Iran’s election this week is merely a façade

Back in 1988, following an extensive international campaign by the Iranian opposition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini reluctantly accepted a ceasefire in the eight-year-long war against Iraq. He likened the decision to “drinking poison,” forced upon him by the opposition’s imminent threat to leverage the losing war to topple his regime.

Previously, Khomeini had consistently proclaimed that the path to Jerusalem went through the central Iraq city of Karbala (considered a holy site for Shia Muslims, which tens of millions of Shia Muslims visit twice a year), and that fighting must continue until the last house stands in Tehran. Thus, he found himself at a critical historical juncture, compelled to abandon a war that had cost $2 trillion and claimed over a million lives, without any tangible gains.

Faced with more than 30,000 political prisoners, 90% of whom were members of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, or MEK, capable of forming a potent force that could disrupt society and ensure the regime’s downfall, Khomeini found himself in a precarious situation. His response was to ruthlessly issue a fatwa to massacre all political prisoners, thus securing the survival of his regime.

Today, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei faces a similar existential dilemma with the presidential election this Friday, June 28. He is aware that resolving the issue of his succession after his death is an impossibility, given the powder keg of discontent ready to explode at any moment – a reality confirmed by the regime’s statistics that only 5% of eligible voters participated in recent parliamentary elections. Moreover, thousands of scattered resistance units across Iran, under MEK command, have executed tens of thousands of anti-suppression operations in just one month, ready to turn any upheaval into a regime-ending crisis. Thus, Khamenei is compelled to address the succession issue during his lifetime.

The death last month of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi represents an irrevocable loss to the regime.

Khamenei has described Raisi’s death as a “severe tragedy for the country,” stating, “We have had servant-like figures before, but not to this extent.” Raisi was completely obedient to Ayatollah Khomeini during the 1988 massacre and remained utterly loyal to Khamenei afterward. He was the only president who never clashed with Khamenei and, unlike current presidential candidate Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf, was not pursuing “new governance.” Khamenei could have promoted his son Mojtaba’s succession through Raisi, potentially positioning him, whether singly or at the head of a temporary Leadership Council, as Supreme Leader. In Raisi’s absence, however, forging any agreement among the regime’s diverse factions over this existential issue is unfeasible.

Clans at war

Emerging from medieval dogmas and religious fascism, unlike 21st-century political parties, lacks internally coherent factions. Opposing any democratic institution, the Iranian theocracy comprises various clans, each with its entities within the intelligence and Revolutionary Guards.

Amid systemic corruption and massive looting, these clans perpetually battle for greater loot and influence, necessitating some consensus on Khamenei’s successor. Internally dubbed “election engineering,” this process aims to forge or impose such an agreement. The current elections are merely superficial. Naturally, Khamenei seeks a president who can solidify his preferred successor – or else, in a “war of wolves,” his regime will self-destruct.

Electoral debates

The inaugural electoral debate concentrated on the nation’s economy. All candidates vowed to continue Raisi’s policies, offering no viable plans for an economy devastated by pervasive poverty affecting two-thirds of the population. The independent government newspaper Mostaghel Online remarked, “So far, the debate has successfully deterred a significant portion of the undecided voters from participating.”

The legitimacy crisis inherent in this regime matured during the 2022 uprising. According to the regime’s data, participation in the 2024 legislative elections, despite extensive coercive measures, did not exceed 5%. This lack of legitimacy and absence of a popular base are evident in the remarkable growth of resistance units, which executed about 20,000 anti-repression activities within a month.

Outlook: Further contraction regardless of president

Facing a stark defeat in rallying people for parliamentary elections and an increasing number of resistance units, Khamenei sees further contraction as the sole way out, even at the risk of diminishing the regime’s base to combat uprisings, a strategy initiated under President Ebrahim Raisi’s tenure.

Meanwhile, Ali Khamenei continues to advance his nuclear ambitions, striving to achieve a weapon deemed crucial for the regime’s survival. He remains committed to warfare, ensuring that regional conflicts like those involving Hamas and Israel do not escalate to a level that could threaten his rule. He is determined to prevent peace and ceasefire in the region. Domestically, he will persist in repression, particularly against women, and will not hesitate to conduct executions.

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Content created by the WND News Center is available for re-publication without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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