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A letter to the leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran

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The path to development and development of today and tomorrow is a model of putting the ideology of meritocracy on the basis of the use of professional youth, committed and teaching them better for tomorrow. The best way to rule is to interact between two generations, experienced and experienced managers with ages, and young, energetic and energetic managers. The sum of these two options will undoubtedly bring the crisis to a rapid pace for our beloved homeland, provided that these professionals do not turn into pesky wolves and deceiving foxes over time, and the rulers in the appointment and election offer God It is known to look at the people and the country, not on camaraderie and yesterday’s contests!

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei

I remember that during the third prayer of Ramadan on September 20, 2009, by explaining the political journey of the martyrs of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (PBUH), you considered the political behavior of Imam Khomeini in accordance with the conduct of the Emir of Amman, and emphasized: one of the features of the politics of Imam Ali al-Islam was to avoid deceit, while in secular systems and attitudes based on the separation of religion and politics, there is no problem using any method, including wickedness and deceit.

You added: In the political school of the Imam Ali, there is no resort to oppression and lies to succeed, and Ali Salam seriously urged people not to speak with him flatteringly. Tolerance with the opposition and even the enemies as much as possible was another characteristic of the political conduct of the Imam Ali that you paid for it.

You pointed out in this regard: the Prophet, in so far as possible, was treated with tolerance and good behavior with the opponents and opponents, but if they did not end up with them, they stood firmly against them.

You have included the expression of reasoning and reasoning against enemies and opponents as another characteristic of the political conduct of Amir al-Momenin, Ali (peace be upon him), adding: His behavior was not the same with all individuals and opposing movements, and among those who, despite the purpose of the right, From ignorance and guiltiness, they went astray and mistakenly, differed from those who were in the wrong way from the beginning, while the Prophet Mohammad stood firmly against diversion and appealing to religious appearances.

You considered politics of ethics and spirituality to be the cause of the people and the society, and added: otherwise, politics will be a means of gaining power, wealth, and the advancement of worldly affairs, and will become a perversion for society and even politicians.

At the beginning of the second sermon of prayer in the words of the main audience of political movements and personalities, “the former and present officials of the country”, they examined the splits that have been created in the last 30 years in the genuine process of people and revolution.

You saw the reason for some of these splits as “the fundamentals and beliefs”, and added that some of the splits and differences were actually in the interests of others, but some were disagreements over how the principles were implemented, which should be treated differently with each other. .

By pointing out the encounters of Imam Khomeini with the splits and differences, you pointed out that the Imam used to treat them differently in the light of the political conduct of the Amir al-Mu’minin, “in proportion to the nature and essence of the political and the branching movements.” With the reference to the revolutionary and religious backgrounds of the branching process, you pointed out: the nature of some of these differences was a different view of the principles of the implementation of the principles, but some with fundamental differences or conflicts over the interests brought about the conflict with Imam and the Revolution And tried to penetrate the wrong principles as deadly in the soul and body of the system, when Imam, when he felt this danger, withdrew tolerance and resolved with them.

You, in contrast to the differences in the foundations, have a stake in the interests of society and added that the existence of individuals and streams of critics and possessing different perspectives is in the best interest of the country, provided that this difference of sentiment in the framework of the principles of “Islam, the constitution And the Imam’s will and wisdom, “not the issues that make the name of it, but in fact, are alien to the principles and principles of the revolution.

You pointed out that, unlike some propaganda, if one or the other has dissenting opinions and dissent, the system does not work with him, but if a stream of conflicts and knocking on the sword is carried out, as it is tolerated anywhere in the world In Iran, the system will be resolved in self-defense.

You declared the maximum attraction and the minimum elimination of the policy of the system towards the various currents of the country, adding that the system does not cope with the current as far as it does not have to; therefore, if no one moves to pursue violence, it does not try to undermine the security and comfort of the community, with The foundations of the system do not conflict and do not seek to lie and rumor, they are free to act and express their beliefs, and nobody will work with him.

