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ANALYSIS: Welcome to Iran’s elected dictatorship

Tony Duheaume

Published: Updated:

The Islamic Republic of Iran has thrived on extreme violence, major human rights issues, including the mass slaughter of tens of thousands of inmates in its prison system, and other terrible abuse including the torture and murder of dissidents, which continues to this day.

Over the years, Iran has come to realize there are many ways of spreading revolution, in an effort to extend its radical form of Shiite doctrine across the globe. Whether through acts of terror, which is mainly carried out by its proxy forces, or through charities, mosques, and front companies, all of which have been infiltrated by Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps agents. These methods of hegemony have been tried and tested by the regime since the creation of the Republic.

With the austere figure of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at its head, the Iranian administration is choc-full of radical clerics, and SS-style Revolutionary Guards Corps ministers. Their quest has always been to obliterate Israel, and through the use of its terrorist proxies, spread major instability across the Middle East, and eventually the globe, to fulfil the dream of the regime’s ideological founder, Ruhollah Khomeini, whose quest was to conquer the entire world.

Through its own twisted belief system, Khamenei’s regime is aiming toward setting off a titanic clash with the West, plunging the world into an apocalyptic conflict, and with this in mind; there is plenty to fear should this dangerous regime get its hands on nuclear weapons.

It had turned out to be false optimism, when many hoped that a moderate reformist would come along to replace the bellicose Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and that Iran would change its errant ways. It wouldn’t matter if a mouse of a man became the president of Iran; nothing would alter as far as any far-reaching political or social change is concerned, as Iran’s hardline Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei would still be holding onto the reins of power.

Where Iranian elections are concerned, all of the candidates are carefully chosen by the all-powerful but unelected Guardian Council, a 12-member group of conservatives that wields immense power and influence among the hierarchy of the regime. Six of the council are experts on Islamic law, each having been selected by the Supreme Leader, while the other six are specialists in various aspects of judicial law, and are selected by the Supreme Judicial Council.

The Guardian Council

Not only does the Guardian Council supervise elections, it also approves laws passed by parliament, and through its duties as an overseer, frequently blocks any laws by reformers aimed at bringing more democracy to Iran. For the 2013 election, the Guardian Council had chosen eight presidential candidates out of a list of 686 hopefuls.

In Iran, no candidate can run without being endorsed by them and at the end of this procedure, if there are any candidates that Supreme Leader Khamenei feels won’t toe the line, they will be swiftly removed from the race.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei casts his vote during the presidential election in Tehran, Iran, May 19, 2017. (Reuters)
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei casts his vote during the presidential election in Tehran, Iran, May 19, 2017. (Reuters)

In the 2013 election, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei were disqualified by the Supreme Leader. In Rafsanjani’s case, he was known to have a connection to the reform movement and so his allegiance to the Supreme Leader was put in doubt.

Mashaei most certainly had a black mark against his name because when Ahmadinejad had chosen him as his Vice President, Khamenei removed him from office in 2009 due to remarks he had made about clerics not being necessary to mediate between ordinary people and God.

So with Iran’s leaders having been carefully vetted in such a way, the whole idea of a democratic vote in the country has turned into an incredible farce. But as far as shams are concerned, the rest of Iran’s voting system falls well inside this category.

Choreographed elections

Every election in Iran is carefully choreographed. Each candidate virtually reads his lines from a script, and with the odd so-called reformist candidate thrown into the mix for good measure. They take to the road, not only stating what the voters want to hear, but also stating what the Supreme Leader would like to hear them say, with just a little of the candidate’s own input added to make him seem legitimate.

But as far as Iran is concerned, real reformists lose their freedom fast. The only ones you will find that have operated within the country has either fled or have been locked away in notorious secure units like Evin Prison, where they are tortured and suffer humiliating abuse, and have often met their fate at the end of a rope.

In the Islamic Republic, the office of president is a meaningless position created to give the impression of a democratic form of government, which in reality would never be allowed to exist under Iran’s present Constitution. No serious decisions of state can be made without the say-so of the Supreme Leader, which places Khamenei in the role of a behind-the-scenes dictator, and his president nothing more than a puppet dancing to his tune.

Under the present Iranian Constitution it would be impossible for anybody to stand for the presidency in Iran, if they refused to toe the line of the Supreme Leader. In reality, there is only one political ideology in Iran and that was written in stone by its founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. It has been carefully preserved by his successor Ali Khamenei.

So under the present rules of choosing a president, you will only ever see a change as far as the form of the front man is concerned but never a real change in policy. The person who really rules the country is the Supreme Leader, and all other members of the political cabinet, including the president, are there solely to carry out his bidding.

The Supreme Leader guides the president along the road that the Islamic Republic is travelling as mapped out since the revolution. He also has to approve the president’s every move, and no political decision can be made without his approval.

So as long as Supreme Leader is in control of Iran, backed up by a government full of dutiful clerics and fat cat Revolutionary Guard commanders, you will see no serious political or social change in Iran.