Telling Takeaways From Second Iranian Presidential Debate
NCRI - Since the inception of Iran’s clerical regime in 1979, the reactionary mullahs, who hijacked the anti-Shah movement and dashed the Iranian people’s hopes for true democracy, have used the façade of popular elections to mask the illegitimacy of their intolerant and brutal rule under the guise of religion. Like other contemporary authoritarian regimes, this regime claims electoral victories as a license to operate brutally and dictatorially inside its borders, and to violently and subversively export its virulent fanaticism to neighboring countries and worldwide.
Every few years, elections are organized where scores of candidates are systematically disqualified based on an ideological test of total loyalty to the country’s supreme leader.
By definition, Iran’s elections are a total sham; no one who opposes the mullahs’ principle of religious absolutism and its brand of so-called Islam is allowed a voice, much less a place on the ballot. The exclusion of all opposition voices is codified in the country’s laws and enforced by the Council of Guardians. However, the regime continues to abuse the democratic façade to boast of legitimacy, while in fact its power base continues to shrink considerably.
As an example of this, the Iranian regime recently staged presidential debates to stir interest in this dull contest between mullah and mullah, and Guard and Guard.
The participants are extremely careful not to say anything that will stir public protests or reveal the fundamental failures of their regime. Despite the candidates’ careful tiptoeing around the heavily mismanaged economy, the quagmire in Syria, the poor getting poorer, and college-educated youth who lack employment opportunities and jobs, it is clear to all viewers that the current regime is a bankrupt political system that lacks the capacity to meet the hopes and demands of Iran’s people.
Here are a few highlights from the most recent debate broadcast by state television on May 5:
Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf (Mayor of Tehran): I want to point to something that happened between the last debate and this one. A suspicious consignment of several tons of contraband clothing was discovered recently in a villa that belongs to a minister of the current government… Why is the minister of education making such imports? Moreover, such unnecessary goods… This was not even a ministry related industries or economy. This is a cause of concern for the people…. How can people trust the government? How can people trust this? How can pensioners trust this?
Hassan Rouhani (current President): How can Mr Ghalibaf slander a minister with such a misplaced allegation before it is investigated? ... A university in Shiraz invited a member of parliament to speak and your friends prevented the speech by attacking his car with bricks…
Mostafa Mirsalim: Teachers are in a horrible situation. They are forced to work two or three shifts a day to gain a salary to survive…
Eshagh Jahangiri (current Vice President): I admit that our teachers do not enjoy good living standards… About what Mr Ghalibaf accuses, suddenly we hear that contraband was found in the house of a minister. This minister’s daughter has a graduate degree but is unemployed. Therefore, she chose an honorable job to import goods. The goods were only about $70,000 worth of clothing …
Ebrahim Raisi (candidate of Khamenei faction- member of Death Committee during the 1988 massacre of political prisoners): We have at least 1 million college graduates that do not have work. We hear that about $2.5 billion has been embezzled from the teachers’ pension fund. How can such an embezzlement take place when so many teachers cannot make ends meet? … Today unemployment of the youth and college graduates is the most important issue that we face.
Ghalibaf- Our schools, our universities face difficulties, our teachers cannot have an easy life, our retired teachers face difficulties, those teachers who are under contract are not paid for several years, these problems are for a 4 percent government (the government privileges only 4 percent of its forces and its authorities who are well-off and 96 percent cannot afford their daily needs) … this is the result of 4 percent misusing their positions … look… smuggling goods and currency is our most important problem, look… the minister of education goes to Italy and buys dress for his children, so do you think our economy will recover ?Never... As Mr. Jahangiri said even a minister’s daughter has no job; she is innocent... so what must our poor people do? What is their destiny? Can they do the same? It is shameful for a cultural society that its teachers live like this... And the condition of its students makes their family say please change the timework of our daughters because we have only one veil and they have to use it when they go to work... they must change their shoes... at the same time the minister imports dress from other countries... I am talking about those who are paid 57 or 100 or 200 million tomans... These are the resources of our revolution... Importing what... Who is innocent? …
Raisi: Nothing has been changed in the people’s standard of living; are the problems solved? Has there been any solution for unemployment, recession or your business problems after the ratification of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)? I am asking our people and I am talking about the empty tables, this is while Mr. Rouhani had promised with very robust emphasis, that right after signing the JCPOA, all the sanctions will be lifted unilaterally!
Ghalibaf: who is suffering? The people. Who is privileged? The 4 percenters! Just look how many commodities the Europeans have sold us, because for the time being the JCPOA has turned Iran into an import center for Europeans, whereas our banks are head to toe in collusion, and oppressing people. If there is ever any opportunity it will be seized by the same 4 percenters again.
Hashemi Taba: with the same brokerage fees they were selling oil, the super luxurious cars fabricated by one of the German companies that had sanctioned us have been imported to our country.
Jahangiri: I am well aware of the disastrous results of creating fake bipolarization and conflict among people and I feel alarmed these days.
Meanwhile, there is a widespread call to boycott of the regime’s illegitimate show of elections by the youth, teachers, college-graduates, and pensioners. All throughout Iran posters of Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi, declaring her as the people’s choice for President, and graffiti against the regime has been propping up.