Western media delusions about Iranian 'moderates' and 'free' elections

Iran is holding parliamentary elections today, and according to reports on the ground, turnout is huge.

Reuters:

There were early signs of enthusiastic participation in Iran's first polls since a nuclear deal last year led to a lifting of sanctions and deeper diplomatic engagement abroad.

Long queues formed at polling stations in the capital and state television showed throngs of voters in Ahvaz and Shiraz. It was unclear how the turnout might shape the outcome.

The vote could determine whether the Islamic Republic continues to emerge from effective diplomatic and economic quarantine after years of sanctions.

"Whoever likes Iran and its dignity, greatness and glory should vote. Iran has enemies. They are eyeing us greedily," Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Khamenei said after casting his vote, in a reference to Western powers.

"Turnout in the elections should be so high to disappoint our enemies ... People should be observant and vote with open eyes and should vote wisely."

At stake is control of the 290-seat parliament and the 88-member Assembly of Experts, the body that has the power to appoint and dismiss the supreme leader, Iran's most powerful figure. Both are currently in the hands of hardliners.

During its next eight-year term it could name the successor to Khamenei, who is 76 and has been in power since 1989.

Supporters of President Hassan Rouhani, who championed the nuclear deal and is likely to seek a second presidential term next year, are pitted against conservatives deeply opposed to detente with Western powers.

“This is my religious duty to vote as Imam Khamenei said. My vote is a slap in the face of Islam’s enemies,” said 23-year old Hassan Ali Mehri in the holy Shi’ite city of Qom, saying the West "wants to harm our country and Islam".

“I will vote because I like Rouhani and his policies. We should be patient and help him by voting for moderate candidates,” said housewife Mina Sabri, 56, in the northwestern city of Orumiyeh.

"Moderate candidates"?  What does an Iranian "moderate" look like?  Western media tosses around that word as if it means the same thing in the West as it means in Iran.  But in truth, there are no "moderates" in Iran.  They all want to destroy Israel.  They all believe that sharia law should be the law of the land.  They all believe in the supremecy of the clergy.  And they all want "Death to America."

This is "moderate"?

You don't get to run for office in Iran unless you believe those basic positions.

In a sign of heightened interest in electoral politics, some 12,000 Iranians registered to run in the election for Parliament, more than double the 5,405 who registered in 2012. Yet, more than 7,000 of those would-be candidates were disqualified by the Council of Guardians, a 12-member group appointed partly by the supreme leader and partly by the judiciary.

Last week, nine reformist political parties complained that the council had approved only 30 of the 3,000 moderates who registered, and urged top leaders to reverse the disqualifications. Of the 801 candidates who had filed to run for the Assembly of Experts, only 166 were approved.

On Tuesday came word that not even the grandson of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who founded the Islamic Republic in 1979, could pass muster with the ideologues who are determined to maintain control and resist change. The grandson, Hassan Khomeini, a cleric, wanted to run for the Assembly of Experts but was told that the council could not establish his “scientific qualifications.”

The council has not publicly explained what that means, but it seems likely that Mr. Khomeini was rejected because he is close to Mr. Rouhani and other reformers. Human Rights Watch says it reviewed documents that show significant numbers of candidates were disqualified for their political opinions.

The Guardian Council is responsible for vetting candidates for parliament, the Assembly of Experts, and the presidency.  The Council is mostly made up of members hand-picked by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.  To believe that any candidates running in the election are "moderate" is to believe in forest elfs and unicorns. 

Yes, there is factionalism.  But it is rarely about policy.  Most of the factions jockey for the best position to rob the Iranian people by looting industries and companies.  And the champion looters are the Revolutionary Guards, under the direct control of Khamenei. 

And what about these "elections"?  There are no international monitors in place to judge how fair and open they are.  In fact, the entire electoral apparatus from choosing which candidates can run to vote-counting is under the direct control of Khamenei.  One need only look at the 2009 presidential election to see how far the regime will go to get the election result they want.

All of this makes reporting on the parliamentary elections delusional.  The real story will never be told, because the Western press can't bring itself to tell the truth about the fanatics who run Iran.

