Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) will win a landslide in this Friday’s parliamentary elections in Iran, furnishing a new generation of theocratic courtiers for the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. His gatekeepers have already selected most of the new intake before a vote is cast.hardliners
Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) will win a landslide in this Friday’s parliamentary elections in Iran, furnishing a new generation of theocratic courtiers for the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. His gatekeepers have already selected most of the new intake before a vote is cast.
Iran is under economic siege from the US after President Donald Trump last month ordered the assassination in Iraq of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the IRGC’s foreign legion. Consequently, Mr Khamenei and his praetorians are taking no chances.
It was supposed to be different. The 2015 nuclear containment deal Tehran struck with the US and five other world powers was intended to reintegrate Iran into the global economy and polite geopolitical society.
Already under President Barack Obama the US Treasury’s zealous and extraterritorial use of “secondary” sanctions against Iran was emptying his diplomatic triumph of substance. Mr Trump then unilaterally withdrew the US from the international accord and set the present collision course, handing hardliners in Tehran the initiative by unshackling Iran from its nuclear commitments.
The vested interests built up around Iran’s theocracy since the 1979 revolution, foremost among them the IRGC and its tentacular business empire, always saw the nuclear deal as the slippery slope to regime change.
Iranians who, against all odds, have kept voting for reformists and pragmatists in the hope of recovering their freedoms at home and re-engaging with a world to which they are digitally sensitised, elected the centrist Hassan Rouhani as president in 2013. He made the nuclear breakthrough his flagship policy aim.
Even as it became increasingly clear Iran was not going to be welcomed back into the international community (not least because of the rampages of Soleimani and his Quds Force from Syria to Yemen), Iranian voters ensured the ticket for change came first in the 2016 parliamentary elections and re-elected Mr Rouhani in 2017. That story now looks to be over.
Champions of change, from Mohammad Khatami (president from 1997-2005) to Mr Rouhani, the present incumbent, serve as shields for a regime that thrives on western hostility. They are easy to denounce as soft on the Great Satan of the US and Little Satans like the UK.
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