A spokesperson for the Executive Council of CODIR summarizes the Council’s assessment of the forthcoming presidential election in Iran – that, as things stand, it offers no hope of democracy and serves only to confirm and strengthen the theocratic dictatorship’s stranglehold over the present and future of the country and its people.
On May 19th, the Iranian government is set to stage a presidential election.
At the close of nominations, 1,636 hopefuls have registered to stand.
But while on face value this may give the appearance of some kind of democratic process at work, make no mistake it is a sham. It is fake!
Careful scrutiny of the list shows that among the 1,600 plus there is one former president and several ministers, there are even a few allies of the Iranian equivalent of The Monster Raving Looney Party. However there is not even one real opposition candidate!
Not one is calling for an end to theocratic dictatorship. Not one is calling for the release of political prisoners. Not one is standing on a platform of respect for human rights, for the rights of trade unions, for gender equality. And above all, not a single candidate is committed to ending the economic crisis and the impoverishment of workers under the current regime.
Unfortunately, there are those in the West who are unable, or unwilling to see past the illusion of this dictatorial pluralism.
So what is really going on?
The regime’s Council of Guardians will narrow the list down to around a dozen, if that. No genuine opposition candidates or candidates of democratic political parties will be allowed to stand. Of course it goes without saying that there won’t be any women allowed to stand either. They are constitutionally barred.
It is almost certain that the so called election will, at least initially, revolve around three candidates; Rouhani – the current president; Raisi – a regime stalwart closely involved in the massacre in 1988 of over 5,000 political prisoners; and lastly, former extremist president Ahmadinejad noted for his political brinkmanship and anti-UN stance.
Out of this group, it is current president Rouhani who is probably best placed to come out on top as the theocracy sees him as continuing the policy of winning concessions from the EU and US thus guaranteeing the regime’s political survival.
However, it is worth noting that the more recent agitating rhetoric emanating from Washington could easily persuade hardliners within the regime that hopes of a detente are forlorn and to revert to form – in which case, Raisi, more of a trusted insider to their camp, would be their man.
But make no mistake; this so called election is about maintaining the status quo. For the Iranian regime is set on a course of no change as far as its macro policy is concerned – no democracy, no equality and the continuation of its crisis ridden dictatorship.
The initial candidate list may give the impression of change and this suits the elitist leadership. It also reflects a degree of frustration among the people who can see no other way at this time of expressing their anger and legitimate opposition.
Unfortunately, this reflects the true state of the political process in Iran at this time. The Iranian regime is a dictatorship and it seeks to stay that way.
We should reject this sham exercise and develop real solidarity with the Iranian people for peace, human rights, democracy and social justice.