Iran has held presidential elections, but the elections were not free nor fair. The election exposes how tenuous the mullahs’ grasp on power seems to be.
The results of Iran’s presidential elections, declared on Friday, in no way represent the will of its people. Hassan Rouhani’s supposed victory only underlines the failure of Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, in engineering the sham elections in the way he preferred. In fear of a nationwide uproar targeting the regime in its entirety, not only by the bussed supporters of any side, but more dangerously by an oppressed nation hunting for a rift within the regime’s senior ranks to storm the ruling theocracy, Khamenei was left with no choice other than giving up on Ebrahim Raisi, his desired candidate, and granting a second term to Rouhani.
Khamenei perceived the elections as an opportunity to unify his ranks in order to deal with the many crises he’s facing at the domestic and international level. The conditions, however, did not allow the ailing Supreme Leader and the Iran Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), his main implement, to engineer the process in the way he would have desired. It can only be expected that the deepening crises resulting from the elections will prod the regime closer to its downfall.
The sham elections only displayed the disarray riddling the regime in its entirety. “Rouhani’s second term would only entail growing crisis and a more intense power struggle,” is how Maryam Rajavi, President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), described the results of Iran’s presidential elections. “Crisis has precipitated at the leadership level of the religious fascism and would continue until the downfall of the regime of the velayat-e faqih (absolute rule of clergy)… Khamenei’s failure to manipulate the election result to bring Raisi out of the ballot box and make the regime monolithic is a heavy blow for him and a sign of the regime’s approaching demise.”
Indignant about the regime’s false show of democracy, the people of Iran responded to the call of the Iranian opposition to boycott the elections. Wide campaigns by Iranian activists across the country denounced the elections and expressed the people’s desire for regime change. Terrified by the sheer amount of activism and the possibility of uprisings similar to those of 2009 erupting, the ruling mullahs decided to quickly end the election farce and avoid causing social tension.
However, nothing new is to be expected of Rouhani.
“Rouhani’s first term only saw a spike in suppression, executions, injustice and poverty, and an increase in Iran’s meddling in neighboring countries and expenditures on ballistic missiles, military and security projects,” said Mohammad Mohaddessin, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the NCRI. “In his second term, Rouhani will continue those same policies, and as before, he’ll try to extract more concessions from the West.”
Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan recently reported that the defense budget has seen a 250% increase during Rouhani’s tenure, which he described as the “most glorious period in developing the country’s missile and defense programs, in terms of quantity and quality.” He promised the growth to continue to 400% by the end of 2017.
Rouhani himself boasted of taking advantage of the regime’s meddling in Syria and Iraq to bargain for better concessions by world powers in the nuclear talks. He described Iran’s export of terrorism as vital to the regime’s survival by saying, “If our forces had not persevered in Baghdad, Samara, Fallujah and Ramadi, and if they hadn’t supported the Syrian government in Damascus and Aleppo, we would not be enjoying any security to be able to negotiate so well.”
Moving forward, Rouhani neither has the intention nor the power to bring any change to the reactionary foundations of the regime he serves, a regime which is in effect ruled by the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guards.
Before the elections, Khamenei warned that any change in the behavior of the regime would be tantamount to regime change. This is why the regime will never approach anything that has a semblance of change.
Western politicians and media touting Rouhani as a moderate are playing into the hands of Khamenei and the Guards and are helping prolong the life of a long-delegitimized regime. Anyone who claims to be moderate and wants to show his goodwill to the Iranian people and the international community should immediately take these steps:
- Unveil the facts and details of the summer 1988 massacre dossier involving the execution of over 30,000 political prisoners.
- Place the perpetrators of this crime before justice in an international court of law,
- Release all political prisoners.
- Pledge that that Iran will respect human rights, freedom of speech and freedom of political activities for opposition parties, ethnics, and religious minorities.
- Pledge that Iran will bring an end to its terrorism and meddling in regional countries.
Obviously, someone seeking such goals would never be qualified to run for president in Iran and would find themselves in the mullahs’ prisons and torture chambers.
The past four decades have proven that only regime change will bring about the change that the Iranian people desire and deserve. This is something that is supported by the NCRI and Mrs. Rajavi’s ten-point plan, which calls for a free and democratic Iran where equal opportunities are provided to all citizens regardless of gender, ethnicity, and religion. During the short campaigning season, Iranians manifested their support for Mrs. Rajavi’s plan by putting up posters that said “Maryam Rajavi is our president.”