You called for negligence against small landslides and deviations, which led to great deviations and ultimate fall, and pointed out the Qur’an verses: slippers gradually degrade people from inside, and this corruption, deviation in practice, and sometimes deviation in consequently, everyone should be careful about each other, including our family members, while respecting piety.

In this context, you advised the people to preach and advise the authorities, and added: people advise the authorities on various means and methods so that they will not slip, because the slippage of the authorities is more dangerous for the regime, the country and the people.

You called the Islamic system, like a person, as being at risk of slipping and corruption, and added: If you are not careful, the name and appearance of the Islamic Republic may persist, but the attitude and behavior, and the system’s agenda, will be non-Islamic. You move the society and the country towards justice, religious behavior and ethics, intellectual and scientific development in the free space, and a strong stand against “enemies and the front of international oppression”, including signs of the health and the system of corruption and You know the disease.

You added: people are awake and they know that if the path to society and the system is different, and issues such as the massive gap of the class, the use of freedom for corruption and prostitution, and the feeling of weakness and retreat from global bullying, is created, this sign of the disease of the system Is Islamic.

My Leader, 9 years of your talk in Friday prayers in September 2009, and the youth of this border are looking to change their situation according to your demands. I talk to a father who has always been a youth advocate and asked young people to stay and build Iran.

Dear Leader, Find out that by observing recent appointments and sentences for senior executives, it seems that the use of tools by young people and the use of slogans from their ability to attract accompaniment and synchronization on special occasions has become the current trend in the country. , A process that represents a disaster management in the Islamic Republic. By observing such an average age of the country’s directors and officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the hypothesis is that, after about 40 years of the Islamic Revolution, this system has failed or did not want to educate managers who deserve to have large managerial positions. And so they should continue to use the early young revolutionary leaders who were trained during the pre-revolutionary period. Is such a hypothesis close to reality?

It has been repeatedly experienced when the term “election” or “director” is subject to the election or appointment or the time of speech and presentation. The term “youth” and “youth capacity” is heard from the mouths of people repeatedly and is supposed to It is used so much from the capacity of young people in the country and large administrations that they may raise some concerns about the experience of experienced managers with a background and worry about neglecting the experience of experienced managers, but when the time runs out and everyone waits for young people to enter the management arena And society is hoping for a new atmosphere that will be full of vitality Occasionally, they are the same age-old administrators, who have no new initiative to advance their affairs in their programs, and they are once again called on to promise that they will be used on the mouths of critics and critics, saying they will use middle-class youth Will be, and some will not turn into reality in reality.

Everywhere in the world, especially advanced economies and advanced countries, young people work and give advice to old people, but in Iran it is a reverse! Old men want to work until the 90th minute, and even despite their retirement and salary, they still have jobs and jobs in the third and fourth and even more!

Dear my leader, my question is: Should not these Iranian oppressed youths be crying?

Training future strategists and jihad! Young advisers! Young Parliament! One of the cultural jokes of Iranian management is the use of such titles and phrases that are everything for the young, except water and bread! I emphasize everything is but bread and water! What does this look to the young people who are today in Iran? Yes! Young people are working and they are ashamed of their families, that is: Let’s sit back and do nothing about management, economic and social activity.

At the time of the imposed war, which you yourself were at the front, how did you trust the youth there, but today is not trusted? Because there was no payment and no money, the youth of the god was unwanted worthless? The country does not go the right way. One of the main reasons is the lack of youthfulness in the real sense of the body of management and implementation.

The actual body does not mean meeting and association in the name of “sympathy”, “idea”, “participation”, and so on, but it means the creation of expert and thought-provoking youth at all levels. The country’s management system is faced with a false crisis, the false crisis means that in spite of our abilities and potential, we have problems and some insist on continuing these problems. One of the great potentials of Iran, which has become a weak point and is in its place a source of unfortunate controversy, is our young force and our management and economic elites, some of which are neither in the media nor in the office or position.

