In an embarrassing attempt to preserve the illusion of democratic legitimacy, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is rushing to stage choreographed presidential elections in the wake of Ebrahim Raisi’s recent demise.

According to reports from state-media Tasnim News, Khamenei met on Wednesday with senior regime officials including acting president Mohammad Mokhber, parliament speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, and judiciary chief Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei to map out the latest sham election process scheduled in 50 days.

Mokhber, for his part, stressed the need for “equal treatment of all candidates,” calling for efforts to accelerate the registering of potential candidates who meet the “eligibility criteria” determined by the regime.

Of course, under the current oppressive system of supreme clerical rule, the mere notion of “free and fair” elections is an absurd fiction.

All potential candidates are subject to stringent vetting by Khamenei’s theocratic councils, which systematically disqualify any figure representing opposition views, minority rights, or challenges to the ruling Islamic clergy. Those who make it onto the ballot invariably represent a curated pool of regime minions and hardline loyalists to the Supreme Leader.

Furthermore, the true point of power remains with the unelected institutions of repression – the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the intelligence services charged with crushing dissent, which of course belong under the Supreme Leader’s absolute authority as Head of State, superseding any presidential figurehead.

Iran’s 2021 presidential election was a sham from the start, with the regime’s blatant rigging resulting in the lowest voter turnout in the Islamic Republic’s history. According to Human Rights Watch, only 49% of eligible voters cast ballots, and among those who did vote, a staggering 13% submitted blank or invalid ballots in a clear protest against the absence of any real choice.

Comments (0)