Iran’s Guardian Council, which supervises elections, announced last Wednesday the final list of approved candidates for the presidential election on June 18.
In a move that shocked many, the Council disqualified several prominent officials, including former parliament speaker Ali Larijani, but this is believed to be a way for supreme leader Ali Khamenei, who directly or indirectly appoints every Council member, to consolidate power amid the people’s rising discontent.
With Larijani out of the race, the frontrunner is judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi, a long time high-ranking official, who was personally responsible for the deaths of hundreds of political prisoners during the 1988 massacre, where 30,000 dissidents were murdered in just a few weeks after show trials presided over by the so-called Death Commissions.
The simple fact is that elections in Iran are not about democracy; they’re a mere façade that only serves to legitimise the rulling theocracy to the Western world while crushing the people. Given the current situation in Iran, thanks to the failing economy, the pandemic, and increased human rights abuses, the government is in the weakest place it’s ever been and officials believe that this is the single most important election since the mullahs took power in 1979. Khamenei needed to consolidate power to maintain control for a little bit longer, which is why the Council disqualified all of the reformist candidates who stood a chance at winning.
After all, the people have already made their feelings clear about the current rulling system in two nationwide protests since the 2017 presidential elections, as well as the boycott of the parliamentary elections last year. It is believed that the people will be boycotting this election on a scale not yet seen; rejecting the idea that there is any difference between moderates and hardliners.
Maryam Rajavi, the president of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said: “There is no longer any excuse to appease and engage with this regime. Any interaction and cooperation with the mullahs will be in service of the regime’s repression and killing of the Iranian people and its obtaining of nuclear weapons and inciting warmongering in the region.”
The West must end its appeasement of Tehran, take a tough stance on the mullahs, admit that the elections are illegitimate, hold Tehran to account for its crimes against the Iranian people and the rest of the world, and stand with the Iranian people in their fight for freedom.