Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, February 21, 2020—As the Iranian regime started its latest round of sham parliamentary elections, as was expected, the Iranian people widely boycotted this mockery of democracy. Since the early hours of the morning that the polls opened, initial reports coming from inside Iran show that there’s little or no participation in the voting.
The boycott of the elections is happening while the regime had engaged in widespread propaganda efforts to encourage the people to vote and select one of the many candidates that have been thoroughly vetted for their loyalty to the regime. Ali Khamenei, the regime’s supreme leader, had gone as far as calling the people to vote even “if you don’t like me.” Hassan Rouhani, the regime president, called on the people to vote for the candidates even if they’re not suitable. The regime sees high voter turnout in the elections as a matter of security and a vote of confidence that will enable it to continue its repression of protests and its warmongering in the Middle East region.
The regime efforts to create a show of widespread support are taking place against the backdrop of nationwide protests calling for regime change. In November, the regime underwent a major shock as demonstrators chanted “Death to Khamenei,” “Death to Rouhani,” and “Death to the rule of the mullahs” in more than 190 cities. Again in January, following regime officials’ admission that the Revolutionary Guards had downed a passenger airplane, people called on the supreme leader to resign and chanted anti-regime slogans.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), had called for the nationwide boycott of the elections and said, “Boycotting this sham is a patriotic duty and the Iranian nation’s bond with the martyrs, especially the 1,500 massacred during the November 2019 uprising, Mrs. Rajavi said.”
7:00 PM CET:
Due to the widespread boycott of the parliamentary elections, Iranian officials have extended the voting deadline from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. But reports coming in show that the people continue to refuse to go to the polls.
A report from Karaj shows that the polling station at Abbas Saleh school, traditionally one of the most crowded voting locations, is empty.
In Abadan, Khuzestan province, an MEK activist reported that the Ali bin Mouss al-Reza polling station was empty in the afterhours.
In Qom, videos from several polling stations show that the people are boycotting the elections despite the deadline extension.
6:00 PM CET:
Mrs. Rajavi described the nationwide boycott of the regime’s parliamentary elections as the regime’s “failure” to “intimidate people to go to the polls” and a national homage to “the 1,500 martyrs of the November 2019.”
The failure of the regime to intimidate people to go to the polls reflects the Iranian people’s homage to the 1,500 martyrs of the November 2019 uprising and portends of subsequent uprisings #IranProtests #FreeIran2020https://www.maryam-rajavi.com/en/item/maryam-rajavi-general-boycott-sham-election-iranian-people-religious-fascismoverthrow …
“This unprecedented boycott was a resounding ‘no’ to Khamenei, Rouhani and the entirety of the clerical regime and showed the public’s enthusiasm for Resistance units’ slogan of ‘my vote is overthrow,'” Mrs. Rajavi said.
Mrs. Rajavi also forecasted that the results of the election will expose the regime to more crises in the months to come. “The nationwide boycott of the election farce will aggravate the regime’s internal feuding and deadly impasse and expedite its overthrow by the Iranian people and Resistance. Shaking the bloody hands of this illegitimate regime must stop at the international level. The world community must recognize the right of the Iranian people and Resistance to change the clerical regime and establish democracy and people’s sovereignty,” Mrs. Rajavi said.
4:30 PM CET:
Iranians in several cities in the U.S. and Europe held rallies in support of the nationwide boycott of the Iranian regime’s sham parliamentary elections. Demonstrations were held in tandem in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, London, Frankfurt, Paris, Gothenburg, and The Hague.
February 21 – The Hague
Freedom-loving Iranians & PMOI/MEK supporters rally outside the mullahs’ embassy, protesting the regime’s human rights violations, killing of over 1,500 protesters during the Nov 2019 uprising & sham parliamentary elections.#Iran
MEK supporters checked 20 polling stations in Gachsaran city including Kheybar primary school, non-profit Sanat-e Naft, Sanat-e Naft clinic, Ershad station, Behbahaniha religious center, Fatemeh Zahra station, Mousavi 108, Asma 108, Azadegan school, Nemouneh Dolati school, a mosque close to Azadegan, etc.
“Many stations were empty and, in several others, very few individuals participated,” MEK sources said.
There are reports that following a conflict between regime factions, members of the pro-Khamenei faction shot the brother of so-called reformist MP Gholamreza Tajgardoon. This matter caused a heavy presence of security forces in this city to cease tensions.
According to reports from Dehdasht and Yasuj, cities in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer Ahmad province, the regime is using pens with temporary ink at its polling stations and use these pens to sign “voters’ identification documents.” Removing the ink enables the regime’s supporters to cast votes in several polling stations.
An eyewitness from Isfahan said, “The regime has planted cameraperson to film queues at bakeries and then report them as participation in the elections.”
In Tehran, the Komeil mosque polling station was near empty. There were three voters, three security agents, and two supervisors.
An MEK supporter from Isfahan reported, “At 3:30 pm, I went to the Mousavi mosque. Nothing was going on. Basij agents were closely watching everyone and we couldn’t take photos and films.”
