These days, Iranian officials’ main concerns are over a public boycott of the coming Presidential election on June 18. Regardless of their factions, candidates do their bests to drag citizens to the polls. From making baseless promises to breaching the censorship restrictions and even approaching the Islamic Republic’s redlines, they recognize no constraint to deceive citizens.
These attempts indicate that the authorities forecast a historic apathy and that the ayatollahs no longer enjoy social acceptance. Nevertheless, the people of Iran had already declared they trust neither reformists nor principalists through their meaningful slogans during their nationwide protests. “Reformist, principalist, the game is over,” was a slogan frequently chanted by protesters.
Iran’s Lobbies and Appeasers Lay Blame on Disqualifications
However, Tehran’s lobbies in the West and advocates of the appeasement policy mislead the international community in accordance with their interests, dissidents say. Indeed, they pursue to revive the failed game of “reformists versus hardliners” to take their personal and factional advantages.
For instance, Sina Toossi, the senior research analyst of Tehran’s D.C.-based lobby group NIAC, promotes such false thoughts in favor of ‘reformists.’ Indeed, he is practically running a propaganda campaign for ‘reformists’ while ‘moderate’ President Hassan Rouhani was directly involved in the mass killings of protesters in November 2019, economic failures and the catastrophe in Tehran’s Stock Market, executions of hundreds of people, including political activists, women, and juvenile offenders, and terror activities in the U.S. and EU.
“While the Guardian Council’s action gives Raisi a relatively far easier path to victory, it also fundamentally stains any legitimacy his election would have… Many Iranians will believe this race was decided before it even started,” wrote Toossi in the National News on May 26.
‘Reformists’ and ‘Hardliners’ Admit the Theocracy Has Reached the End of the Rope
Nonetheless, ‘reformists’ and ‘hardliners’ rejected Toossi’s claims a long while ago. In a roundtable on August 11, 2019, ‘hardliner’ Abolqassem Raoufian, the secretary-general of the Islamic ‘Iran Zamin’ party, admitted that the people no longer trust ‘reformists’ or ‘hardliners.’
“The people do not look at reformer and hardliner politicians as a salvation who are able to guarantee a prosperous life and fate for them,” Raoufian said.
As the people of #Iran believe the government's game of "hardliners versus principlists" is over, Ex-president Mohammad Khatami warns about igniting public anger against the entire ruling system. The ayatollahs' horrible record amid #coronavirus has prompted citizens' wrath. pic.twitter.com/DI8lYOT7wr
— Iran Focus (@Iran_Focus) May 10, 2020
Furthermore, ‘reformist’ sociologist Sadeq Zibakalam mentioned the popular slogan of “reformist, hardliners, the game is over,” emphasizing, “This slogan has become known and familiar.”
“I believe that ‘reformists, hardliners, the game is over’ is repeating more and more. This repetition proves that this slogan has been familiar in the society,” Zibakalam said. “If we imagine the Islamic Republic as a tree, at least this political tree had two fruits after 40 years, one of the fruits was the hardline manifesto, and the other was reformism. Both of them have collapsed. Both of them have arrived at the end of the rope. Both of them have lost their credibility.”
“The new generation, educated people, intellectuals, cultured and elite people, don’t give a damn about the hardliners or the reformists,” he added.
Moreover, in an interview with Entekhab website on May 31, Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, the former Parliament (Majlis) Speaker and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s advisor, rejected ties between public participation and disqualifications by the Guardian Council.
“Was there 80-percent participation before the announcement of the qualifications leading you to blame the Guardian Council for the low participation?” Entekhab quoted him as saying.
Four days later, Khamenei’s representative and Friday Imam in Sough, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province, blamed those who criticize the Guardian Council for low participation. “Today, some raise and promote the low participation issue… The reason for non-participation or low participation is not because of disqualifications,” Fars news agency quoted him as saying on June 4.
The Ayatollahs’ Record Is the Main Reason for Apathy
Therefore, contrary to misguiding details spread by Tehran’s foreign propaganda, the main reason for the people’s apathy is not the Guardian Council’s disqualifications. In reality, the people of Iran have vented their anger at the entire Islamic Republic regime. They plainly express their fatigue and frustration over the current ruling system.
They no longer trust the ruling system that has brought them nothing but suppression, corruption, poverty, terrorism, and international isolation. Constant protests in Iran alongside nationwide demonstrations in December 2017-January 2018, August 2018, November 2019, and January 2020 underscore this truth. Indeed, public apathy is the flipside of anti-establishment protests, which have densely shaken the theocracy’s pillars.