The incumbent Hassan Rouhani has been selected, not elected, to a second-term as the mullahs’ president in Iran. At 12:30 pm local time reports from inside Iran announced the near final results, claiming nearly 40 million casted their ballots, with around 23 million voting for Rouhani and 15.5 million for his main challenger Ebrahim Raisi, a senior cleric known for his close relations with the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and believed by many to be his preferred candidate for the role.
With Rouhani set to start a second term, his promises of improving the economy and the human rights situation, will be placed to test. His first tenure, however, was riddled with many un-kept pledges, following a history of Iranian presidents failing to deliver on highly boasted promises.
Rouhani’s first four years were engulfed with nothing but mounting executions – over 3,000 to be exact – and an intense crackdown campaign, rampaging poverty and injustice in the domestic stage; and intensifying foreign meddling and skyrocketing military/security budgets alongside efforts to advance the regime’s ballistic missile drive.
The most important impact of another four years of Rouhani as president is the beginning of a highly intensified power struggle and intense dispersion amongst the regime’s ranks and files. Such a phenomenon has the potential of launching a major outburst from Iran’s powder keg society as the people will realize the potential of growing rifts amongst the regime’s senior hierarchy. This upsurge in energy will be targeting the regime in its entirety and leading to its end.
On Friday the regime resorted to a known tactic of flocking its dwindling social base to a certain number of polling stations in Tehran and other major cities, and herding foreign journalists through a preplanned tour of only a handful of such sites to prove its claim of a high voter turnout.
Throughout the day, however, dissident activists from across the country took to social media and posted reports, images and video clips of vacant polling stations. This provided a true window into the reality that the mullahs seek to cloak and resort to desperate measures in this regard. Despite this effort, the semi-official Fars news agency was forced to acknowledge the low voter turnout.
Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), fearing escalating popular protests, failed to finalize their election engineering endeavor of pulling their preferred rabbit, here being Raisi, out of their elections hat. Public hatred and abhorrence of Raisi for his notorious role in the 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners – victims comprising mostly of members and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) – reached such a climax that even many senior Khamenei faction figures refused to place their weight behind his drive.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), known as the main Iranian opposition coalition, was behind a massive election boycott campaign in cities across Iran.
“The sole solution for the mullahs in Iran is through regime change. The international community and Middle East states should adopt a firm policy vis-à-vis Tehran,” said NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Mohammad Mohaddessin.
“This regime cannot and must not enjoy further impunity despite the crimes it has committed inside its own borders and abroad. The IRGC deserves to be designated as a foreign terrorist organization and regime officials must face justice for their crimes against humanity and war crimes. It is high time for the world to acknowledge the Iranian people’s demand for an end to the mullahs’ rule after nearly four decades of suffering.”
As Rouhani’s first term resulted in a curb of the nuclear program, there is talk about Khamenei succumbing to a second term for Rouhani paving the path for the international community to demand Iran significantly downgrade its meddling across the Middle East and rein in the ballistic missile program.
Rouhani reaching a second term proves the fact that Khamenei, being the final arbiter in his regime especially on national security and foreign affairs, could not overlook the general population launching widespread protests in the months leading to the election. This outrage has undoubtedly raised alarm bells amongst the regime’s senior ranks, echoing the threat of a possible 2009-scenario repeat that rattled the regime’s very foundation.
The stage is now set for the international community to correct its failed 38-year long approach on Tehran. The will of the Iranian people, voiced by their organized opposition represented by the NCRI, should be taken into account. This will be the correct platform to bring an end to nearly four decades of Iran’s threats and violence.