Iranian Elections Subvert the Rule of Law

Iranian Elections Subvert the Rule of Law

For a regime that claims to follow the tenets of Islam, the Iranian government casts the official state religion in a poor light by running parliamentary elections on a Friday , the weekly day of worship for faithful Moslems, a decision based upon the ends justifying the coercive and corrupt means.

With regard to coercion, reformist candidacies were nonexistent. True political opposition has been suppressed by force and intimidation. Opposition leaders have been jailed on trumped up charges for the de facto "crime" of rejecting the status quo. Other reform candidates were disqualified from running on spurious grounds.

This left two hard-line factions jockeying for power, those who favor Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and those allied with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It is a non-choice between competitors who do not respect human rights and are intent on creating a nuclear armed regime that intends to wipe Israel off the planet.

With President Ahmadinejad's power waning as a lame duck who cannot seek reelection in 2013, the key message to take from these parliamentary elections is the consolidation of power by Supreme Leader Khamenei by any means necessary, including a sham voting franchise.

They say there is no honor among thieves, and the same can be said between the rival hardliners jousting for parliament seats. Reported corruption includes buying votes with cell phone SIM cards and even gold coins.

The regime is also inflating voter turnout numbers to justify its existence and to send a message to the international community that continues to impose sanctions upon it. In addition to those who cannot vote because of imprisonment or government-sanctioned murder in recent years, countless others are boycotting the sham elections.

It is also interesting to note certain media being manipulated by the regime to spin the election in a favorable light, including pictures showing women casting their ballots. Such photos bring to mind the gender discrimination inherent in such theocracies.

First, the women are clad from head-to-toe in regime-approved attire. To wear anything else would be to risk imprisonment, beatings, rapes, canings, and stoning. Second, does anyone truly think these women voters have the freedom to vote their consciences or even dissent by refusing to vote in a rigged election?

The international community should not consider the voting that occurred to be a step towards reform, a respect for fundamental human rights, or a change of heart by those in power. To the contrary, the sham elections subvert the rule of law by putting illusory clothes of ersatz legitimacy upon the ethically naked tyrants who oppress the Iranian people through brute force and manipulation of Islamic tenets.  Someone should tell them - when the emperor has no clothes, all the world can still see.

Recommend Reading

Voting ends in Iran's parliamentary polls; UK says elections not free and fair, Al Arabiya News (Mar. 2, 2012)

Ayatollah's call for Iran to stand against 'arrogant powers' in election, UK Telegraph (Mar. 2, 2012)

Voting Ends in Iran's Parliamentary Elections, VOA (Mar. 2, 2012)

Vote seen bolstering Khamenei's power, Gulf News (Mar. 3, 2012)