society are taken aback about what passed during recent weeks. Many people, in particular, youths, were killed; many more injured; thousands are in jails and dungeons or worse disappeared. So, people feel that they are systematically deprived of being aware of the destiny of their fellow compatriots. This issue creates a kind of distrust even among the government’s advocates. They will realize there are some subjects under the curtain that the government is paradoxically dealing with them.
With the parliamentary elections closing in, the question is, what is the role of the Majlis [parliament] when the crucial decisions such as the gas price hikes are made somewhere else? What role do parliamentarians play when they claim that they were unaware of the sudden raising of fuel prices? Furthermore, why should this institution [Majlis] still exist? Meanwhile, why should the people take apart in this ceremony and cast their vote on something that has no impact on their livelihoods?
The reality is the common feeling of disappointment even among Ayatollahs’ advocates has left no logical explanation for presence in the coming Majlis’ election. While former president Mohammad Khatami described Iran’s president as a janitor and the claim of current president Hassan Rouhani pertaining to learning about the gasoline price hike in the last filled the Iranian media outlets, it can prospect that the majority of the society will prefer not to take part in the elections. And this feeling of resenting, which will eventually re-emerge as protests, is terrifying the rulers severely!