Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accused his political rivals of plotting to rig this summer’s presidential election in Iran.
Of course he should know as that’s how he got to be president.
But seriously, even his most ardent supporters, like George Galloway, know that elections in Iran are nothing but a farce.
For starters, the majority, including women, political opponents, atheists, socialists, and basically anyone on their “must die” list are ineligible to take part. The Guardian Council – a 12-member body – probe the candidates’ commitment to Islam and the Islamic Republic of Iran and approve only the most die-hard supporters. Any candidate approved by this body is chosen because he is a most loyal servant and had proven his allegiance beyond a doubt. Candidates also have to be approved by the supreme spiritual leader Khamenei. And that’s just for starters. Add to this the absence of political freedoms, like freedom of speech or assembly or press; Sharia laws that make 130 offences punishable by death, including criticising the regime and its rulers; prisons and graves full of political dissidents… and you get the point.
The ‘candidates’ should be on ‘wanted’ not election posters. (You can read more about it in an interview with Hamid Taqvaee.)
Of course that doesn’t stop all these “analysts” and “commentators” from writing page upon page about the supposed “legacy” Ahmadinejad hopes to leave behind.
Err, x number of stonings, check.
x number of executions, check, check.
Cuts in subsidies and benefits, check, check, check…
And they do so miss the point. Anyone who has any knowledge of Iranian politics knows that the infighting and scraps within the factions of the regime is not because anyone is standing up to anyone else or trying to leave some sordid legacy behind but a reflection of the explosive situation in Iran. People despise this regime and are waiting for any chance to be rid of it. That is the only reason the election matters. It helps to provide people with a space to challenge the system.
As an aside, Ahmadinejad has declared “Viva Spring” as if he is an agent of change or as if the Arab Spring is a gain for his vile movement. In fact, his ‘election’ – like that of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt – is a gain for the establishment and an anti-revolutionary force not the other way round.
But he might not be so quick as to mention the Arab Spring next time round after the humiliating shoe attack.
Yes indeed, Viva Spring, and the end of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Islamism.