‘Pure Theater’: Iran Prepares for Sham Elections

An Iranian man registers to vote at a mobile polling station in the capital Tehran on February 21, 2020. - Electoral authorities in Iran extended voting for two hours in the Islamic republic's parliamentary election on Friday, state television reported. (Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP) (Photo by ATTA KENARE/AFP …
ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images

Iranian despot Ayatollah Ali Khamenei implored the nation to participate in Friday’s parliamentary elections, calling them “response to the chicanery and deception” of the United States.

Iranians are only allowed to vote for candidates that Khamenei’s oligarchy personally approves. A vast majority of them have ties to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (IRGC) revealed in a press conference Thursday.

The elections come at a turbulent time for Iran, whose Islamic regime is still reeling from the loss of its top terrorist mastermind, Major General Qasem Soleimani of the IRGC Quds Force, in January. President Donald Trump ordered an airstrike against Soleimani that month after intelligence suggested that he was planning an imminent attack on U.S. troops, according to American officials. Iran’s response to the targeted elimination of a terrorist with hundreds of American deaths to his name was to shoot over a dozen ballistic missiles over the border into Iraq; in the process, an Iranian soldier also shot a Ukrainian passenger jet out of the sky. Iranians took the streets to protest the regime, not Soleimani’s killing, delivering a humiliating blow to the regime in the public.

Now, Iran is on the cusp of a potentially devastating coronavirus outbreak. Iran revealed this week that the novel coronavirus originating in Wuhan, China, had reached the nation and killed two people. While Iran claims only 13 confirmed cases, a woman arriving in Canada this week from Iran tested positive for the virus with no history of traveling to China or being exposed to anyone who had. The revelation suggests the virus is spreading among the Iranian public.

Mass assemblies to participate in Friday’s sham election could help the virus to spread.

Khamenei did not give any indication that he was concerned about public health in his remarks on Tuesday urging Iranians to come to the parliamentary election as a way of spiting American and Israeli officials.

“Elections neutralize many of the evil intentions that the Americans and the Zionists (Israelis) have in mind against Iran,” he said, according to state outlet PressTV. “These elections are the response to the chicanery and deception of Iran’s enemies.”

“The enemies should see for themselves that, in spite of their persistence in attempting to drive a wedge between the people and the establishment, people receive the elections well, which is reason for pride for the Islamic establishment,” he asserted.

Khamenei also described American officials deriding the vote as “first-class idiots” seeking to “make people despair of the ballot box.”

The head of the IRGC, Major General Hossein Salami, made similar remarks on Friday, calling every vote in the sham elections “a slap in the face of the enemy.”

The United States has condemned Tehran for hosting elections in which the people cannot freely run for government positions and voters may only choose candidates palatable to the regime.

“The elections of February 21 are pure theater that exists to deceive the world about tyranny in Iran,” America’s Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said in a video explaining the elections for the State Department.

To illustrate how the elections are not free or fair, the NCRI, an opposition group active both within Iran and in the exterior, offered journalists a list of top candidates to fill parliamentary seats in Friday’s election. Among the candidate are five IRGC brigadier generals and countless members of the terrorist organization, civilian affiliates, and relatives of senior IRGC members. No Iranian who opposes the regime is allowed to run for a legislative seat.

The NCRI noted in its press conference Thursday that the nation’s plummeting economic state and the increased frequency of elections “have made it an easy decision for the population to boycott the elections, and has left the regime with tough impossible choices to survive.”

The NCRI posited that the reason to hold elections at all was not just for show, but to purge the parliament of anyone within the establishment considered insufficiently loyal to Khamenei.

Iran’s economic state has declined precipitously in the past five years. The regime received a windfall of billions of dollars during the Obama administration as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the Iranian nuclear deal. Khamenei chose to invest it in Hezbollah, Soleimani’s Quds Force, and other terrorist endeavors – something Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry did not deny. Much of that money had been spent by the time Trump announced he would walk out of the JCPOA and reestablish longstanding sanctions on Iranian oil. The most recent sanctions against the Iranian regime came down on Thursday. These sanctions specifically targeted “members of Iran’s Guardian Council and its Elections Supervision Committee” for participating in a false election.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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