Iran’s presidential elections are all about the post-Khamenei era

Iran will hold presidential elections on June 18 and despite considerable efforts by the authorities, the battle at the ballot box is set to be a lifeless affair. A solid majority of Iranian voters have by now entirely lost hope that voting makes any difference. Actual turnout could be as low as 20% as compared to the 73% recorded in 2017. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the unelected supreme leader who has ruled over Iran since 1989, is not on the ballot. Nor are the Revolutionary Guards, the armed defenders of the Islamic Republic’s theocratic system. These two institutions wield the real power in Tehran, not the Presidential Palace.

And yet, the Islamic Republic is addicted to holding make-believe elections every four years. For the June 2021 elections, aspiring candidates had five days to register. A total of 592 applicants, including 40 women, did so. In about 24 hours, some 93% of them were said by the Guardian Council not to meet the criteria. The 12-man council, which is controlled by Khamenei, decides who can run for office. No woman has ever been allowed to run in the Islamic Republic since 1979. Of the about 40 men that will be considered, all can be expected to be political insiders that Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards can live with as possible occupants of the Presidential Palace.

In fact, Khamenei approved a last-minute change to the constitution allowing senior military men to run for the presidency, something which they could not do before. Among the candidates to be approved, a majority will come from the ranks of the Revolutionary Guards, including Mohsen Rezai, Hossein Dehghan, and Saeed Mohammad. This is not an institution without its schisms and rival factions, but the broader trend is that as a grouping, the Revolutionary Guards wants to have a more visible presence on the official political scene as a way to safeguard their future interests as the 82-year-old Khamenei’s reign is in its twilight years.

Read the complete article at:

Also Read: Military candidates in Iran elections raise worry of further IRGC control

Latest news
Related news