Iran’s Ballot Boxes Do Not Represent The Voice Of Its People

Shahriar Kia Policy Analyst
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Today Hassan Rouhani was announced as the winner of Iran’s presidential election. Of course, these ballot boxes do not represent the voice of the Iranian people but portray the result of a failed engineering campaign and a final decision made by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. This is also a show of his utter fear of a nationwide uprising against the mullahs’ apparatus.

Considering his regime’s dire domestic, regional and international circumstances, Khamenei desperately needed to unify his apparatus to confront the numerous crises and maintain his regime’s balance. This “election” result, however, canvases a major defeat for Khamenei and signals considerable weakness on his part and that of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). Rest assured this trend will lead to the regime’s eventual crumbling.

As the election façade transformed into a major power struggle amongst the Iranian regime’s ruling factions, Maryam Rajavi, President of the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), described the mullahs’ apparatus as fragmented and suffering from major setbacks.

“Rouhani’s second term would only entail growing crisis and a more intense power struggle. Crisis has precipitated at the leadership level of the religious fascism and would continue until the downfall of the regime of the velayat-e faqih (absolute rule of clergy)… Khamenei’s failure to manipulate the election result to bring Raisi out of the ballot box and make the regime monolithic is a heavy blow for him and a sign of the regime’s approaching demise,” she said.

Activities saw in cities across Iran during the election season, all following a call made by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), spread the slogan “My vote is regime change” across the country. This brought the mullahs to the conclusion over the dangerous consequences of deepening divides amongst the regime’s senior elite paving the path for nationwide uprisings similar to those seen in 2009. As a result, the mullahs’ ruling elite decided to quickly bring an end to the election farce in the first round and prevent any further opportunities for protests and possible uprisings.

Rouhani’s second term begins after the first four years rendered major economic crises, including skyrocketing unemployment. Iran’s meddling in neighboring countries expanded, ballistic missile tests continued at an escalating pace, and the windfall of billions of dollars released as sanctions was lifted provided the necessary financing for terrorist measures and the massacring of innocent people in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen… Inside Iran, alone over 3,000 were sent to the gallows during Rouhani’s first term.

Two weeks ago Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan described Rouhani’s first term as the “most glorious period in developing the country’s missile and defense programs, in terms of quantity and quality,” adding until mid-March 2017 “the defense budget increased 250% in comparison to the previous administration” and “this figure will increase 400% in 2017 in comparison to the last administration.”

On February 8th, 2016 Rouhani reiterated how the Iranian regime took advantage of its presence in Syria and Iraq to gain concessions in the nuclear negotiations.

If our forces “had not persevered in Baghdad, Samara, Fallujah and Ramadi, and if they hadn’t supported the Syrian government in Damascus and Aleppo, we would not be enjoying any security to be able to negotiate so well,” he said.

In his second term, as already experienced in the past four years, Rouhani will neither seek nor has the ability to seek, installing any changes in this reactionary regime’s foundations, structure or behavior, in which meaningful hegemony is in the hands of the Supreme Leader and the IRGC.


Ten days prior to the election Khamenei had warned, “Take into notice any change in behavior is no different from the change in the entire establishment.” The term change in the establishment for all of Iran’s mullahs is considered a red line. To this end, they will never approach anything even resembling a change in behavior.

On the other hand, those in the West dubbing Rouhani as a so-called “moderate” are advancing a deceptive drive profited only by Khamenei and the IRGC. Change will only appear in Iran when this regime is forced to:

  1. unveil the statistics and details of the summer 1988 massacre dossier involving the execution of over 30,000 political prisoners,
  2. place the perpetrators of this crime before the justice in an international court of law,
  3. release all political prisoners,
  4. respect human rights, freedom of speech and freedom of political activities for opposition parties, and ethnic and religious minorities,
  5. and Tehran bringing an end to its terrorism and meddling in regional countries.

Of course, if such an individual was found inside the mullahs’ regime willing to seek such measures, they would be found in its torture chambers, prison cells or the gallows.

The only solution for Iran is regime change by the Iranian people and their organized opposition, and through supporting Maryam Rajavi’s 10-point-plan. During Iran’s presidential election season, many brave activists inside the country put up posters saying, “Maryam Rajavi is our president.”

Shahriar Kia is an Iranian dissident and a political analyst writing about Iran and the Middle East. He is the member of the Iranian opposition and he graduated from North Texas University. He tweets at @shahriarkia.