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Why Iranian Authorities Consider People’s Participation in Elections as a Security Issue?

Election in Iran Supreme leader Ali Khamenei and the IRGC called on the people to participate in Iran's elections.

Across the globe, elections are considered as the main signal of democracies and people’s involvement in national political decisions. However, Iranian authorities insist on portraying this issue as a security one, which is a frank admission that the ruling system has no political legitimacy.

In this context, former and current officials time and again underlined that the elections are merely a formality in Iran. For instance, in late January, remarks by regime president Hassan Rouhani cautiously admitted that elections have been perverted under the rule of the ayatollahs and just like the “previous regime’s era” the elections’ winners have been specified in advance.

“The greatest danger against democracy and national sovereignty comes the day that the elections become ‘formality.’ Somewhere else [the supreme leader Ali Khamenei] appoints [the people’s] representatives then the nation becomes present at the ballot boxes merely to execute the [routine] protocols of the elections,” Rouhani said on January 27.

“… In the previous regime’ era, several people were nominated in electorates, but everyone knew who was supposed to be the representative. The people were saying ‘that one’ was elected by Tehran. And finally, the same person… became the elections’ winner,” Rouhani added in his speech on the same day.

It might occur that authorities are concerned about a foreign threat, however, they genuinely try to deceive their international counterparts. But the survival of the mullahs’ rule is endangered by protests and the Iranian people. As the protesters have frequently chanted, “Our enemy is here [referring to the government].”

Basically, Iranian authorities pursue to style their regime as stable and secure to discourage the society from continuing protests and uprisings. In truth, the unelected government of Iran abuses elections to portray that it enjoys public acceptance and resorts to all means in this respect.

“[There is no problem] if you don’t like me, but participate in elections if you love Iran,” Khamenei recently said to drag people to the polls. He also described elections as a security issue, of course, regarding his regime, not the security of the country. Given the crimes of the IRGC and security forces in last November alone, no foreign army or even virus would be able to atrociously kill more than 1,500 people in public in two days alone. In addition, it has pushed more than 80 percent of the society under the line of absolute poverty despite the country sitting on a sea of oil.

In this respect, the head of the elections staff Jamal Orf attributed the participation in elections to national security. “More participation in elections will guarantee our national security,” Orf said on February 19.

Additionally, on February 19, the IRGC called on the people to participate in the elections. This matter shows that IRGC commanders aren’t assured that their forces will participate in elections. However, military forces were not supposed to engage in political affairs. In this context, since the IRGC is responsible for preserving the regime’s security and had the main role in the November crackdown on protesters, Iranian authorities are really concerned about domestic threats such as recent protests that heavily shocked the regime’s pillars and put the prospect of the downfall of the ayatollahs’ rule on the horizon.

About Siavosh Hosseini (347 Articles)
My background is in the visual arts, particularly in photojournalism. I have had the opportunity to cover scores of international artistic and news events in the US and across Europe since the mid-1980s. I was active in television newsrooms and production as a graphic designer and producer for more than 12 years in different television and news outfits in Europe.

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