A Rohani Supporter, Hope and Fear
As everyone knows, there has not been a truly democratic “election” in Iran (since 1953 and Mohamad Mosadegh’s government) except “show elections”. Within Islamic Republic of Iran only the regime’s men, whom (almost) all of them have a notorious background in violating human rights, can be qualified for candidacy.
Rohani with his key, has this key opens old sales ?
Contradictory to the 2009 “election”, which turned to a Lose-Lose nightmare for Khamenei, the regime tried so hard to order millions of people to come to the ballot boxes, while only four years ago the regime’s obvious fraud caused a large protest movement and many people including Neda Agha-Soltan shot dead by the regime’s security forces. For the 2009 “election” the regime had been planning the show since 2007, when regime’s riot guards and Bassij forces began military exercises to be prepared to suppress urban riots. Then the regime allowed reformists figures to run for presidential election in order to bring the younger generation to the shows, and in addition, they lifted the bans on Facebook, various websites and apparently stopped interfering with Iranian satellite TV channels.
Leftists protest against the election show in front of Islamic Republic’s embassy in Stockholm
At the same time, the regime prepared a list of activists and journalists who would not be sympathetic to the regime to be detained only a few days after the result of the “pseudo elections” was announced. As many independent experts expected, the election’s result was a total fraud and people felt cheated by the regime. However, very soon the regime understood that they are losing control over the situation. This was not Khamenei’s only problem. Ahamdinejad also didn’t obey Khamenei or the leaders of other religious institutions (that were extensions of Khamenei’s ruling power).
Street Party after the election results
Khamenei’s openly suppressing the people in order to support a disobedient president (Ahmadinejad) cost him losing what little domestic and international legitimacy were left. This also created a hostile situation between the president, other appointed governmental organizations. Also created an internal war between parliament members. When Khameni learned this is a Lose-Lose situation, he tried to fix and recover the regime’s legitimacy by calling people to participate in 2013 presidential election. It seemed bizarre to ask people to fully participate in another “election” after the violence of 2009. Khamenei and the Guardian Council in the greatest tradition of theater, put on a production to get the people out to vote.
Once again, reformists abroad (which became the real pain of Iranian opposition in recent years) turned to virtual campaigning for election and use of main stream Iranian media, by influencing the lobbies in Europe and United States. Their calls were clearly heard not only by Iranian and international media, but also by politicians and parties in western countries.
Elected Presidents vote percentage in last 34 years (Omid Habibinia, 2013)
The stage was set; to have two of the most possible frightening conservatives, Ghalibaf a former Sepah (IRG) general and Jalili a close aid of Khamenei. The only option was to choose between worse and worst. The reformists forced Aref pull out of “the election” endorsing a central conservative candidate, Rohani; thereby, splitting the conservative vote two ways. Their vote was divided between Ghalibaf-Jalili, Velaiati- Rezaei. The result even before the election was not too surprising. The only concern was if Rohani could win in the first round or in a runoff.
Voters and Boycotters, A history of election at a glance (Omid Habibinia, 2013)
As many people reported, on the “election day” the polling centers were empty and there was no line until afternoon. Then suddenly it changed. The people who voted encouraged others to go and vote. So at the last minute, many young people, who were not sure if they should boycott the election or not, went out and voted. This behavior is what we call in Iran “Javgiri”. Javgiri means the middle class’s submission of the strong social or political waves without being fully aware of the consequences of their obedience. Even Khamenei asked people who doesn’t believe in Islamic Republic to vote for their country. Reformists in abroad lined up in front of Iranian embassies. The most crowded embassy was London, where reformists have their institutions, lobbies and media. For real Iranian opposition this was interpreted as another betray, because the regime’s goal was to consider people’s votes as a mean to measure its legitimacy. The regime pretended that people believed in the reform and the fundamentals of the regime. A well-attended presidential election could better the regime’s position internationally and negate some of the human rights violations and nuclear proliferation controversies.
A woman without Hijab is going to vote for a center-conservative candidate
On the “election” day, the social networks were all a buzz with questions ranging from how political refugees can vote for the Islamic Republic in Iran’s embassies abroad? To how women can vote without wearing Hijjab (scarf) abroad, while Iranian women inside of the country are force to wear Hijab? Some said the regime needed only their votes to reflect the campaign of vote without scarf, which was criticized by feminists, since the regime forces Iranian women wear hijab and discriminates women by imposing sexist rules and regulations on them.
Rihaneh, An Iranian leftist in Norway, stands against election show.
The election results caused in a national street party; however, nobody paid any attention to the 15, 000,000 (about 28% of people who were eligible to vote) people that did not vote and boycotted the election. Some believe that the real number was less than 40%. Except Saturday night fest for enchanters of political slogans, everybody seemed glad, even Ahmadinejad who received his court subpoena. A moderate conservative government could solve domestic and international crisis much easier than a conservative one (which could easily cause middle class unrest). Rohani who has a notorious security background and is very close to Khamenei is the Leader’s new poppet, only cleverer than the last one. As the head of Strategic Research Center, he knows a great deal about domestic and international issues of the country and he might be able to recover Iran’s shaky relations with Europe (since he has been welcomed by them). With inflation around 33%, unemployment of 25%, poverty of 45%, and chronic corruption and ill economy in last decade, Rohani ought to count on every little bit of help to save the regime despite peoples growing dissatisfaction.
For some Iranians this means hope and for other means buying time for a bloody dictatorship that has been caging them for over 34 years.
Who will be Iran’s next president?
for the people who are suffering from inflation, oppression, and strict Islamic rules, this show should head to the nearest democracy transit.