A group of jewelers and gold and silver traders in Mashhad published a joint statement, in which they wrote, “As traders of the Mashhad Jewelry & Silver, time and time we have participated in the so-called elections under the Iranian regime. But after being disappointed every time, we have decided to once and for all take distance from the Islamic Republique’s sham elections. After months of stagnation of the market and bankruptcy of our colleagues, unjust taxes imposed on us, we have decided to boycott the Iranian regime’s sham elections and stay on the side of our compatriots and we invite all traders and businesses to join us.”
Another statement by a group of clothes sellers in Mashhad reads, “As a group of suffering clothing sellers and manufacturers of Mashhad, who hardly make ends meet, we will never betray the blood of 1,500 martyrs of Iran November nationwide uprising and will not participate in false and sham elections of the criminal and thief rulers of the Islamic republic… We ask all our dear compatriots to boycott the sham elections and respect the desire of 1,500 martyrs killed in November to establish a new and just rule of law.”
A group of pensioners from Isfahan wrote in their statement, “How can we participate in the so-called eleventh parliamentary elections and vote? How can we vote in favor of a group of thieves and looters? We all know elections had never a meaning and no benefit to our people and this time is no different. It is a shame that these criminals expect us to go to the false ballot box… As a group of pensioners, we reject the demand of these tyrants to vote. We ask the great nation of Iran to not participate in this election. Instead we need to raise the voice of 1,500 martyrs of November nationwide uprising and those killed in Ukrainian plane by the Iranian regime and bring all our efforts to overthrow the mullahs’ regime.”
2:30 PM CET:
A student from Najaf Abad, Qazvin province, reported that regime officials are offering to pay people to vote and are willing to pay 50,000 tomans for each vote.
In the Azdi Stadium polling station in Rasht, northern Iran, one of the officials said that only ten people attended to vote until 10:30 am. In another polling station in the Fatemieh Manzarieh district, only three people attended to vote until 11:00 am.
In Qaemshahr, another city in northern Iran, several polling stations that were visited by MEK activists were nearly empty.
One activist from Gonbad, Golestan province, said that the regime had tried to trick the people to come to the polling stations and vote by causing division among the people and taking advantage of tribal differences, but until 10 am, most polling stations were near empty.
In Tabriz, northwest Iran, many polling stations were empty until well past noon.
In Sisatan and Baluchistan, the people boycotted the sham elections and refused to go to the polling stations.
12:30 pm CET:
In the latest effort to increase the voter turnout and fabricate the election results in favor of the regime, Seifollah Aboutorabi, the spokesperson for the census bureau, told the regime’s ILNA news agency that the bureau will be working on the weekend (Thursday and Friday) to deliver identification papers to the people who want to vote in the election. “Person whose identification documents have been damaged, lost or expired can refer to the bureau’s office to receive their new papers,” Aboutorabi said.
“The offices will working today and will deliver document to persons who had requested new identification papers by Wednesday,” he added. Aboutorabi also stressed that the offices of the census bureau will be open until the end of the voting hours.
But the people have already cast their vote without the need to present their papers. In Kermanshah, the people have written “my vote is the overthrow of the regime” on lane divider cement blocks.
An MEK activist reporting from Tehran said, “There were only people at the Ramsheh school polling station in Saadat Abad Street. In 2017, the regime had brought many of its supporters to this station to vote for Rouhani. But today, the station is nearly empty.”
Another report from the polling station at the Moussa ben Jafar mosque located in Tehran’s Lashgar intersection indicated the station was near empty by noon.
In Karaj, the turnout was so poor that the regime had to merge two polling stations at the Nasserbakht school for girls to create the impression of large participation. However, only 20 voters were seen at this polling station, which is located in the main street of the city.
In Gohardasht district of Karaj, which is one of the crowded areas of the city, presence in the streets were sparse and very few people attended the polls.
A video from Eslamshahr, southwest Tehran, the polling station was near empty by noon. An MEK activist reporting from the Ebn-e Sina polling station in Eslamshahr said, “No one attended in this station.”
Footage from the entrance gate of the Friday market in Neka, northern Iran, showed that the police have shut down the market and prevent street merchants from doing business. An MEK activist said, “Security forces banned street sellers from trading and told them, ‘Your business caused the people not to participate on the polls.’”
An activist reporting from Shahr-e Kord, Charmahal and Bakhtiary, said that some polling stations remained empty until noon.
11:30 AM CET:
Anoushirvan Mohseni Bandpey, the governor of Tehran province, claimed that until 12:00 pm local time, more than 700,000 people have voted in the province. This is the latest of official remarks that seem to be setting the stage for a widespread rigging of the voter turnout.
According to a poll by the regime’s own ISPA, no more than 27 percent of Tehran’s 9.1 million qualified voters have said they will be casting their vote in the elections.
Meanwhile, ISNA reported that the elections staff has declared that people whose identification papers don’t have pictures can participate in the elections and vote.
But more reports from Iran’s cities show that the real turnout is much less than the trumped up claims of regime officials.
An MEK activist reporting from Tehran’s Emam Hossein Square, one of the most crowded locations in the city, said that until 9 am, very few people had come to the polling stations to vote. Another report from south Tehran showed polling stations were near-empty until 11 am.
