MEK Iran: No Choice Worth Speaking About for Voters in the Mullahs Presidential Election
The Iranian Presidential elections are approaching, but as far as most Iranians are concerned, there is no choice worth speaking about. These presidential elections have come and gone before, but in the end, the same regime is in power with exactly the same policies and incompetent, corrupt officials.
Reformists, hardliners, the game is over
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran), reported that in the past, there has been a pretense that there was a choice between “hardliners” and “reformists” but “moderates and principalists are all cuts of the same cloth,” say the people. In rallies and protests all over Iran, a common chant is “Reformists, hardliners, the game is over.”
This is from Tehran university today: Students chanting: "Game of reformists and hardliners is over. This is the whole story," meaning people want a regime change. #Iranprotests #Iran pic.twitter.com/D3QtsZ5v72
— Shahin Gobadi (@gobadi) December 30, 2017
The Mostaghel daily explained how differences between factions were just a mirage in a piece on February 16th: “There are some groups and miniature parties that are made up of just two or three members. And there are only one or two parties with several hundred members that cannot hold a gathering with 50,000 people. They just become active during election campaigns and get help from influencers and celebrities to take a share in political power.
There are 15 appointees on behalf of a nine-member committee—its members were also appointed—and all of them are affiliated with a political tribe and have a friendship circle in Tehran. They are supposed to gather once again to shape something called the  Presidential election.”
Fake factions and parties
While these fake factions and parties are only tiny groups of adherents, numbers of protesters representing the real opposition in Iran regularly reach the thousands.
The November 2019 protests which were brutally attacked by regime forces, saw more than 200,000 people out on the streets. Yet these people, the ordinary citizens of Iran are disenfranchised when it comes to voting for a voice in the Majlis.
As the state-run daily Mostaghel added in its February 16th piece: “regional lords too ridiculous, poor, weak, fragile, and more undemocratic than anywhere, have founded an institution under the banner of Consensus-Building Institution of Reformists’ Campaign.
They use the tactic of terrifying citizens from the ‘worst’
They use the tactic of terrifying citizens from the ‘worst’ to prod them to vote for their desirable ‘bad.’ They intend to appoint someone falsely and impose him to society under the pretense of the ‘country’s savior.”
Iranians have seen the pretense of being different too often before. When the 2017 Presidential elections took place, the so-called reformists, Hassan Rouhani and his deputy, Eshaq Jahangiri harshly criticized the rival hardliners, Ebrahim Raisi and Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf.
Past crimes and human rights violations by Raisi and Qalibaf were slammed by Rouhani and Jahangiri as if to show to the voters that they would somehow be different.
Witness the comments made by the aspiring duo then:
- “On the election day, our people will announce that they no longer want those who only knew prison and execution in the past 38 years” (Rouhani).
- “Mr. Ghalibaf, you have an expertise in beating protesters! Whenever we had gathered in the Supreme National Security Council, you were saying that let me beat these protesters” (Rouhani again).
- “Mr. Ghalibaf, have you ever known what is happening in Ghavamian credit bank? Have you ever been aware of the status of credit institutions? All these institutions were established when you were Tehran Mayor” (Jahangiri).
Compare these comments with what exactly happened
When these two (Rouhani and Jahangiri) became President and Vice President of the Iranian regime.
- The rial devalued by an extraordinary amount;
- The economy imploded;
- The regime used brutal force whenever the people showed their anger or displeasure with the government’s performance;
- Millions of Iranians lost all they had in the capital;
- Many became homeless and resorted to living in makeshift slums on the outskirts of the cities;
- The pandemic was handled atrociously with hundreds of thousands of deaths, many of which could have been prevented with a more proactive response;
- Arrests, torture, and executions of political activists and protesters continued unabated.
The upcoming presidential election is likely to be boycotted
It is no wonder that the upcoming presidential election is likely to be boycotted en masse as happened last year during the elections for the Majlis by a disinterested and disillusioned electorate despite exhortations by Iran’s leaders to go out and vote.
Khamenei gave a speech on February 17th calling on Iranians to vote. “The more public participation in the elections, the more effects and benefits it will have for the state.
Whenever we approach elections, the enemy starts [propaganda], saying, ‘there is no freedom, and the elections are engineered, to disperse the people from taking place in the elections,” he said. “Of course, it would be a great victory if the people attended polls and precisely elect some efficient, faithful, and motivated individual. People’s participation and the election of a favorable individual are the remedies for the state’s ongoing pains,” he added.
The regime is indeed in an impasse
Reformists prefer to bow down to international pressure and negotiate with the U.S. over sanctions. They fear a return to mass protests and revolt as happened in November 2019.
Hardliners like Khamenei prefer to maintain resistance to pressure from outside, even if it causes hardship for Iran and its people.
Khamanei is afraid that relenting to external pressure will weaken his position and that of the hardliners in the regime. He prefers to deal with any protests within Iran the way the regime has done before – by massive retaliation, arrests, slaughter, and imprisonment.