As the Iran election looms closer and the economy remains the topic on the minds of the Iranian people, fear of social unrest and a potential uprising are clearly on the mind of the leaders of the regime. Security has increased, particularly on those considered supporters of the PMOI/MEK and those who are labeled as “enemies” or the opposition.
It is important to remember that this election is not truly a free election that allows the people to choose a president from among various political ideologies. All the current candidates are part of the ruling class of the regime, and they espouse the ideals of the regime Velayat e Faqih. Although there are factions, the ultimate goal is to maintain the strength of the regime by keeping Khamenei’s power base in tact. Various officials have been interviewed in recent weeks, and it is clear that security and oppression are top on the agenda of the regime.
The Deputy of Interior Ministry, due to the rising fear of uprising and social unrest on the day of elections, said, “More than 260 thousand people” will be securing the presidential elections and “reinforcements” will be provided through Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. On the evening of May 11th, Hossein Zolfaqari, the deputy of security-police in the Interior Ministry, said: “Military, intelligence, law enforcement, judicial and broadcasting services” are present among the election’s staff.
According to this regime official, the “security initiatives and law enforcement is especially prepared by the police”, while other “initiatives at the security headquarters will take place. Also, necessary reinforcements to assist at the polling stations will be provided to help police, through the staffs of armed forces and Iranian Revolutionary guards.” He also said that approaching the elections, “We will tighten the security of the borders into the country.” According to this official, the country’s judiciary is going to assign a special judge to establish legal regulations that the “IRGC, paramilitary and security forces will not face any problems at the checkpoints.” Zolfaghari has said the process of securing the elections will become “strengthened” next week. The twelfth round of the sham presidential election will be held in Iran on May 19th.
Social media is also being monitored, in an attempt to learn of any gatherings and stop them before the people can gather in protest. Iran is fearful of the Iranian people deciding for themselves that the regime has to go, so the clamps have gotten even tighter on all forms of freedom of expression.
The regime’s Security Deputy of the Interior Ministry has said in another section of his press conference that “cyber space will be monitored on a daily basis” and “predictions” about “possible plans and movements of specific groups” have been made.
One of the regime’s IRGC commanders in connection with the presidential election has also said, “cyberspace will be fully observed” at the beginning of April. Mohammad-Jaafar Montazeri, the regime’s attorney general, has recently said, “The enemy wants to influence and undermine the election through cyberspace by publishing false stories and lies.” In his latest speech, Khamenei said, “Enemy” wants to “create insecurity and strife” in Iran with “unrest” and “social convulsions”. He threatened to severely collide with those who will disrupt “security”.
Khamenei, the Iranian regime ’s supreme leader in a speech at “Imam Hussein” University referring to the presidential election on May 10th, said, if people are “breaking the laws themselves, throwing temper tantrums or making the professional enemy hopeful, then the election will be detrimental to us all”.
Increasingly, the regime’s officials are warning people about the dangers of cyberspace as election day draws near, because they feel the regime’s security is threaten by it.
The Iranian regime has for years topped the list of “censors” of the Internet in the world. Access to the larger internet with websites generated outside of the country are severely limited. The Iranian regime is also amongst the countries described as the “largest” prison for journalists in the world. As a result, there is little freedom of the press, with many journalists who question the regime finding themselves in jail.