The US government censured Iran’s electoral system as “opaque” and “undemocratic”, just hours before polls opened in the country’s parliamentary elections on Friday.

“I suspect that a great number of Iranians have no expectation that those elections will be free and fair,” the state department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.

This will be the first election after the widespread 2022 protests in Iran, which deepened and widened the rupture between the regime and ordinary Iranians. There’s very little appetite for participation in what many people consider an “official show.” The turnout will likely be low, especially in major cities and urban areas.

“As you probably already know, thousands of candidates were already disqualified in an opaque process,” Miller said, “The world has long known that Iran’s political system features undemocratic and non-transparent administrative, judicial and electoral systems.”

Candidates are heavily vetted before they can stand for election. The 12-member Guardian Council, whose members are either appointed or suggested by the leader Ali Khamenei, bars anyone that it thinks may not be fully loyal to the core of the regime.

The vetting process seems to be stricter than ever, leaving the voters with no real choice. But many Iranians seem to not care even about the vetting, having lost hope in the system’s willingness or capacity to change through elections.

Over its past few terms, the Iranian parliament (aka Majles) has become more and more subservient to the two real sources of authority in the Islamic Republic: the Leader and the Revolutionary Guards –who make the key decisions that concern the US and its allies.

Most observers, including US officials, seem to have realized that the parliament is more or less irrelevant to the key decisions.

Source » iranintl