The Iranian presidential elections have been described as a “one-horse race” by Iranian activists because of the reformists’ exclusion and the support provided to hardliners. A committee subordinate to the supreme leader, the so-called Guardian Council, an unelected body composed of twelve members, chooses who has the right to run for the presidency. The Guardian Council approved seven candidates out of hundreds of applicants who had wanted to run for the presidency and banned the rest.

Among those chosen by the Guardian Council is Ebrahim Raisi, the candidate who has the best chance of winning the presidency. Having taken part in the execution of thousands of Iranians in 1988 under the orders of the then supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini, he continues to be haunted by their curses upon him. Raisi was among the clerics who signed thousands of political prisoners’ death sentences, and you can imagine how and why a candidate with such a resume could become an Iranian regime political leader, the Velayat e-Faqih (Guardianship of the Jurists).

Raisi, haunted by the souls he took in 1988, reiterated his election slogan “the continuous struggle against poverty, corruption and discrimination”, while in reality, the Iranians are being held captive by a trinity of high prices, poverty, and unemployment. These intense pressures have driven Iranians to vent their frustration at the state’s failed policies and its failure to resolve ongoing internal crises. Meanwhile, the Iranian regime continues to adopt arbitrary foreign policies, which have made Iran a source of unrest and evil in Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon. Indeed, this stark contrast drove disgruntled protesters to raise the slogan “Not for Gaza, not for Lebanon, my life for Iran.”

The Iranian regime hiding behind sham elections is the one who squandered the country’s wealth on the production and export of terrorism, leaving the country mired in disease, ignorance, and unemployment, which has exceeded 15 percent, as deficits steadily increase in a country considered a major oil producer.

The Iranian regime is facing civil unrest, as the Iranian people have seen their living conditions deteriorate because of high prices, inflation failed economic policies, and increased military spending, which includes the development of cross-border missiles, such as those supplied to the Houthi militias to bomb Saudi cities and people.

Thus, repression and cold-blooded killing became the unilateral method for resolving these internal crises under the supreme leader’s guidance, as seen during the Basij’s brutal crackdown on protesters, who were described as “saboteurs, rioters and foreign agents.” In reality, they are the country’s youth, who are striving to create a civil state and who have grown tired of living under the Iranian regime’s iron fist and its public executions on the streets.

It also became swiftly clear that the agreements on the Iranian nuclear program had always been a trick played by the Iranian regime to evade its commitments, though the Iranian program is still far from coming close to enriching Uranium on the scale required for a mature program that can be depended on. Nonetheless, Iranian trickery and stoked-up fears regarding the program have left the regime using it to make gains for itself as it tricks the democratic world through its sham elections, whose winners are determined beforehand.

On the other hand, the regime’s terror exposes its opportunistic, mutually beneficial ties with terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS. Indeed, it was the Iranian regime, its supreme leader, who translated Said Kutub’s book and his doctrinal framework from Arabic to Frasi, and these books were taught at IRGC schools.

In another precedent that exposes the Iranian regime’s repression, its prosecutor general warned those who had crossed what he called “red lines,” which include criticizing Velayat e-Faqih and undermining the Iranian judiciary’s reputation on the campaign trail. For this reason, Iranian elections will continue to be nothing more than a cover for a repressive, sectarian regime that does not believe in democracy and political pluralism.

By Dr. Jebril El-Abidi