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Iran’s electoral farce is Khamenei’s circus

The regime’s fake “elections” are nothing more than a desperate tyranny’s attempt to hold on to power despite public discontent.

A protester holds a picture of Mahsa Amini, the Kurdish woman whose death in the custody of Iran’s “morality police” has sparked widespread unrest. Source: Twitter.
A protester holds a picture of Mahsa Amini, the Kurdish woman whose death in the custody of Iran’s “morality police” has sparked widespread unrest. Source: Twitter.
Erfan Fard
Erfan Fard is a counter-terrorism analyst and Middle East Studies researcher based in Washington, D.C.

The destructive ideology of Khomeinism, which rules Iran, is a form of totalitarianism marked by an aggressive and demagogic ideology, authoritarianism, and degrading propaganda. The regime wields absolute power, an archaic form of absolute rule intent on maintaining control over every individual within society through a security apparatus that instills fear and terror. The regime, which is destroying Iran itself, demands the unconditional submission of society, denying its people the freedom to choose or even think what they want.

This corrupt, contemptible, ruthless and criminal Islamic government, led by a tyrannical ruler, is set to hold elections on March 1. The exiled Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi has correctly labeled them a “circus.”

The elections are the first since large-scale protests against the regime began. As such, this charade demonstrates the regime’s blatant disregard for basic rights and democratic principles, as well as the resilience of the Iranian people. The elections have been met with a burgeoning wave of resistance. In a bold act of defiance, dissidents are boycotting the election and setting the regime’s election billboards ablaze. This is a vivid testament to the Iranian people’s refusal to legitimize a government that has relied on deceit, repression and the obliteration of dissenting voices since its inception.

The election will choose not only the Iranian parliament but also the assembly of experts, which is responsible for selecting the regime’s supreme leader. Rumors suggest that the selection will be the son of current supreme leader Ali Khamenei, deepening the regime’s autocratic grip. The election process starkly deviates from democratic norms. It is a meticulously rigged system in which the mullahs not only “vet” the candidates but wield absolute veto power, nullifying up to 40% of parliamentary votes.

March 1 may well be a watershed in Iran’s modern history, highlighting the vast divide between the ruling theocracy and the people. The election’s farcical nature will likely further alienate a populace desperate for reform.

Fake elections are the norm for the regime. In 1979, regime leader Ruhollah Khomeini’s claim that 99.8% of the population voted in elections, despite 60% being ineligible—a claim that went unquestioned by the global media—set the template for the regime’s conduct.

Iran’s corrupt and inept mullahs have established themselves as a privileged overclass. For over 520 years, they have allied with corrupt and bloodthirsty rulers in their quest to do so. Over the past century, their relentless pursuit of power led to the formation of Islamic terrorist groups that took thousands of lives. Today, they hold on to power through state terror that seeks to suppress Iranian nationalism and rewrite Iran’s rich history.

Khamenei is the personification of this. He has positioned himself as a divine authority on earth, tenaciously holding on to power whatever the cost to his own people.

Despite his best efforts, the people’s disenchantment—especially among the young—is unmistakable. They know that this charade of an election is merely a desperate attempt to maintain the regime’s facade of popularity and legitimacy.

This discontent underlines Iran’s economic turmoil and political unrest, as well as the regime’s inability to address the people’s fundamental grievances.

Nonetheless, against daunting challenges, the Iranian people’s desire for freedom and justice persists. The international community must acknowledge this by recognizing the true nature of Iran’s elections: Nothing more than a desperate ploy by a tyrannical regime to feign legitimacy. Solidarity with the Iranian people is crucial.

As Iran stands at this critical juncture, the farce of “elections” reveals that the regime’s quest for legitimacy is failing to suppress the burgeoning spirit of dissent among its citizens. This could well be a pivotal moment in Iran’s history, as its people continue to courageously defy a regime that seeks to silence their voices and stifle their dreams.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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