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Iranian Regime's Sham 'Elections' - Perpetuating the Deception - by Majid Rafizadeh for the Gatestone Institute - 09.03.24

Iran's so-called "elections" stand out as a grotesque parody of democracy. Yet... the mainstream Western media persistently mislabel these charades as "elections," thereby bestowing legitimacy upon a regime entrenched in authoritarianism and dictatorship.


For decades, Iranians have endured oppression, censorship, and violence at the hands of a regime that masquerades as a legitimate government while trampling on their basic rights. To dismiss their struggle by equating their aspirations for freedom with a sham electoral spectacle is to disregard the sacrifices made by countless activists, journalists and ordinary citizens who dare to dream of a better future.


It sends a dangerous message to the Iranian people and to the world at large: that autocracy masquerading as democracy is acceptable, and that tyranny can cloak itself in the trappings of legitimacy.


Now, as the Iranian regime is about to realize its dream of obtaining nuclear weapons, does anyone think that a government that treats its own people so brutally will treat its neighbours any better?


Iran's sham "elections" are nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to legitimize authoritarian rule. By mis-labelling these orchestrated spectacles as elections, mainstream Western media perpetuate the regime's propaganda and undermine the struggle for democracy within Iran. It is time to call out this charade for what it is and lend our voices to the chorus demanding true democracy and freedom for the Iranian people.


It is time to strip away the facade and expose Iran's sham for what it truly is: a farce engineered to maintain the ruling elite.


In the annals of political theatre, Iran's so-called "elections" stand out as a grotesque parody of democracy. Yet, despite the blatant manipulation and lack of genuine choice, the mainstream Western media persistently mislabel these charades as "elections," thereby bestowing legitimacy upon a regime entrenched in authoritarianism and dictatorship.


It is time to strip away the facade and expose Iran's sham for what it truly is: a farce engineered to maintain the ruling elite. They seem determined to keep ruling over a citizenship that has demonstrated time and again that it does not want them.


The New York Times, CNN, and other influential media outlets, as well as many Western politicians, are complicit in perpetuating this deception by referring to Iran's rigged processes as "elections." Such misnomers not only distort reality but also lend unwarranted credibility to a system designed to crush dissent and consolidate power in the hands of a few.


Labelling Iran's rigged process as an "election" not only misleads the international community but also deeply insults the Iranian people, many of whom bravely risk their lives in the quest for genuine democracy. For decades, Iranians have endured oppression, censorship and violence at the hands of a regime that masquerades as a legitimate government while trampling on their basic rights. To dismiss their struggle by equating their aspirations for freedom with a sham electoral spectacle is to disregard the sacrifices made by countless activists, journalists and ordinary citizens who dare to dream of a better future. Calling this charade an election not only delegitimizes their fight for democracy but also serves to embolden the very regime they seek to overthrow.


Let us dissect the mechanics of Iran's electoral masquerade. Before a candidate's name even graces the ballot, they must pass the litmus test of approval by the Guardian Council. This unelected body, composed of 12 members, wields disproportionate power in vetting candidates, ensuring that only those sanctioned by the regime's inner circle, including anti-American and anti-Semitic people, are permitted to participate.


The composition of the Guardian Council itself reeks of institutionalized bias and manipulation. Of its 12 members, six are handpicked directly by the individual whom the media refer to as Iran's "Supreme Leader," but whom I call the Supreme Dictator, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's de facto ruler. This gives Khamenei unchecked authority to shape the council according to his whims and desires. The remaining six members are nominated by the head of the Sharia judicial system, a position also appointed by none other than the Supreme Leader himself. The result? A stacked deck, where dissenting voices are systematically silenced, and the illusion of choice is maintained under the guise of democracy.

 

To call this rigged selection process an "election" is an insult to the principles of genuine democratic governance. It is akin to labeling a staged performance as spontaneous theater, or a puppet show as a display of free will. Iran's regime orchestrates this elaborate charade not to uphold the will of the people but to perpetuate its grip on power and stifle any opposition.


The consequences of this sham extend far beyond Iran's borders; By legitimizing these fake elections, Western media, perhaps inadvertently, bolster the regime's oppressive tactics and undermine the struggle for democracy and human rights within Iran. It sends a dangerous message to the Iranian people and to the world at large: that autocracy masquerading as democracy is acceptable, and that tyranny can cloak itself in the trappings of legitimacy.


Moreover, the international community's failure to condemn Iran's electoral farce only emboldens the regime to further entrench its authoritarian rule. Without robust sanctions, scrutiny and condemnation, the regime faces no meaningful repercussions for its blatant disregard for democratic norms and human rights.


Now, as the Iranian regime is about to realize its dream of obtaining nuclear weapons, does anyone think that a government that treats its own people so brutally will treat its neighbors any better?


It is time for Western media and the global community to speak the truth and loudly reject the false narrative of Iran's "elections." Instead of perpetuating the illusion of choice, let us shine a spotlight on the regime's repressive tactics and stand in solidarity with the Iranian people who yearn for genuine democracy and freedom.


Iran's sham "elections" are nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt to legitimize authoritarian rule. By mislabeling these orchestrated spectacles as elections, mainstream Western media perpetuate the regime's propaganda and undermine the struggle for democracy within Iran. It is time to call out this charade for what it is and lend our voices to the chorus demanding true democracy and freedom for the Iranian people.


Anything less would be a betrayal of our shared values and a tacit endorsement of tyranny. It is time to honor the courage and resilience of the Iranian people by refusing to whitewash the regime's tyranny with deceptive language and, instead, standing in solidarity with their quest for genuine democracy and human rights.



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Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US Foreign Policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu



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