Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, June 16, 2021—With two days left before the Iranian regime’s sham presidential election, the regime is setting the stage to make it easier for Ebrahim Raisi, the preferred candidate of supreme leader Ali Khamenei, to become the regime’s next president.
On Wednesday, candidate Alireza Zakani declared his withdrawal from the presidential race in favor of Raisi. In an interview with the regime’s state-run television network, Zakani said, “Given the welcome that Ayatollah Raisi has received, I see him as more qualified than I am. I will vote for him and hope that with him, there will be fundamental reforms in the country.”
It is worth noting that Raisi is one of the key officials involved in the 1988 massacre of more than 30,000 political prisoners. He is much hated among the people and is notoriously renowned as the “henchman of 1988.” Raisi “reforms” during his recent stint as the head of judiciary has been an increase in executions, arrest and torture of activists and dissidents. During Raisi’s tenure, the regime arrested thousands of protesters and sent them to prisons, where they were subjected to brutal torture. Raisi’s judiciary executed many political prisoners, including Navid Afkari and Mohsen Salehi. Many others, such as Behnam Mahjoubi, have died under torture in prison.
In 2019, the U.S. Treasury under President Donald Trump sanctioned Raisi “for his administrative oversight over the executions of individuals who were juveniles at the time of their crime and the torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of prisoners in Iran.”
The Treasury also noted Raisi’s time in the Tehran’s prosecutor’s office, describing him as being “involved” in the security force crackdown on Iran’s 2009 protests following the disputed presidential elections. The Treasury also highlighted Raisi’s in the 1988 massacre.
In recent weeks, the people of Iran have “welcomed” Raisi’s candidacy by ripping and burning his posters across Iran.
It is worth noting that Zakani is closely tied to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), the military body that only reports to Khamenei and has quasi-control over Iran’s economy, military, security, and foreign terrorism activities.
Zakani’s withdrawal after 210 members of the Majlis (parliament) called on Zakani, Amirhossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi, Mohsen Rezaii, and Saeed Jalili to bail out in favor of Raisi. It is worth noting that other candidates had these five as being a “cover candidates” for Raisi during the televised debates held in the past weeks.
Shortly before Zakani, Mohsen Mehralizad, another candidate in the sham presidential race, declared his withdrawal from the race. Mehralizad declared his withdrawal in a letter to the interior ministry.
State media warns about mass boycott of elections
After Jamal Orf, the head of the election’s staff, declared on Tuesday that voter turnout would be around 37-47 percent, the regime’s state-run media reacted by warning against acknowledging a low voter turnout.
In this regard, Tasnim New Agency, which is run by the IRGC, wrote on Wednesday, “Jamal Orf, the chief of staff of national elections declared yesterday in a press briefing that based on polls, 37-47 percent of the people will participate in the June 18 election. These remarks by the chief of staff of the elections are irresponsible and shocking because foreign media and opposition groups are trying to dissuade the voter turnout.”
The warning comes while there’s widespread campaign inside Iran in which many people are declaring their utter contempt for the regime and their intention to boycott the elections. Even a poll from the state-run Iranian Student Polling Agency puts turnout on track to be the lowest since the 1979 Revolution.
Meanwhile, the Arman newspaper warned about candidates not living up to their promises and wrote on Wednesday, “When some people, especially presidential candidates, make promises and don’t keep them, it will be like an earthquake that affects the entire society. The greater the magnitude, the more destructive it will be.”