Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei speaking on February 24, 2024

Fearing Low Voter Turnout, Khamenei Claims Regime 'Trusts The People'

Saturday, 02/24/2024

Amid expectations of a low turnout in elections on March 1, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei claimed “trusting the people” has been an integral part of the Islamic Republic.

What made the Islamic Republic "stable and progressive" and helped it overcome many "obstacles and conspiracies" was the combination of “trust in the people’s republic and Islam,” Khamenei stated on Saturday.

His remarks come against the backdrop of an unprecedented apathy among Iranians over the parliamentary and the Assembly of Experts elections which are to be held on Friday. Over the past weeks, Iran’s Supreme Leader has time and again made fervent appeals for voter turnout.

The elections are anticipated to witness historically low turnout, reflecting a crisis of legitimacy for the regime, particularly after the brutal crackdown of the nationwide uprising in 2022. Various political groups, including the Reform Front, comprising more than two dozen reformist parties, have declared their refusal to participate in the upcoming elections, citing concerns about its lack of competitiveness and fairness.

In another part of his speech, Khamenei lauded what he called “the staying power of resistance forces” in Gaza, further adding that “the enemies” have given up hope of destroying the Palestinian resistance.

“Axis of resistance” or “resistance forces” are labels the Iranian authorities employ to refer to Tehran’s proxies in the region, such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Hashd al-Shaabi in Iraq and Yemeni Houthis.

Despite Khamenei’s claims, reports from the ground indicate that Israel has annihilated a large part of Hamas’ operational and logistic capabilities in Gaza. According to the Israeli army, more than 10,000 Hamas militants have been killed or incapacitated in the Gaza war since October 7.

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