Operating in the shadows of Iranian politics, behind the façades of martyrdom and religiosity, in Mashhad, Khorasan Province, there is a very Shiite institution called Astan Quds Razavi. Protected by the Supreme Leaders of Iran and wealthy, it meddles in the country’s economic and military affairs under the cover of Islamic values and the love for the eighth Imam, Reza. A State within the State, the Mashhad religious elite is a Shiite Mafia of its own right, in competition with Qom seminaries when the worldly interests of its clerics command.
Presently, one Ayatollah, Ahmad Alamolhoda, is the Friday preacher and representative of Ali Khamenei in Mashhad, a bonus for the institution. His son in law, Ebrahim Raisi, was the chairman of Astan Quds Razavi, before being appointed in 2019 by the Leader as the head of Judiciary power. Today, he is the chosen candidate for the next rigged presidential elections that take place in the upcoming weeks.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has not been and never will be a democracy. Both Supreme Leaders, Ruhollah Khomeini and now Ali Khamenei, have expressed their contempt for democratic rules on many occasions.
In the past years, the succeeding rigged elections at all levels have been solid proof of staging the theatre of pseudo-voting. The people have turned up in large numbers at polling stations, have said Yes/Labik to the Leader’s choices. After the curtains were down on the circus, they have shut up.
This has suited the religious hierarchy manoeuvring behind the scenes for over four decades.
This year, Khamenei is over eighty, inshallah, as nature demands it, can be expected not to last much longer. Perhaps the next Iranian president would have to bury him with the Shiite vainglory of a national show.
The legacy of Khamenei is a country in ruin, mismanaged by a gang of violent and corrupt sycophants. A new leader must be nominated to succeed him promptly and the way should be paved now for him so no time is wasted in infighting.
In the upcoming elections, the masquerade of democratic presidential elections is in the open for everyone to see. The Assembly of Experts demanded that the candidates conform to the basics of the Political Islam ideology and Velayat-e Faqih. Anyone that might have mildly deviated from their line of thought and action were eliminated.
The names on the list of candidates are six nobodies plus the mounting star of the Khamenei Leadership and the Mashhad Mafia, Ebrahim Raisi.
His photos are always enlarged in the media and his acts, far beyond the duties of the head of judiciary, are reported with exaggerated details.
Till now, getting the Iranians in large numbers to vote for the Leadership’s chosen candidates has always been an easy task. Many Iranians give little importance to the weight of their vote (2009’s elections are a matter of debate). A free soft drink or a meal would easily buy their vote.
Therefore, a little intimidation or a small reward has worked fine for the regime to have the figurations it needs for the show. The elections were never a political programme for the future. They were a referendum to approve the theocracy. No man of the regime is ever tired of repeating: Glorious elections guarantee legitimacy of system.[sic, Hassan Rouhani, 2021]
This time, in year 1400, things are a little different. The regime barely controls the society. Religious mediocrity combined with corruption and crass incompetence has brought the people to open antagonism toward the men in charge of Islamic rule, the political Islam,the Nezam-Eslami.
For a while, it was thought that an IRGC man would be the next president to buttress Ali Khamenei. However, he is too old to survive the next four years and the regime will not pull through a long struggle for power to replace him with a consensual future dictator as the Supreme Leader.
Inside and outside Iran, voices to boycott the elections are being heard loud and clear.
Better late than never.
We have repeatedly sustained the idea that the turnout of the citizens in the elections was a seal of approval for the regime rather than a change in the way politics are managed for the benefit of people.
However, Iran is the prisoner of itself. There is little hope of seeing political wisdom and pragmatism replacing religious sectarianism and superstition. An oversized pride in nationalistic myths and the excess of illusionary ambitions, wrapped in Islamic sweet talk, have driven the population to accept its conditions of enslavement to the Shiite hierarchy. It will not change over the next weeks.
As Boycott the Elections gains momentum, those who want Ebrahim Raisi to replace Hassan Rouhani in its first step and later be the Supreme Leader in the shoes of Ali Khamenei are hysterical. Good reasons in the Islamic Republic of Iran to hang them in the future.
If the voters’ turnout is less than say 40% – a guesstimate – their call of triumph would sound hollow and laughable. Presently, the elderly ayatollahs, including Ahmad Alamolhoda, call the protesters who feel the elections are fraud the enemies, the apostates, and has excommunicated them from Islam (Takfir).
There is a little hope that this year the Iranian citizens realise that the Islamic dogmatism has turned their land, a potential merry country, into inferno on earth and it is time to kick the hypocrite liars and assassins out of power.
There is, however, an essential pillar missing: there is nothing to replace them.
Hating to have a hangman, Ebrahim Raisi, as the future President of Iran, and having to live with the shame of blood on the hands of the next Supreme Leader, is one thing, but being able to draw the contours of a positive future for the replacement of the Islamic Republic is the unsolved issue for now.
Lack of vision is the collective failure of all Iranians. Since cherishing the value of one’s vote is still a faltering concept.
We are inexorably waltzing with Agha, our Leader, Ali Djoun for now. In the near future we will waltz with Ebrahim Raisi, Khomeini’s hangman in 1988’s mass murders. The rule of law has no meaning in Iran, and Ebrahim Raisi who supervised it, will be rewarded handsomely: having absolute power on Iran.
It is our own doing and there is not much we can do about it now, unless the polling stations remain deserted on the 18th of June.