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Iran elections 2021: Khamenei closes ranks to avoid further crises

Iran’s sham presidential election 2021
Iran’s sham presidential election 2021

This article is part of our coverage of the Iranian regime’s June 18 presidential elections

Iran, May 31, 2021—Last week, the Iranian regime’s Guardian Council approved only seven candidates from 592 registered to run for the June 18 sham presidential elections in Iran.

This surprised many, but the Iranian Resistance saw this coming. After three major nationwide anti-regime protests in 2018, 2019, and 2020 the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei seeks to consolidate his regime.

Among the seven approved candidates is Ebrahim Raisi, current head of the Judiciary, well-known for his role in the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988 in Iran.

Therefore, the upcoming elections are nothing but a one-man show. Khamenei needs to control an explosive society that seeks regime change and clearly rejects his regime.

Khamenei is confronted with daily protests across Iran from virtually every sector, a bankrupt economy, regional and international isolation, and escalating factional feuds.

In addition, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) has become more active inside the country, as a very potent organized opposition movement.

After the Guardian Council axed mullahs’ regime loyalists such as former Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, Khamenei backed the decision and called for large participation in the election.

“The candidates are now known, the Guardian Council did what it had to do in accordance with its mandate and approved the candidates,” Khamenei said.

The so-called reformist candidates, none of whom were  approved, once again proved that their aim is nothing but to keep the regime in power.

On May 30, the official Telegram channel of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) wrote, “A group of reformists has set up a campaign in support of Ebrahim Raisi.”

Meanwhile, in the streets, there’s a growing movement for a full boycott of the sham election.

During the whole month of May, Iranians across the country carried out campaigns by writing anti-regime slogans on walls in various cities.

This campaign primarily began in April 2021, following the Iranian Resistance’s call to boycott the mullahs’ farce elections. In April, the MEK’s internal network known as the Resistance Units carried out anti-regime activities in over 250 places in 27 provinces.

The call for a boycott very quickly turned into a nationwide effort and a widespread social movement in Iran. In recent weeks, various sectors of society have called in their protests for a nationwide boycott and chanted “We’ve heard so many lies that we won’t vote anymore.”

These activities are taking place while these activists take many risks. In an interview with Times Radio, one of these activists bravely said, “None of my friends or family will vote, the mullahs’ elections is a joke.”

“All of the candidates are for us the same and in the last 42 years the elections have never been about an expression of a popular choice but a selection by the supreme leader,” she added. 

Also, on Sunday, May 30, Iranians participated in a worldwide social media campaign in rejecting mullahs’ sham elections. The main hashtag of the campaign was #BoycottIranShamElections and was tweeted more than 121,000 times in the first few hours.

These days, the state-run media acknowledges a very low election turnout. In this regard the daily Jahan-e Sanat wrote on May 29, “Given the qualified candidates, how can we expect to see a high turnout in the upcoming elections?”

“Some reports and narrations indicate a ‘no’ vote to the election. The decision of Guardian Council [to disqualify most prominent candidates] will only add to a low election turnout,” Janan-e Sanat wrote.

The reality is that the regime is in survival mode and is caught between a rock and a hard place, Khamenei had no choice, but to close ranks and purge the rival faction.

The regime will become more vulnerable in the face of the looming nationwide uprising waiting in the wings. And when that happens, it will be far more intense and widespread than in previous years. In a nutshell, for Khamenei, this is a battle of survival.

On May 25 the Iranian Opposition leader Maryam Rajavi once again called for the Iranian people’s nationwide boycott of the election farce and urged the people of Iran to protest and rise up against Khamenei’s maneuver, which clearly amounts to usurping their sovereignty.

Mrs. Rajavi emphasized that now 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.