Iran is holding parliamentary elections today, and according to reports on the ground, turnout is huge.

Reuters:

There were early signs of enthusiastic participation in Iran's first polls since a nuclear deal last year led to a lifting of sanctions and deeper diplomatic engagement abroad.

Long queues formed at polling stations in the capital and state television showed throngs of voters in Ahvaz and Shiraz. It was unclear how the turnout might shape the outcome.

The vote could determine whether the Islamic Republic continues to emerge from effective diplomatic and economic quarantine after years of sanctions.

"Whoever likes Iran and its dignity, greatness and glory should vote. Iran has enemies. They are eyeing us greedily," Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Khamenei said after casting his vote, in a reference to Western powers.

"Turnout in the elections should be so high to disappoint our enemies ... People should be observant and vote with open eyes and should vote wisely."

At stake is control of the 290-seat parliament and the 88-member Assembly of Experts, the body that has the power to appoint and dismiss the supreme leader, Iran's most powerful figure. Both are currently in the hands of hardliners.

During its next eight-year term it could name the successor to Khamenei, who is 76 and has been in power since 1989.

Supporters of President Hassan Rouhani, who championed the nuclear deal and is likely to seek a second presidential term next year, are pitted against conservatives deeply opposed to detente with Western powers.

“This is my religious duty to vote as Imam Khamenei said. My vote is a slap in the face of Islam’s enemies,” said 23-year old Hassan Ali Mehri in the holy Shi’ite city of Qom, saying the West "wants to harm our country and Islam".

“I will vote because I like Rouhani and his policies. We should be patient and help him by voting for moderate candidates,” said housewife Mina Sabri, 56, in the northwestern city of Orumiyeh.

"Moderate candidates"?  What does an Iranian "moderate" look like?  Western media tosses around that word as if it means the same thing in the West as it means in Iran.  But in truth, there are no "moderates" in Iran.  They all want to destroy Israel.  They all believe that sharia law should be the law of the land.  They all believe in the supremecy of the clergy.  And they all want "Death to America."

This is "moderate"?

You don't get to run for office in Iran unless you believe those basic positions.

In a sign of heightened interest in electoral politics, some 12,000 Iranians registered to run in the election for Parliament, more than double the 5,405 who registered in 2012. Yet, more than 7,000 of those would-be candidates were disqualified by the Council of Guardians, a 12-member group appointed partly by the supreme leader and partly by the judiciary.

Last week, nine reformist political parties complained that the council had approved only 30 of the 3,000 moderates who registered, and urged top leaders to reverse the disqualifications. Of the 801 candidates who had filed to run for the Assembly of Experts, only 166 were approved.

On Tuesday came word that not even the grandson of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who founded the Islamic Republic in 1979, could pass muster with the ideologues who are determined to maintain control and resist change. The grandson, Hassan Khomeini, a cleric, wanted to run for the Assembly of Experts but was told that the council could not establish his “scientific qualifications.”

The council has not publicly explained what that means, but it seems likely that Mr. Khomeini was rejected because he is close to Mr. Rouhani and other reformers. Human Rights Watch says it reviewed documents that show significant numbers of candidates were disqualified for their political opinions.

The Guardian Council is responsible for vetting candidates for parliament, the Assembly of Experts, and the presidency.  The Council is mostly made up of members hand-picked by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.  To believe that any candidates running in the election are "moderate" is to believe in forest elfs and unicorns. 

Yes, there is factionalism.  But it is rarely about policy.  Most of the factions jockey for the best position to rob the Iranian people by looting industries and companies.  And the champion looters are the Revolutionary Guards, under the direct control of Khamenei. 

And what about these "elections"?  There are no international monitors in place to judge how fair and open they are.  In fact, the entire electoral apparatus from choosing which candidates can run to vote-counting is under the direct control of Khamenei.  One need only look at the 2009 presidential election to see how far the regime will go to get the election result they want.

All of this makes reporting on the parliamentary elections delusional.  The real story will never be told, because the Western press can't bring itself to tell the truth about the fanatics who run Iran.