While asking voters to participate at two upcoming elections to nominate the next Iranian parliament and the country’s Assembly of Experts, Iran’s supreme leader did not shy away from saying what outcomes he expects.
Speaking last month, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei thought it was important to clarify an earlier statement in which he said even Iranians who disagree with the Islamic Republic’s political system should vote in the elections. “This remark does not mean that the people should want to vote for those who do not accept the system into parliament,” he said.
His remarks have already disappointed many; not just the people, but also moderate-reformist members of the system who perceive elections as an opportunity for change.
Iranians are now left without a prominent reformist figure to vote for among the qualified candidates. Any hope of mobilizing voters who are seeking change is not high.Camelia Entekhabi-Fard
Khamenei appears to no longer want to drag a huge number of voters to the polling stations as a demonstration of public support for him. Instead, he is changing his tune and implying that he no longer needs the crowds as a testimony.
Both elections to nominate Iran’s parliament and its Assembly of Experts (a clerical body that monitors the supreme leader’s performance and chooses his successor), are scheduled on the same day, February 26. The Guardian Council, which is responsible for vetting parliamentary candidates, has disqualified a large number of moderates, semi-reformists and those close to the government of moderate President Hassan Rowhani. The mass disqualifications, despite this week’s reversal of a ban on 1,500 candidates, have led to the public losing interest in the vote.