A file photo of Iranians voting in an election

Iran Election Poses Threats to Security Due To Unfairness: Study

Sunday, 02/25/2024

A study published in the Iranian government-owned National Security Monitor suggests that the upcoming elections present both threats and potential benefits for the regime's survival.

Authored by Farzad Poursaeed and originally titled "Elections and National Security in the Islamic Republic," the study was re-published by the Iranian official news agency (IRNA) under the headline: "National security and the double-edged sword of elections."

According to IRNA, most of the threats associated with the upcoming elections stem from the country's political structure.

The study, employing careful language due to government restrictions, suggests that while free and fair elections could enhance national security by ensuring comprehensive representation and peaceful resolution of people's demands, previous elections have often led to periods of street unrest in Iran over the past decade.

Additionally, the study highlights the lack of political parties in Iran as a major source of instability, posing a significant threat to the regime.

Furthermore, the study emphasizes that well-conducted elections can confer legitimacy on the regime by enabling the appointment of competent officials while removing inefficient and corrupt individuals. Criticism of inefficiency and corruption within the government has been voiced by many insiders in recent years.

Moreover, the study asserts that good elections foster solidarity between the people and the government. However, it fails to acknowledge widespread commentary in the Iranian media about the growing gap between citizens and the government, exacerbated by the government's failure to address demands following the 2022 nationwide protests.

Economist Hossein Raghfar

Recent observations suggest that this gap is a primary factor contributing to declining voter turnout in Iranian elections. Additionally, the study notes that political instability resulting from the exclusion of certain political factions from the electoral process is a fundamental flaw in Iran's election system, leading to short-lived and sporadic political party activities.

Meanwhile, prominent Iranian economist Hossein Raghfar said in an interview with Rouydad24 that the prevailing dissatisfaction in the Iranian society is a product of the system of governance in Iran. Raghfar accused infiltrators and profiteers within the Iranian government of exacerbating social problems through illogical policies, resulting in unemployment, recession, inflation, poverty, and inequality. He warns that these conditions will inevitably lead to social unrest.

In the meantime, the government remains unresponsive even to prominent regime insiders such as former president Hassan Rouhani. On Thursday, the former president wrote his 3rd letter to the Guardian Council calling on the ultraconservatives in charge to explain why they have disqualified him from running in the next round of the Assembly of Experts elections on Friday. The only answer he got was that the Council only responds to complaints and Rouhani's letters were not categorized as such.

In another development, the liberal National Front of Iran announced on the same day that it will not take part in the March 1 election, calling it "unreal" and "unhealthy". Announcing the boycott, the National Front said that free political parties, freedom of assembly, freedom of press and media, do not exist in the Islamic Republic and citizens cannot vote for the candidates of their choosing.

While the media remains under government censorship, hundreds of dissidents are either in prison or face indictments. Most Reformist and relatively moderate candidates have been barred from competing in these elections.

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