While all forecasts in Iran indicate an extremely low turnout in the March parliamentary elections, Ali Khamenei has desperately urged officials to bring out the vote.

Speaking to followers, Khamenei emphasized on Tuesday: “Everyone should make efforts to mobilize the people,” underscoring the significance of the masses. He pointed out that “A limited number of people, let’s say two million [in Gaza], have effectively challenged Israel and the United States, despite the latter’s immense power,” unintentionally acknowledging his perceived arch-enemy.

The turnout in Iran’s latest elections were between 20 to 40 percent in 2020 and 2021, but conservatives now predict a turnout between 5 to 8 percent in March. Iranians seem to be deeply annoyed by the indifference of the regime and its officials to their demands for more freedom and improved economic conditions.

The inflation rate is officially just under 50 percent, but for some essential commodities, such as foodstuff it is much higher. On the other hand, the regime’s brutal crackdown on the 2022 nationwide protests, which left hundreds killed and blinded, as well as the hardliners’ insistence in making life harder for everyone by passing medieval laws about hijab, meting out lashing sentences to women, and making the Internet inaccessible, has increased the extent of dissent in the country.

Meanwhile, the Raisi administration’s inefficiency to solve the country’s economic and foreign policy problems has become more evident with its inability to keep the country safe. Around 90 people were killed and twice as many were seriously wounded in an ISIS attack last week in the city of Kerman, where the government bused in school children and their mothers to pay tribute to the former commander of the IRGC Qods Force, Qasem Soleimani, on the fourth anniversary of his death.

Raisi’s blunders elicit sad laughter from people every single day. One day, he states the obvious, saying he has discovered that the mothers of all students are women, while on another occasion, he struggles to read from a prepared speech. On Tuesday, he said that “inefficient individuals in every office should be transferred to another department.”

Not all blunders are made by Raisi. His Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi who is under pressure to explain his failure to prevent the terror attack in Kerman, said in an interview that the food delivery company ‘Snap Food’ should change its name because “food” is an English word. He was obviously mindless of the fact that “snap” was also an English word. On the other hand, thousands of other companies also need to change their brand names if the government seriously wishes to do away with foreign words.

Culture Minister Mohammad Mehdi Esmaili also claimed on Monday that a million visitors came to Iran during only one month to enjoy concerts! This comes while concerts are not allowed in some Iranian provinces due to the influence of hardliners such as Friday Imam Ahmad Alamolhoda, who happens to be Raisi’s father-in-law. Several Iranian singers including Toomaj Salehi are in jail for supporting the protests, and the best Iranian singers and musicians are in Los Angeles, although their music is popular among people in Iran.

Khamenei, whose Guardian Council has barred nearly all moderate and reformist candidates from running in the March election, and effectively restricted political participation to ultraconservatives, knows that he can no longer ask the people or order them – for instance by issuing a fatwa [religious decree] – to take part in the elections. So, he resorts to ordering officials and institutions to push the people to the polls in any which way they can.

Meanwhile, he tried to intimidate the nation by saying that not voting is playing into the hands of the United States and other enemies of the Islamic revolution.

Khamenei said, “The masses can do anything.” But he probably forgot that he ordered his commanders to suppress the masses. Only in one protest in 2019 his security forces killed at least 1,500 people from among the masses. In the meantime, Khamenei has done little to pacify a disgruntled nation that has lost all hope in any positive change.

Source » iranintl