A poster encouraging people to vote in the March 1 elections in Iran.

Over 7,000 Complains Filed About Irregularities In Iran Elections

Tuesday, 03/19/2024

Nearly three weeks after the parliamentary elections in Iran, disputes continue about the results and the way the elections were held, with 7,000 complaints received from just three towns.

Gholam-Ali Jafarzadeh Imanabadi, a former lawmaker from the northern city of Rasht, questioned why candidates with judicial clearance were rejected from running in the parliamentary election, while others caught in illegal activities were approved by the Guardian Council's arbitrary vetting process.

Imanabadi charged in an interview with Rouydad24 website that the biased vetting of the candidates has led to the formation of the weakest parliament in the Islamic Republic’s 45-year history, and the coming to power of the weakest President.

The Guardian Council is a constitutional body supposed to approve candidates to make sure their beliefs and conduct do not violate the basic tenets of Islamic laws. However, in recent years, the body controlled by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has become capricious, rejecting former senior regime officials and anyone whose complete loyalty is in any doubt.

Imanabadi also raised concerns about the consistency of the Guardian Council's decisions. When questioned about the rejection of former Majles Speaker Ali Larijani's qualification in the 2021 presidential election due to his daughter living abroad, contrasting with the approval of incumbent Majles Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf despite his son's overseas residency, Guardian Council Spokesperson Tahan Nazif stated: "Every election has its own criteria. However, no candidate has ever been disqualified solely on the basis of his family's situation."

Gholam-Ali Jafarzadeh Imanabadi, a former Iranian lawmaker

However, the Guardian Council had officially cited Larijani's daughter's residence abroad as the reason for his disqualification. Imanabadi noted that as Larijani's daughter is a married woman, her situation should not affect her father's eligibility. He further queried: "How can a man who has led the legislative body for 12 years lack qualifications?"

Meanwhile, referring to Ghalibaf's case and corruption charges against him, Imanabadi said that any other candidate with one fifth of the problems Ghalibaf has, would have never gotten through the Guardian Council's vetting. He added that there were other candidates who got through although had been convicted or were involved in unethical corruption cases.

He charged that the Guardian Council wants only ultraconservative "yes men" for the parliament. Imanabadi further said that the Guardian Council's decisions on qualifications is politically motivated.

Similar questions have also been raised about the Guardian Council's verdict about the Assembly of Experts candidates' disqualifications of senior politicians including former President Hassan Rouhani.

Rouhani's former chief of staff Mahmoud Vaezi said in an interview with the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) on Monday that Rouhani was informed about his disqualification through a telephone call from the Guardian Council. Rouhani who is an incumbent member of the Assembly has repeatedly called for explanations for his disqualification, but the Guardian Council has left all of his inquiries unanswered.

Vaezi refuted the Guardian Council's claim about Rouhani's representative having been briefed on the reasons of his disqualification, adding that the former President has never sent a representative to the Guardian Council. He added that the claim about Rouhani's representative was made only after Rouhani sent four letters to the Council.

The complaints made by Rouhani is not the only ones sent to the Guardian Council. On Monday, the IRGC announced on Telegram that the Guardian Council has received more than 7,000 complaints about the elections just from the three cities.

The IRGC's Telegram channel explained that the complaints made from Andimeshk were about scaring the voters and election officials on the voting day, serious assault and battery against voters including women, fighting at polling stations, thugs preventing people from voting, attacks on private vehicles, throwing stones at people's houses, distorting ballot papers, and early victory announcements. However, the IRGC's Telegram channel did not elaborate on the outcome of those complaints.

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