The Truth Behind Iran's Presidential Election Travesty

May 19, 2017 By Mohammad Mohadesin, published by Forbes 

Since its foundation, the clerical regime ruling Iran has used false elections to paint a democratic picture of its tyrannical rule across the world. Unfortunately, for different motives, some western politicians and governments acknowledge this and try to invest in the power-jockeying between the so-called “moderate” and “hardliner” factions in the Iranian regime, a competition they deem authentic.

If not stemming from economic interests and political considerations, this logic is rooted in a flawed assessment of the structure governing the religious dictatorship ruling Iran. This erroneous line of thinking and the decisions it has resulted in have come at a huge cost to peace and stability in the region and across the globe.

 


Iranians vote in the twelfth presidential election on May 19, 2017 in the city of Qom, south of the capital Tehran, Iran. (Photo by Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

The nature of the Iranian regime, its dynamics, balance of power and inner currents all prove that elections within the country in no way relate to the democratic traditions known in the West. Iran’s presidential elections are in fact a 20th century façade draped over an outdated regime that is the ideological mirror image of ISIS.

Khomeini, the founder of this regime and creator of the theory of Velayat-e Faghih (Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist), explicitly described the Islamic rule as the “Absolute Reign of the Islamic Jurist” in which the Supreme Leader can overrule the vote of the entire population. He has stipulated, “We want a caliph that severs hands and stones to death.”

The Iranian regime’s officials assert that religious boundaries override geographical ones. Under such a reign, elections are no more than a mockery of democracy.

Under the regime’s laws, only people who have heartfelt belief and practical obligation to the Supreme Leader are eligible to run for the office of president. Candidates are vetted by the Guardian Council, a twelve-member body, six of which are directly appointed by the Supreme Leader and the rest chosen by the head of the judiciary branch—who is again put in place by the Supreme Leader.

More than 1,600 people registered for this year’s elections, six of which made it to the final round. Even former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005-2013), who previously had the full favor of Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, was disqualified due to his fallout with the regime’s leader in the final years of his presidency.

The Iranian regime’s president is not a decision maker. According to article 110 of the constitution, the Supreme Leader is the sole proprietor of most powers that countries such as the United States and France grant to their president, judiciary and the legislative. The Supreme Leader answers and has clearance to override the paltry authorities that the president assumes.

Mohammad Khatami, who served as the regime’s president from 1997 to 2005, confessed in his final years in office that the president is nothing more than a facilitator of the state.

In other words, the presidential elections are nothing but a struggle between different factions over the looting of the country’s wealth and a dispute over how to save the regime from overthrow.

After filtering out the candidates, the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guards, his notorious military arm, “engineer” the result of the elections and decide which nominee will better serve their ends. Unfazed by deceitful promises of economic growth and social welfare that candidates put forth, the Iranian people reject these charades. However, the regime’s “Chamber of vote aggregation” (otagh-e tajmie ara) declares the voter turnout as manifold.

The survival of Iran’s religious dictatorship has ever relied on the three pillars of domestic suppression, export of terrorism and extremism, and the nuclear bomb-making project. The past six presidents of the regime had never diverged on these key points. The active involvement and endorsement of execution and torture has especially been the litmus test of loyalty and appraisal for qualification in assuming critical roles.

Having experienced the downfall of the Shah regime, the mullahs fully know that any easing of oppression will quickly lead to the unraveling of their hold on power and the collapse of their regime. In 1977, the Shah’s decision to limit torture and execution paved the way for the popular uprisings that swept away his monarchy in less than two years.

The dark dossier of Hassan Rouhani and Ebrahim Raisi, the two principal candidates of the elections, further drive this point. Both confirm to have curried favor with the Supreme Leader for their candidacy, and boast of their key role in the suppression of the people and of their endorsement of the regime’s violent meddling in Iraq and Syria, among others.

On the one end is Raisi, a mass executioner who was raised to the role of attorney general in different cities at the age of 18 and has since been busy taking innocent lives. He was the most active and ruthless member of the “Death Commission,” a four-member assembly that Khomeini assigned in 1988 to carry out the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, mostly members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), the mullahs’ main opposition. This crime against humanity was so hideous that it caused a rift within the highest echelons of power in the regime and continues to reverberate to this day.

On the other end is Rouhani, a veteran of the security apparatus who served as the deputy commander-in-chief during the mullahs’ eight year war with Iraq. He was among the authorities responsible for sending tens of thousands of Iranian children and youth to their doom in the battlefields. He was actively involved in the suppression of women and in cracking down on protests, especially during the 1999 uprisings. He brags about his success in deceiving the West about the Iranian regime’s nuclear program. During his tenure, more than 3,000 people have been executed. By his own words, the regime’s military spending has increased by 145% in his first term as president.

He too was among the decision makers of the 1988 massacre, and his deputy, justice minister and entourage were among the executioners of the crime. On the other hand, his defense minister, Hossein Dehghan, is responsible for the 1983 bombing of U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut.

Since beginning the open suppression of opposition and the execution of dissidents in 1981, this regime has ultimately lost its legitimacy. The mullahs do not represent the Iranian nation, its people and its values. The Iranian people have never accepted the reign of the mullahs and seize every opportunity to express their desire to overthrow their rulers. The uprisings of June 1981, the countrywide protests of the early nineties, as well as the 1999 and 2009 uprisings are proof of this undeniable reality.

120,000 executed political prisoners, 90% of whom the MEK and its supporters constitute, are the ultimate testament to the price that the Iranian people are willing to pay for the establishment of freedom and democracy in their country. The will and desires of this people is represented by the ten-point plan of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, for a free, democratic Iran based on gender equality and secularism, and a non-nuclear state that adheres to international conventions and laws.

In parallel to the Iranian regime’s brutal suppression of the people, the policy of appeasement has contributed immensely to preserving the mullahs’ rule. The past eight years have seen the worst of this failed approach.

When the people of Iran poured into the streets and called for the overthrow of mullahs, the U.S. President was busy sending missives to the regime’s leadership. When the Iranian resistance’s disclosure of Tehran’s nuclear weapons program along with international sanctions brought the mullahs to their knees, world powers, with the Obama Administration at the helm, granted them the most concessions.

In 2010, the Obama Administration facilitated Nouri Al-Maliki’s reelection as the Prime Minister of Iraq, which in turn paved the way for the Iranian regime’s invasion of Iraqi soil and politics and, by consequence, the expansion of its meddling in Syria. History will harshly judge the endorsers of rapprochement with the Iranian regime for the damage they caused to global peace and stability and their contribution to the intensification of the Iranian people’s torment.

The calamities of the Iranian people, the crises riddling the region and many of the problems haunting the world are tied to the existence of the Iranian regime. Instead of this travesty of elections, focus must be directed toward the real desires of the Iranian people, which is the overthrow of the clerical regime and the establishment of democracy and freedom. Due to the regime’s intensifying inner crises and infighting over power sharing, the only real effect of Iran’s presidential elections will be the weakening of the ruling regime in its totality and its approach to its inevitable downfall.

Mohammad Mohaddessin (@Mohaddessin) is chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the author of the book “Islamic Fundamentalism: The New Global Threat”

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