Iran Elections – Creating Illusion of Democracy

Goesta Groenroos

Iranian people vote not to Islamic Republic

In the past, media coverage of elections in Iran has mostly been geared towards the process and the results giving the impression that the Islamic Republic was a kind of democracy. At last, the reality has paved its way to the head lines. The reality is that all elections in this country in fact are, and have been, cheap shams and masquerades put together by a few unelected clerics running the country in order to accomplish two objectives. First, to disarm growing demands by the Iranian people as well as the international community for establishing democratic rule in Iran. Second, to purge some unwanted elements in the internal power struggle. Therefore, no democratic minded person should use the term "parliamentary elections" for the attempts of the clerics to legitimize their never ending greed for power. In fact the real power has always remained firmly in the hands of the clerics, led by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Ayatollah Khomeini’s successor as the Supreme Leader.

Prior to the recent election, in an attempt to weed out the prominent candidates of the rival parties, the Guardian Council, the vetting body of the clerical regime and controlled by the Supreme Leader, disqualified hordes of the conservative candidates who were not in line with Khamenei’s hard-line policies in order to pave the way for the pro-Khamenei conservative candidates to be able to move into the parliament.

Most of the disqualified applicants were among prominent figures of this regime and by no means could be considered opposition or reformist. In particular, four former ministers, thirty former deputy ministers, and ten former governors were among them.

Mrs. Rajavi, the president elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, emphasized in a statement that Friday’s election show, aimed at purging the rival factions, was a sign of a regime in its demise. She added that Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, with their widespread vote rigging which they called "electoral engineering," were trying to cleanse the future Majlis from their adversaries. This was in hope of obtaining nuclear weapons, devouring Iraq and exporting terrorism and fundamentalism to the region without an internal obstacle, and to prepare for a stand off with the international community.

To reach its ultimate objectives, the regime has long declared war on the Iranian people and intensified it when Ahmadinejad took office in 2005 by increasing executions, stoning, cracking down on student organizations, and shutting down media including a number of its own state-run dailies. 
The number of executions for the first two months of 2008 compared to the same period in 2007 is 59 to 47. Moreover the number of execution of minors, stoning, flogging and political arrests are soaring.

The clerical regime has also declared war on the West by intensifying its drive to acquire nuclear weapons, its violent meddling in Iraq and export of its backward thinking ideology throughout the world.

The ayatollahs’ regime has neither the political nor ideological capacity to change the course of its rogue behavior at home or abroad. Incapable of satisfying the pre-requisites to emerge from isolation, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei views the appalling suppression at home coupled with escalation of terrorism in Iraq and beyond, as well as the acceleration of the nuclear weapons program, as his only option to survive.

By far, this will be the most serious threat that the West has encountered. As Ahmadinejad said about Iran’s nuclear program, the train (nuclear program) is moving forward with no brakes until it reaches its objectives. If you think Iraq was a mess then wait and see what happens when the clerics get the bomb. 

The political landscape of Iran is not as discouraging as it may seem. The Iranian people with 2500 years of history have resistance embedded in their culture.  The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) has been an organized resistance movement standing up to the clerics to restore democracy to Iran for the past three decades. Being a broad coalition of democratic Iranian organizations, groups and individuals including People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK), NCRI represents a broad spectrum of political tendencies in Iran, aiming to establish a democratic, secular coalition government in Iran. In the latest major gathering organized by the NCRI outside of Iran in Paris on June 30 2007, about 50,000 Iranians from all over Europe attended.

In the coming days, the world will be witnessing the already hard-line parliament being replaced by an entity that on the one hand is much more ruthless and brutal than its predecessor but, on the other hand, is on the verge of disintegration.

I believe that there is a solution to the Iran crisis at the lowest cost to the Iranian people and to the West. As Mrs. Rajavi excellently said it in her statement, any delay to adopt a firm policy vis-à-vis the regime would result in a major catastrophe. Such policy should comprise of comprehensive sanctions imposed on the mullahs’ regime as well as recognition of the Iranian people’s right to resist. The first step in adopting such a policy is to remove the PMOI, the back bone of the Iranian opposition, from the terrorist lists in the US and in the EU. Listing the PMOI as a terrorist organization was a key component of the appeasement policy toward religious fascism ruling Iran.

I hope the world is ready to deal with this regime by bringing together all its efforts to support the anti-thesis of this phenomenon, the NCRI, enabling it to fully mobilize all its potentials to initiate a popular regime change in Iran.
The writer is a researcher in philosophy at Stockholm University and an expert on Iran