A MEK activist from Sanadaj reported that the polling stations were empty for several hours. Only the staff and supervisors were there.
“The regime has invented ‘mobile polls’ and carries them to people’s homes to cast their votes. However, none of the residents has opened the doors of their houses to them,” the activist said. “The people of Sanandaj have always boycotted elections, but today the streets are dramatically empty.”
A group of political prisoners from Sanadaj Central Prison called on the people to boycott the elections. The prisoners declared in an open letter: “We will not vote and we will not go to the polls.” The prisoners stressed that every vote is a “disrespect to the blood of the martyrs of the struggle for freedom.”
On Sunday, February 16, the head of the Urmia prison had told the prisoner that voting was mandatory for the prisoners. He also threatened the prisoners that if they do not vote, they will be deprived of breaks and family visits.
An MEK activist reporting from Izeh, Khuzestan province, showed an empty polling station at 12:00 pm local time.
An MEK activist from Mashhad said that in one of the great mosques in the Fatemieh Boulevard, there was a heavy presence of bassij forces, but very few people had come to vote.
In Karaj, the regime had gathered municipality workers and was trying to bribe them to vote, a citizen reporter said.
10:30 AM CET:
The official ISNA news agency quoted Mahmoud Vaezi, Rouhani’s chief of staff as saying that there has been a large voter turnout and the government is monitoring the situation through online portals. “As the leadership had wished, it seems that the people are coming to the polling stations in large numbers.”
Vaezi also claimed that in some areas, the turnout was even larger than previous elections.
But reports obtained by MEK activists and citizen reporters show that past noon, in many areas, the polling stations are still empty but for a few voters.A local reporting from Malayer, Hamedan province, said, “This is downtown Malayer. No one is here. It’s 10:00 am. The people have gone to different locations to not vote.”
Another video shows an empty polling station at the Bou Ali tomb in Hamedan.
In Isfahan, at the Ghannadian school located in Zeynabieh street, which is one of the busiest places in the city, only three individuals are in the schoolyard while the polling station is empty. The first martyr of the November protests in Isfahan was killed in front of this school.
A video from Ardebil shows an empty polling station. “[The regime] is alone,” a local said. “Look at the glorious presence of the people,” he added mockingly while showing the empty streets surrounding the polling stations.
A 10:30 am report from Lorestan indicates a low voter turnout in the province. In Khorramabad, there are about 10-12 people at the polling station. An MEK activist recording the scene said, “The sole solution for Iran is to overthrow the regime.”
9:30 AM CET:
As he went to vote, Khamenei once again pleaded with the people to vote for his representatives. “My recommendation is that the people vote… and that they do so as soon as possible. Don’t postpone it until late in the night,” the regime’s supreme leader said, as reported by the state-run Bahar News website.
In another bid to set the stage for rigging the results of the elections, Jamal Orf, the head of the elections staff, declared, “With coordination, due to health issues, marking fingerprints is optional.”
Orf claimed that the decision was made to prevent the spread of dangerous viruses, as reported by the state-run IRNA. Without fingerprints, the regime will have a free hand to “engineer” the election results as it wills.
Meanwhile, further reports indicate the people continue to boycott the elections and the polling stations. At 10:40 AM, local time, the polling station at Sonqor, Kermanshah province, was empty. No voters had shown up.
A similar situation was reported from Javanrud, also in Kermanshah, where the people went about their business and ignored the polling stations altogether.
A citizen reporter from Banafsheh district, Karaj, reported that at 11:30 am, the queue at the local bakery was longer than the voting queue at the polling station.
In the Fardis district, Karaj, people refused to go to the polling station. An MEK activist reporting from Karaj reported that the Shahid Ojani school, which has been turned to a polling station for the elections, was empty.
8:30 AM CET:
The people’s utter hatred once again manifested itself on Friday’s parliamentary elections.
A report from Dalahou, Kermanshah, shows the polls to be empty. “Only the officials are present at the door,” says a local, who recorded the video at 9:00 am.
There’s a similar situation In Naein, Isfahan, where the street leading to the poll is empty.
Isfahan’s Aram school, which has been turned into a voting station, was also empty in the early morning hours. Locals say there’s a heavy security presence.
One reporter from Mashhad says, “Down with the rule of the mullahs. No to voting in the elections. They have lined up the taxis to force the drivers to vote. These same drivers have been protesting their poor living and work conditions every day.”
One local from Rasht reporting from the Shahid Beheshti high school, Azadegan Street, says, “The place is filled with plainclothes agents so that people can’t record videos. What’s remarkable is that there are very few voters compared to the previous elections.”
In Noshahr, Mazandaran province, the polls are near empty. “The poll at Amir Kabir high school was nearly empty at 8:45 am. No one had come to vote. But the regime has filled the area with security forces for fear of protests,” one local reported.
A video obtained from Lordegan, Charmahal and Bakhtiary province, shows a long procession of armored vehicles entering the city in the early hours of the morning. Tensions have been simmering in the county after regime authorities caused an HIV crisis in October, inflicting hundreds of residents with the deadly virus.