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Iran Regime’s Deadlock Over Elections and FATF

Iran Regime’s Deadlock Over Elections and FATF
Iran: Mullahs Regime’s Deadlock Over Elections and FATF

As the Iranian regime’s downfall becomes definite and within reach, infighting between the regime’s rival factions over prolonging the regime’s life accelerates. Each faction describes its own way as a breakthrough for the regime’s constant crises, accusing the other faction of leading the system to its downfall.

The regime has two other devastating crises. One is the Parliamentary election and the adoption of the Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation, related to the work of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which the regime needs to access the world’s banking system.

The regime’s Guardian Council supervises elections and candidates. This Council is directly under the control of the regime’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. Therefore, the Council has disqualified over 90 members of the regime’s current parliament, and they cannot run as candidates in the next election. Most of these disqualified candidates are from the rival faction, close to the regime’s president, Hassan Rouhani.

This is an attempt by Khamenei to unify his regime.

This has enraged Rouhani and its faction, since they are endeavoring for more share of power. On the other hand, it has terrified them, because the regime’s infightings will ultimately pave the way for more protests; and the nationwide Iran protests in November have proven that the Iranian people won’t relent until they successfully topple the regime.

Rouhani also referred to the four-decade-long electoral engineering by the regime and added that he will not let the rival faction do this and will prevent it in favor if his own faction through his Interior Ministry that will control ballot boxes and will gather votes. He said: “We must be aware. Many elections face problems in the vote-count process…” This was a clear message to the regime’s supreme leader that Rouhani and his faction want more share of power.

Rouhani, at the conference of governors gathered from across the country, begged for more share of power and said to the rival faction that “Nobody is above the law.”

“Lest the election becomes a formality and turns into a selection rather than election,” he added. The regime is already terrified of what it calls the lowest percentage of participation in the election.

“Incidents of December 2017 emboldened Trump to stand against us and encouraged our enemies,” he added, in reference to the first set of major Iran protests. “We must not forget that we should be friends in need. Let’s be united on the election day,” he said, indirectly addressing Khamenei. His remarks once again confirm that their priority is not the Iranian people’s rights and improving their living conditions. It is rather a race to have more share of power and to prolong the regime’s life.

FATF Deadlock

In addition to the elections, the regime has another political deadlock that has intensified its infightings. This is adopting the FATF, particularly the CFT legislation.

The regime’s Expediency Council has not yet declared its decision over whether to adopt the CFT legislation. The one-year deadline for this organization expired on January 21.

The regime’s most significant problem with adopting the CFT is the obstacles it imposes on the regime in funding terrorist groups. The regime needs its proxy terrorist groups to preserve its so-called “national authority” or rather the regime’s security. On the other hand, since the country’s economy is being controlled by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) which is considered as a terrorist entity by the U.S. government, adopting the CFT will prevent the regime from allowing the IRGC to control the economy. Draining the IRGC’s financial resources, as the regime’s vital oppressive force is not acceptable for the regime, as the possibility of more uprisings emerge. Therefore, Khamenei’s faction calls this “self-sanctioning.”

Rouhani’s faction, however, tries to have more share of power and prolong the regime’s life via clinging to the western powers.  This is also impossible, since the western governments, especially the U.S., demand specific measures from the regime, including the end of its meddling in the regional countries’ affairs and support for terrorism. This is impossible for the regime, since export of terrorism abroad and domestic oppression are its two pillars of existence.

Devasted and enraged for not being able to gain more share of power for its faction and to implement its method of survival for the regime regarding the CFT, Rouhani said on January 27: “A law and regulations adopted by the government and Parliament, as a representative of the nation, couldn’t be simply dismissed and ignored. If done, Iran’s banking relationship with the world is cut off and disrupted. Who makes decisions in this country? They [rival faction] are assassinating Iran’s relationship with the world’s banks. We must be careful. They’re assassinating people’s trust in the system.”

The Iranian people have no trust in this regime, in fact their glorious nationwide protests and sacrifice of over 1500 martyrs in November demonstrated their will to topple this regime. Rouhani is frustrated for not being able to manipulate people with “Reformism” gestures anymore, since the people have repeatedly chanted “Reformist, Hardliner the game is over.”

Rouhani said: “We are all in a critical situation,” reminding the rival faction of how these infightings will ultimately pave the way for further uprisings.

The truth is that the regime has no way out and nothing will settle down these infightings. In fact, they have intensified since the regime has received irreparable blows in the last few months. These blows include: The nationwide Iran protests in November over the sudden fuel price hike, the elimination of the IRGC’s Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani on January 3, the IRGC’s downing of a Ukrainian passenger airliner and the subsequent protests by students against the regime. In addition, Europe, the most dedicated party to the nuclear agreement with the regime, triggered the dispute mechanism over the regime’s non-compliance and continuous breach of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

As Rouhani has said, the regime is indeed in a dangerous situation. The Iranian people’s uprising led by the Iranian resistance will soon topple this regime, and this is the only way to end the crises in Iran.

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