Ebrahim Raisi
Ebrahim Raisiצילום: רויטרס

As the curtain falls on Ebrahim Raisi's turbulent tenure, his administration, marked not only by its ineffectiveness but also by its unwavering brutality, prepares to exit within the next 3-4 weeks.

Over these last three years, Raisi's government, alongside its entire cabinet, has showcased a profound capacity for oppression but little else, leaving behind a legacy tarnished by the violent suppression of numerous groups including every form of domestic dissent including retirees, workers, students, farmers, teachers, and those defrauded by various schemes. This oppression has also exacerbated national crises.

The past two years have particularly highlighted the regime’s draconian response to nationwide protests against both religious tyranny and a myriad of economic issues, with actions from the government and its military and security institutions intensifying—resulting in an alarming escalation of summons, interrogations, arrests, and a spate of executions.

Moreover, the regime has not confined its atrocities to domestic matters but has extended its reach abroad, collaborating with Russian forces in Ukraine and inciting Islamic terrorist groups against Israel, further cementing its reputation for savagery on the international stage.

Yet the prospect of change remains bleak. Any hope for reform or deviation from this path of brutality under the upcoming 14th government of the Islamic regime seems futile. The regime continues to turn the pages of a playbook filled with oppression and disregard for civil liberties, operating under a theocratic framework where the president serves merely as a figurehead, a puppet to the overarching authority of regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The electoral voice and opinion of the populace are systematically ignored, highlighting a stark disconnect between the government’s actions and the will of its people.

The imminent departure of Raisi has stirred little more than speculative debates on his successor, with the real contenders likely being maneuvered behind the scenes by Khamenei through the influential Guardian Council. Early assessments suggest a continuation of the status quo, with no genuine competition or public engagement in the farcical electoral process. This orchestrated approach to governance has led to widespread public disillusionment, prompting a significant portion of society to lean towards boycotting what they dismiss as a mere electoral charade.

The electoral landscape is cluttered with candidates from various factions of the regime, yet none command genuine public credibility or respect. Traditional conservatives may rally behind figures like Saeed Jalili and Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, although their impact and appeal remain uncertain. The IRGC are poised to endorse their own candidates, such as Hossein Dehghan and Parviz Fattah, both known for their hardline stances and loyalty to military doctrines and closeness to intelligence circles.

Furthermore, controversial figures like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mohsen Rezaei are also in the fray, each bearing the burden of a problematic past that significantly undermines their appeal. The former, once disgraced and ostracized from the political elite, seeks a return, while the latter, known for his repeated and unsuccessful bids, faces ridicule both from within the government and the public at large. It symbolizes the regime's cyclic redundancy.

Reformists, tangled in their own web of corruption and closely tied to the existing power structure, express a desire to perpetuate the regime’s longevity while masquerading as agents of change. Yet, they receive little support from Khamenei, who shows a clear reluctance to involve them meaningfully in the electoral process. This faction remains marginalized, with scant hope of gaining traction or investing in a viable candidate.

As for the mullahs like Alireza Arafi and Mohseni Ejei, their potential candidacies are anticipated yet predictably aligned with the regime's conservative ideologies.

The ultimate lineup for the elections will depend heavily on Khamenei's endorsements and the Guardian Council's strategic selections, underscoring the orchestrated nature of Iranian elections.

As registration for candidates begins on May 30, the Guardian Council, under Khamenei’s watchful eye, will dictate the final slate of candidates, reinforcing the predetermined nature of the elections. Campaigning is set to commence on June 12, leading up to the vote on June 28. Yet, the outcome is all but certain—another display of manipulated electoral integrity where the true sentiments of the Iranian populace are likely to be overshadowed by fabricated voter turnout and state-sanctioned candidates.

Three years ago, Raisi purportedly secured 18 million votes against a backdrop of 4 million spoiled ballots—a statistic that today, amidst heightened public disillusionment, seems implausible at best. The regime, fearful of the true strength of public dissent, continues to rely on propaganda, number fabrication, and outright deceit to maintain its grip on power.

In conclusion, as Iran stands on the precipice of another orchestrated electoral exercise, the contrast between the democratic processes observed in more open societies and the theatrical displays within Iran could not be starker. The global community, particularly the international media, must strive to penetrate beyond the regime’s narrative, shedding light on the genuine struggles and aspirations of the Iranian people who yearn for authentic change and democratic governance. As the regime prepares to stage yet another show of electoral compliance, the people of Iran continue their gradual but resolute march towards awakening, challenging the foundations of a theocracy that has long overstayed its welcome.

It must be noted that elections are not actually held in Iran; rather, what transpires is a farcical spectacle full of sophistry. These are neither free nor competitive events. Khamenei and the IRGC perceive America as vulnerable, having attacked American forces 175 times without any significant response from the United States. The White House, particularly under Democratic leadership, seems primarily interested in maintaining the status quo- or worse.

The main candidates in the upcoming U.S. elections, occurring five months after Iran's early elections, understand that the policies of the Islamic Republic will not change with the mere alteration of the president's name. They are aware that over 70% of the candidates participating in Iran’s elections are high-ranking commanders of the IRGC.

The future president of Iran will not be a true representative of the Iranian people, but a figure trusted by Khamenei and the IRGC—a repressor, anti-American, and anti-Israeli. Undoubtedly, U.S. intelligence and security agencies are aware that the Iranian people do not trust Khamenei’s appointees and desire a regime change in Tehran.