Scheduled for March 1, the Iranian regime is set to conduct sham elections for both its parliament and the Assembly of Experts. Due to Ali Khamenei’s health conditions, there’s a widespread belief that the Supreme Leader aims to pave the ground to designate his desired successor. Consequently, he has already initiated significant measures to eliminate individuals he perceives as potential obstacles to his plan. Despite these internal purges and the likelihood of further eliminations, Khamenei has paradoxically encouraged insiders to actively participate in the elections, ostensibly to legitimize the system.
On January 9, during a meeting with loyalists in Qom, Khamenei indirectly accused non-participants in elections of aligning with anti-regime sentiments, attributing economic hardships in the country to them. He asserted, “The enemy’s strategic policy is to sideline people. Refusing to turn out in elections aligns with this enemy strategy,” and added, “Wherever they successfully deter people from participating, the enemy prevails.”
On January 3, in another speech, Khamenei said, “Anyone who opposes elections is opposing the Islamic Republic and Islam, and this move is hostile.”
On December 23, 2023, Khamenei attacked those discouraging people from participating in elections, asserting that the absence of elections in Iran would lead to a “dictatorship.”
In Iran, there is systematic coercion of individuals employed in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the army, the police, and all government agencies, along with their families, to partake in elections. For those who vote, the Ministry of Interior imprints a stamp on the identity cards. The lack of this stamp can pose challenges in employment, administrative processes, and even military service.
Khamenei extended beyond these actions, rallying all his representatives in different cities during consecutive Friday prayer sermons to both encourage and pressure those reliant on government budgets to participate in elections.
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) January 4, 2024
However, despite the regime’s extensive manipulation of statistics through an entity known as the “Consolidation of Votes Room,” and the exposure of millions of vote-rigging activities by the IRGC in recent years, the regime confronts an escalating crisis apparent in each illegitimate election.
In the June 2021 presidential elections, where even the senior advisor to Khamenei, Ali Larijani, was disqualified, Ebrahim Raisi was declared the winner. With 59,310,307 eligible voters in Iran, the reported participation rate was 48.8%, marking the lowest in the regime’s elections.
However, the most significant aspect was the official registration of three million and seven hundred thousand blank votes, surpassing the votes cast by Raisi’s competitors. This constituted the highest number and percentage of blank votes in the history of the regime’s presidential elections up to that date.
If, as state officials, and particularly Khamenei, assert that mere participation in elections is a measure of legitimacy and support for the government, even the manipulated and engineered statistics suggest that the majority of the Iranian people are rejecting this regime. This leads to the question of how to quantify the silent majority in Iran.
Based on official statistics, 3,425,091 people and unofficial estimates of over 8 million Iranians, which is ten percent of the country’s population, have left their homes to escape repression, terror, and censorship.
According to the Statistical Center of Iran in May 2019, annually, approximately 183,000 Iranians, most of whom are elites, leave Iran under the rule of the Mullahs. Stats from the Migration Policy Institute, suggest that Iranian immigrants in the United States exhibit a significantly higher median household income compared to the broader immigrant and native-born populations.
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) January 4, 2024
In June 2022, the Iranian Resistance exposed documents through its network inside the country from the regime’s prison organization, indicating that, excluding the number of political prisoners, over 12 million individuals in Iran have been incarcerated from 1981 to 2022. According to the unveiled documents, 5,197 individuals were awaiting execution and retribution. Among them, 107 individuals were sentenced to amputation, and in 2020, the sentence of stoning was carried out for 51 individuals, including 23 women. Furthermore, 60 of those executed in 2020 were under the age of 18.
On October 10, 2021, the state-run newspaper Hamdeli reported that the number of prisoners in Iran had multiplied fifteenfold over the past four decades.
Furthermore, there is a significantly noticeable level of dissatisfaction with the economic situation in Iran. Almost every day, various segments of the population engage in protests due to the loss of their rights. According to sources from the Iranian Resistance, in 2023, over 3,600 protests were recorded, meaning almost 9 protests occurred every day.
In the past year, the Iranian regime expelled thousands of students and university professors for political reasons or their affiliation with the 2022 protests. The state-run Etemad newspaper reported in October 2023 that since March, “32,000 adjunct professors across various fields and departments have been dismissed solely from the Islamic Azad University.”
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) December 31, 2023
According to the official news agency IRNA, women make up 60% of the country’s student population. However, despite the high intellectual representation, misogynist laws in Iran result in more than half of the country’s population experiencing discrimination. This demographic is considered the largest dissatisfied group in the country, a sentiment that became apparent during their uprising in 2022.
However, more evident and unmistakable than any statistic is the series of uprisings that have swept across the entire country since 2017. The main slogan, “Death to Khamenei,” reflects the people’s relentless demand for profound change.
Decades-long efforts by Khamenei to depict stability within the country collapsed during the 2022 uprising. In reaction to this, Khamenei tried to extend the crisis beyond borders through a proxy war in the Middle East and aimed to secure the regime’s future through extensive purges. However, with the clear failure of his foreign strategy, his domestic vulnerabilities are now becoming more apparent, prompting the need for more decisive action.
Source » ncr-iran