Preparations for Presidential Election in Iran Begin with Media Crackdown, Claims of Sedition

The Islamic republic is neither Islamic nor a Republic, the dissident Ayatollah Montazeri declared in 2009.



The Islamic Republic of Iran will hold its tenth presidential election this summer. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who won his second term in a contentious election with a brutal aftermath in 2009 is not eligible to run for a third term. Candidates for the presidency have to be approved by the Guardian Council, half of which is appointed by the supreme leader, the highest authority in Iran. Seeking to avoid a repeat of the chaos in 2009, Iran's leadership has already begun to lay out the framework for this summer's election, arresting more than a dozen journalists in the last two days. At the same time, calls for "free elections" are interpreted as acts of sedition. From Al-Monitor:

Commander Yadollah Javani, one of the most vocal members of the Revolutionary Guards and a close ally of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has written the lead article in the Guards' weekly newspaper, Sobh-e Sadegh, by the name of "Is the Slogan of 'Free Election' the Code of Another Sedition?"

The article is alluding to statements made by a number of reformist politicians, but also moderate figures such as former President Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and even incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in which they have called on people to be vigilant in order to ensure that a "free election" is held for the Islamic Republic's presidency this summer.

The suggestion that the election will not be "free" was very quickly rebutted by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well as numerous other conservative political figures, and deemed an effort on the part of hostile elements to instil doubt among the populace with respect to the future election's fairness and trustworthiness.

In the editorial (portions of which are available through the Al-Monitor link above), Javani actually describes the bloody aftermath of the controversial 2009 elections " the biggest and most complex conspiracy against the Islamic Revolution" in Iran.

As for nuclear policy, the Iranian regime's English-language press outlet, Press TV, reports that the election will be inconsequential. "There's a consensus among the politicians in Iran of various political backgrounds that the nuclear program is Iran's right and they'll pursue it," Press TV quotes a Tehran professor as saying. It may also be inconsequential because most of the real power in Iran is wielded by the supreme leader, on whom elections have no effect. The current supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamanei, in fact, started off as an Iranian president. He served as Iran's third president, from 1981 to 1989, officially winning election with 97.1 percent of the vote after the first Iranian president was impeached at the behest of Ayatollah Khomeini and the second was assassinated shortly thereafter.

When Khomeini, leader of the Iranian revolution and its first supreme leader, died, Khamenei succeeded him despite not being an ayatollah as Khomeini's own constitution required. Khomeini's original designated successor, Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazeri, fell out of favor after condemning Khomeini's mass executions just a few years before he would've succeeded him. He remained a fixture in Iranian politics however, criticizing Ahmadinejad for being unnecessarily provocative in regards to nuclear policy in 2007 and speaking out during the 2009 presidential election, calling Iran out as neither Islamic nor a republic.

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  1. So you’re saying that their system is pretty much just like ours?

    1. Moral equivalency for the epic loss.

      1. And yet, there’s truth to it.

        Most of the media is controlled by one party (and what’s left by another)

        We have dissenters in jail, ranging from Wesley Snipes to Bernard von NotHaus.

        Political movements are labeled as “terrorist” by law enforcement (both the Tea Party and Occupy, though the latter certainly gets much more favorable treatment and law enforcement, since their goal is more government)

        1. Precisely my point.

        2. There’s absolutely no comparison.

          NBC could come out tomorrow and rip on BO and everything he stands for, and he’d be powerless to punish them in any coercive way. True, the likelihood of them doing this is slim, but that’s a choice they themselves have made. The govt isn’t forcing them to toe the party line. Partisan media != state controlled media.

          Not to mention the incredible array of opinions available through internet media. Do you seriously think anything similar to Reason or Hit & Run would be permitted in Iran?

          Snipes is in jail for tax evasion and von NotHaus for counterfeiting. Those aren’t political crimes, regardless of what you think the merits of those prosecutions are.

          And let me know when law enforcement actually starts jailing Tea Partiers as terrorists and breaking up their protests. A bunch of geeks at West Point sniffing their own farts does not a law enforcement crackdown make.

          1. NBC could come out tomorrow and rip on BO and everything he stands for, and he’d be powerless to punish them in any coercive way

            Nah, he’d just hit them with a surprise IRS audit.


      2. Humorless prig.

        But really, how is this news? Iran has a repressive, autocratic, theocratic fuckwaddery in charge. Grass is green, water is wet, and th sky s blue.

        Isn’t it more important that we look to our own system, which does, indeed, need our vigilance?

  2. At the same time, calls for “free elections” are interpreted as acts of sedition.

    What could be more seditious than suggesting a human institution such as government could be fallible or corrupted.

  3. Even the Guardians can detect whistle words.

  4. Springtime for Arabs!

  5. It may also be inconsequential because most of the real power in Iran is wielded by the supreme leader, on whom elections have no effect. The current supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamanei, in fact, started off as an Iranian president.

    This can’t be stated often enough- especially for the tone-deaf mainstream media. I remember during the last elections reading editorials from people like Rick Steves writing heartfelt editorials about how meaningful this or that election will be for Iran’s future, all the while ignoring the painful fact that while the Pepsi Candidate may seem (to us westerners) as a real departure from the Coke candidate, both candidates were chosen by the supreme Ayatolla.

    This isn’t a democracy even in the barest definition. The ability to cast a vote makes not a democracy.

  6. Hey, the Supreme Leader assures everyone the elections are free. What more could anyone want?

  7. OKm I dont get it. Who comes up with all that crazy stuff?

  8. If you think Gerald`s story is flabbergasting,, two weaks-ago my friend’s dad actually earned $8064 grafting a sixteen hour week from there apartment and the’re neighbor’s step-aunt`s neighbour has been doing this for 7-months and got paid more than $8064 in their spare time on their mac. applie the guide available on this page……

    1. I thought bots were supposed to get smarter?

      You can read this over and over (but don’t!) and find new stupid every time. It’s a bottomless pit of stupid.

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