Iranians at home and abroad came together on Sunday to take part in a social media campaign where they spread their anti-regime messages under the hashtag #BoycottIranShamElections, which got tens of thousands of shares in just the first day.
The Iranian opposition, has been calling on the people to boycott the elections for years, citing that nothing has ever changed under the rulling theocracy or will ever change.
Over the past year, the opposition’s internal network have been leading a rigorous and well-supported campaign advocating an all-out election boycott, by putting up posters of opposition leaders on highways and anti-regime graffiti on public walls in the city. There were at least 250 demonstrations in April alone.
It’s no wonder that so many people wish to boycott the elections because voting will not only make no difference to the Iranian people’s everyday lives, it won’t make a difference to the eventual winner either.
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has already made it clear that he supports judiciary head Ebrahim Raisi for president, which means the rest of the establishment support him too. In fact, the Guardian Council disqualified over 500 candidates, including many high-profile ones like former Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, to pave the way for Raisi’s victory.
Mohammad Mohaddessin, the chair of the National Councill of Resistance of Iran’s (NCRI) Foreign Affairs Committee, said Wednesday that this was Khamenei’s attempt to consolidate power as social unrest increases in the face of the various crises that Iran is facing.
This social unrest resulted in three nationwide protests over the past four years, with the people calling for regime change each time. The anger of the people toward the regime even led to the widespread boycott of the parliamentary elections in February 2020, despite the authorities attempt to play down the pandemic to get people out to vote.
That boycott was driven in part by the major protests, but also because of the opposition’s campaigns, so it stands to reason that after the officials’ botched handling of the pandemic, more people will boycott the elections.
Mohaddessin said: “The nationwide call for the boycott of the sham election has gained momentum, and people are openly calling for the regime’s overthrow. [This indicates that there is a] looming nationwide uprising waiting in the wings [that is] far more intense and widespread than in previous years.”
Alongside this online conference, there are many facts that this time the regime’s presidential election will be faced with the people’s boycott.
According to a video published on the Internet, in a free tribune that was held in the second square of Naziabad, Tehran, one of the youths from behind the tribune said, ‘Everyone who votes has oppressed the 1,500 killed in November (2019).’ There is no difference between the candidates and ‘all of them are looters.’ (Internet June 2, 2021)
Mark Dubowitz, the CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) in his tweet on June 1 about the regime’s election said: “Reminder: Frontrunner for IRI president sanctioned by US Treasury for “executions of individuals who were juveniles at time of their crime; torture, other cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment punishment of prisoners in Iran, including amputations.”
Attacking the regime’s sham-election Struan Stevenson former MEP in a tweet quoted his article about this election: “My article on Iran’s so called elections. Iran’s mullahs choose executioner as front-runner for president.“
He pointed: “Raisi’s fast track to the presidency is the clearest sign yet that the supreme leader is panicking. Since 2018, there have been three nationwide uprisings, with daily protests continuing in towns and cities across Iran. The economy has collapsed. More than 75% of the population now struggle to survive on daily incomes below the international poverty line. Children rummage through trash cans for scraps of food.” (UPI, June 1, 2021)
The situation for the regime is becoming so critical this time one the regime’s officials Hassan Abassi regrets about the regime’s decision to holing elections and said: “We have a problem that started from Mr. Khatami’s term in 1997. Before that, in the fifth parliament we approved and accepted the model of Western democracy in the elections. We made a mistake.
“Now, the UAE, which does not have elections, are not its people more relaxed? Qatar does not have elections, Oman does not have elections, this Turkmenistan above us does not have elections, are they not more relaxed? We made a mistake in holding the elections, we should not have elections like in the UAE and Qatar so that the people’s nerves are calmer.” (State-run daily Ghatreh, June 2, 2021)
Then Ali Sufi, government expert admitted: “We do not see any electoral excitement, the election atmosphere is not political, it is security. This planning (elimination of candidates) based on expediency is considered more important than elections.” (ILNA, June 2, 2021)