So, the smoke has cleared, and Iran’s presidential candidates have been announced. Despite all the attention that Iran receives when it holds “elections”, what should be clear to anyone that pays attention to events in that country is that the system is not democratic. You may have noticed that this week two of the most prominent politicians in Iran were disqualified from the race.
Even though the men disqualified are far from model democrats, the fact that a system can vet candidates for an “elected” office through a group of unelected and unaccountable clerics is enough to negate any democratic legitimacy that the Islamic Republic seeks to cling to.
Oh, and by the way, two of the men who have been allowed are wanted for murder in the 1995 AMIA bombings in Argentina. Charming.
Add to this the memory of what happened last time Iran held an “election” in 2009 (the brutal repression of pro-democracy forces) and you are left to wonder just why the regime goes through the trouble of this exercise. Our take here is that it is simply so that they can claim that democratic legitimacy they crave.
As outsiders there isn’t much we can do to address the cruelties of this regime. A simple thing that we can do this “election” season is this. Recognize this regime for what it is, not what it wants to be. Don’t call it an election, and don’t pretend that it is democratic.