Iran elections 2021: The regime’s battle for survival

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

May 27, 2021—Iran’s elections are “a travesty, a selection process, by a supreme leader who is himself unelected,” Mohammad Mohaddessin, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said in an online conference on Wednesday, May 26.

The conference was held a day after the Iranian regime officially declared the names of the qualified candidates for its upcoming sham presidential elections. The candidates, approved by the Guardian Council, the body that oversees all elections and legislative activities, include a notorious executioner, a former IRGC commander, and five other officials who have a long history of committing crimes against the Iranian people.

But more important are the official who have been disqualified, which include Eshaq Jahangiri, the current First Vice President, and Ali Larijani, a former Majlis speaker and a former close confidant of regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei.

“You are all wondering what happened yesterday. The Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi was the only serious candidate left among 592 who registered. He is dubbed by the Iranian people as the Henchman of the 1988 massacre, in which 30,000 political prisoners were killed,” Mohaddessin said.

Raisi was among a trio of judges who summoned thousands of prisoners and sentenced them to death in the summer of 1988. The mass executions were carried out after then-supreme leader Ruhollah Khomeini called for a purge of prisons of all members of the “nefagh” (hypocrites), the term the regime uses for the members and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

“In the past 40 years, elections in Iran have never been about an expression of popular choice in a democratic, fair and transparent process,” Mohaddessin said. “They are a travesty, a selection process, by a supreme leader who is himself unelected. Khamenei controls an unelected vetting body charged with filtering candidates.”

The election is a reflection of the internal balance of power between different regime factions, Mohaddessin said, and they do not represent the choice of the Iranian people.

“But even by the regime’s own standards, the election this year needs to be distinguished from those in the years past,” Mohaddessin said.

Mohaddessin highlighted key events and changes that have taken place since the previous election, including three major nationwide uprisings in 2018, 2019, and 2020. The November 2019 uprising, in particular, was a turning point and pushed the regime on the brink of collapse. The regime only managed to cling on to power and control through open and brutal repression, gunning down more than 1,500 protesters in the streets and arresting thousands of others.

But despite intense repression, protests take place across different sectors every day, and the regime is faced with a tense society that might explode into a nationwide uprising any day.

Meanwhile, Iran’s economy is in a state of utter bankruptcy, mainly due to the regime’s destructive policies and its squandering of Iran’s assets on terrorism and nuclear weapons projects. The regime’s continued defiance of international norms and values have isolated it in the region and across the globe.

The escalating crises have triggered internal feuds among ruling factions.

And Iran has “a very potent organized opposition has become more active inside the country,” Mohaddessin said in his remarks.

“To deal with all of these, Khamenei felt he had no choice but to consolidate power,” Mohaddessin said. This explains the elimination of Larijani, a Parliament Speaker for 12 years, Secretary for the Supreme National Security Council, Head of the state-run radio and TV, Minister of Culture, and an IRGC General.

“Of course, we, in the Iranian Resistance, saw this coming. Khamenei has been engineering this outcome for months,” Mohaddessin said.

Khamenei had been preparing the stage for months to put Raisi in the best position to seize the mantle of presidency.

“He has dispensed with the ‘Moderate-Hardliner’ theatrics, to secure the presidency for his preferred candidate. In short, this time around, the election is a one-man show,” Mohaddessin said.

To prevent the collapse or implosion of his regime, Khamenei is in desperate need to unify his ranks and purge any element of rivalry that can weaken his hold on power. But will this move have the effect Khamenei desires?

“Ironically, this inevitable contraction will backfire because it will shrink the regime’s power base and make it more fragile and incapable to deal with the many crises engulfing it,” Mohaddessin said. “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.”

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