Iran Election Candidates Announced
The Iranian interior ministry announced Tuesday, 25 May 2021, the presidential candidates that were approved to run for next month’s elections by the Guardian Council.
As predicted, the 12-member council which is appointed directly and indirectly by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei purged over 130 candidates so that the only seven left are the most loyal officials.
Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said in a statement: “Khamenei took steps to consolidate the regime and maximize repression by purging presidential candidates who had participated in all of the regime’s crimes over the past 40 years. This is a clear sign of the regime’s crisis of overthrow and the final phase of the religious, terrorist dictatorship.”
She then supported the nationwide election boycott, which was called for by the Iranian people and Resistance. This is something that Iranian officials and state-run media are openly fearing because the predicted low voter turnout will strip the regime of any legitimacy it currently enjoys and increase the chance of regime overthrow.
On April 25, the Hamdeli newspaper said that “all candidates face a serious obstacle from non-participation in the election”, which further destroys the false notion that there is no difference between the hardliners and the reformists as political parties. It further talked about the 2019 uprising, which shook the regime to its very core and was only suppressed by a crackdown that saw 1,500 protesters killed in the street by the regime’s forces.
That same day, the Jahan-e Sanat outlet advised that a large number of Iranians will boycott the elections because of the regime’s “mismanagement of the coronavirus crisis, economic woes, pressure on people’s livelihood, and officials’ negligence regarding the [January 2018 and November 2019 protests]”.
This would not be the first major boycott of an election in Iran. The February 2020 parliamentary elections were mostly boycotted, despite the regime’s attempt to hide the coronavirus pandemic to encourage a bigger turnout. Of course, the regime has in the past (and will again) inflate the number of voters in order to portray legitimacy to the international community. The rest of the world should not be fooled.
The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) encouraged both boycotts, saying that it would show that the Iranian people are voting for regime change, as was the call in the nationwide uprisings. In April alone, they held demonstrations or put up public messages in at least 250 places across Iran to support the boycott.
The calls to support the boycott have been echoed by different sectors in their protests over the past few months.