One of the most important issues now in Iran’s political field is the upcoming presidential election. Iran experts say that more than ever, Iran’s clerical rulers fear the results and consequences of the elections.
The reason is that the regime in the last two to three years has experienced very hard blows through the people’s protests. One of its consequences, as officials have confessed, is the non-participation of the people in the elections and the people’s distrust of the regime which can lead to its overthrow.
Now the people have found the courage which is increasing day by day to oppose the regime in public and call this election a sham-election which is not free. The situation for the regime is so murky that even many of its officials stand opposed to it too.
So, to create a balance Iran’s Supreme leader Ali Khamenei was forced to came to the stage and announce that, “Do not always say that elections should be free; We had 34 elections since the beginning of the revolution, which one was not free?”
In reality, however, the post of President is in conflict with the post of the Supreme Leader, and to neutralize this position and having the upper hand like in the past 40 years, Khamenei once again commissioned the super reactionary Guardian Council, to take control over the presidential candidates, and remove those from the list who are not synchronized with the regime’s principles, which the most important is to be loyal to the supreme leader.
On May 8, 2021 the Guardian Council announced:
“If the Guardian Council finds that even after the qualification something happened before the election, which is the reason for the disqualification, it is the Guardian Council’s legal right to reconsider that person, so it does not matter, and it is possible that someone in the previous period after the qualification, and in the debate and non-debate, as well as during the propaganda, did things that are now in this period, when his case is reviewed, see those things, were things that are unqualified, whether related to the past or to this period, so it is the Guardian Council’s oversight right to reconsider the competence of that person.” (Entekhab, May 8, 2021)
The easy translation of these sentence is that the blade of the Guardian Council is all the time on the neck of the candidates.
One of the state-run outlets mocked this situation and wrote: “With this explanation, the election debates will become a TV show, because any talk may lead to disqualification.” (Shargh, May 8, 2021)
Then a government lawyer attacked the unlimited and unrestrained power of this Council and said:
“When the Guardian Council such a free hand, and has taken over the election, and it has become the law at all, the best thing to do to speed up the election and save the nation all the time and money, at the election day, do not put any ballot box anywhere except at the Guardian Council’s place.
“All twelve respectable men of the Guardian Council cast their ballots in the same ballot box. The person who gets the most votes in that ballot box becomes the president. In less than 15 minutes, everything starts and ends without wasting any time or money, and easily it become what you want it to be. And the people will not get bother either.” (Setareh-e-Sobh, May 8, 2021)
Although this may sound ironic, it is the truth. For more than four decades, this mechanism in Iran has determined the fate of the election. Because in Iran, elections in the common and well-known sense like in democratic systems have never been valid. The ‘election’ is a cover for the engineering of the power structure controlled by the supreme leader.
But the final and real thought of the regime is accumulated in these sentences expressed by cleric Mohammad-Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi who died earlier this year:
“If there has been talk of elections in the Islamic Republic so far, it is because the Supreme Leader has considered it useful to hold elections now and to get the opinion of the people. The supreme leader has the right and can choose any other type of government whenever he wants and deems expedient, in which he may not refer to the people’s vote at all. The legitimacy of the government is not only subject to the vote and consent of the nation, but also the vote of the nation has no effect on its credibility.” (Partoo weekly, December 28, 2005)