Most executive institutions in Iran are somehow under the control and supervision of the Velayat-e Faqih, aka the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.
However, town and village council elections are the only vote in Iran that are held without the direct supervision of the Guardian Council.
Therefore, efforts have been made to control and monitor these elections in various ways.
For example, on January 13, Ali Haddadi, a spokesman for the Iranian parliament’s internal affairs commission, said Parliament was considering a plan to employ the intelligence services of the IRGC in the approval process of town and village council candidates.
Ali Haddadi said the plan “aims to prevent councils from deviating, to monitor their performance and to form an efficient council”.
By implementing this plan, the IRGC can approve or reject the qualifications of candidates before the elections without any legal impediments.
There have been several instances where town and village council members have drawn the ire of various ruling establishments because of their remarks, or by simply taking a stance on policies or getting involved in matters beyond their jurisdiction.
For example, Mehdi Hajati, a member of the Shiraz City Council, spoke out against the arrest of two Baha’i citizens and criticized officials’ actions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
He was expelled from the council, under the pretext of “unjustified absence” from council meetings for two months and was arrested himself.
Another example is Mohammad Parham, a member of the Borujerd city council, who posted a video comparing the leaders of Iran and Finland last January.
He was arrested and charged for insulting the leadership. By implementing this new system of supervision on the election process of town and village councils, Khamenei can effectively eliminate those not affiliated with him through the IRGC.