Iran’s regime hides behind Covid outbreak to justify elections boycott

Analysis by PMOI/MEK

Iran, April 23, 2021—The Iranian regime is facing a huge crisis as more and more segments of the Iranian society call for the boycott the upcoming presidential elections. Many within the regime have projected a very low voter turnout in the elections, scheduled for June.

On April 18, former member of the Majlis (Parliament) Mahmoud Sadeghi said, “The atmosphere of the elections is very cold in the country and according to the statistics, no more than 25 percent will participate and this is a very worrying issue.”

The regime is also struggling with the nomination of possible candidates. With less than a month left from official registration deadline, regime officials are still hesitating to officially announce their candidacy and there’s still a behind-the-scenes tug of war between different regime factions to determine who will run for the sham elections.

Meanwhile, many regime officials, including supreme leader Ali Khamenei, have announced that this will be the regime’s most important election in the last 42 years.

Iran’s 2021 presidential elections have become the regime’s most difficult task with no serious candidates in sight.

The regime knows full well and is worried about the public outrage and a new social movement against the upcoming elections. In recent months, many segments of the Iranian society have declared their lack of interest in voting for any presidential candidate that is approved by the regime’s vetting apparatus. In their weekly protests, pensioners and retirees have been constantly chanting, “We have seen no justice and we will not vote,” reflecting their outrage at the regime officials and the reality that no matter who fills the posts in the regime senior political lineup, the people’s grievances will only become worse as the past years have shown. More recently, creditors and investors of Iran’s stock market have been chanting similar slogans in their protests, attesting to the corruption that plagues the regime in its entirety. At the same time, the Resistance Units, a network of supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), have been conducting a nationwide campaign for the boycott of the regime’s election. These efforts have received widespread support by the general public, who are frustrated with the corruption and tyranny that have characterized Iran’s rulers in the past four decades.

In light of these realities, the regime is preparing in advance to blame the potential low voter turnout on the coronavirus outbreak.

In this regard, on April 17, the state-run daily Sharq ran a piece titled, “Analysis by principalists on the reasons of low voter turnout in the 2021 elections,” in which it admitted that the regime is preparing the grounds to justify the boycott of the elections. Sharq wrote, “The principalists project that voter turnout in the upcoming elections will be low due to the coronavirus pandemic and dissatisfaction with the current government.”

Sharq quoted Hamid Reza Taraghi, a member of the Motalefeh Party, as saying, “There are two barriers to people’s participation in the election. The first and more fundamental problem is the people’s dissatisfaction about their livelihood and economic conditions that are rooted in government’s policies and its executive system and the second reason is the Covid-19 crisis.”

While Taraghi and other officials are using the low voter turnout as an excuse to score political points against their rivals, what they’re glossing over is that the people are not only dissatisfied with the current government but the regime in its entirety.

Iranian regime officials try to use the pandemic as a tactic in the upcoming elections. This is while the regime has done nothing so far to control the fourth coronavirus peak.

In this regard, one of the regime’s so-called reformist experts said, “The government didn’t pay any attention to warnings of medical experts and issued no bans of commute and travel during the Nowruz holidays. I think it intentional to put the country in red conditions until the elections. When people put these two major obstacles together, we cannot expect a high voter turnout in the elections.”

As we close in on the regime’s sham presidential elections, the state-run media report a “cold election atmosphere” in the country every day. This shows the Iranian people’s determination in their struggle against the corrupt ruling mullahs that have plundered Iran in the last 42 years. The boycott of the elections has turned into a serious social movement and this is worrying for a regime that is more and more stuck in a domestic and international impasse.

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