My dear leader, my question is that apart from the good ages and genes of the country, how many young people do we have to have responsibility in the country? Unless in this imposed war, young people stood in front of the whole world in combatants and commander-in-chief? So why not trust these young people now? Should young people in Islamic and Iranian management have a special place and of course a particular gene so that they can present themselves? For this, officials and decision-makers should have a proper priority, and if they are not able to prioritize it, they will give the status to specialized people. What we have to do with the young, we need a detailed discussion, but do not rely more and more on the wrong approach.

Sir, I know that you know that young people should be educated for the present and future of the community, who work as leaders and thinkers in the community and politics, rather than those born from one generation to the next, and nothing more than a shame for the system The Islamic Republic of Iran does not have and will not. It should be noted that educated young people pursue the goals and ideals of the Iranian democratic system and beliefs with regard to all the nuances and considerations of Iranian-Islamic society culture on the one hand and the change of generations, the global perspective of threats and international threats, internal harm and so on, on the other hand, To advance. In the contemporary world more than any other time, the survival and survival of organizations and departments depends on the system of meritocracy and the transfer of work to the apprentice. The lack of qualified, expert and elite individuals is an opportunity and the use of seigneur is inadequate to burn the country. It should be noted that the failure to use the elite will lead to the disappearance of political and managerial systems. Competency-based management is a coherent and coherent approach to managing long-term human capital, based on a common set of competencies that are relevant to the macro strategies of the country. It was precisely in this regard that the establishment of a system of merit as one of the major and strategic policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran vision document in the country has been emphasized. In a meritorious system, there should be no appointments based on the financial strength of a person or a social position (the good gene) that has come across the country. In affluent societies, the attitudes of kinship, tribalism, party, and secularism are abandoned. It should be noted that meritocracy, not a government, but an ideology.

My leader, the current state of the country after 1396, the meritocracy has been lost. But what is the purpose of the system of meritocracy? Is not there a better goal than ensuring the future of the country? The best way to ensure the future of the country is to use the right youth in various responsibilities. There is no doubt about the merits of many officials and appointments in government. But the presence of these people in this age group may be favorable for the country, but what will happen next?

The path to development and development of today and tomorrow is a model of putting the ideology of meritocracy on the basis of the use of professional youth, committed and teaching them better for tomorrow. The best way to rule is to interact between two generations, experienced and experienced managers with ages, and young, energetic and energetic managers. The sum of these two options will undoubtedly bring the crisis to a rapid pace for our beloved homeland, provided that these professionals do not turn into pesky wolves and deceiving foxes over time, and the rulers in the appointment and election offer God It is known to look at the people and the country, not on camaraderie and yesterday’s contests!

Thank you very much

SAJAD ABEDI

October 8, 2018

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Elections in Syria: Forgetting Old Resentments?

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In the presidential elections on May 26, Bashar al-Assad won more than 95% of the votes. According to the current constitution, this term will be the last for the president. But in the next seven years of Bashar al-Assad’s rule, the constitution may change, and it is far from certain that this will happen as a result of the work of the Syrian Constitutional Committee, with UN mediation. The victory of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was accompanied by congratulations from allies and a lack of recognition of the election results by Western countries. In any event, what is the attitude towards this war-torn country and its ruling elites in the Arab world? Will Bashar al-Assad be able to rebuild the country and deliver it from chaos?

Forgetting old resentments. From balance of power to balance of interests

Through regional recognition lies the path to global recognition. It is necessary in some form for the reconstruction of Syria, the cost of which is estimated at more than $250 billion. Syria’s allies do not have such funds, and the West links the provision of funds for the country’s reconstruction with conditions for a political settlement of the conflict, which the current authorities will not agree to. In the absence of economic reconstruction, however, there is a threat of the re-activation of the defeated terrorists. In this context, the role of the rich oil monarchies of the Persian Gulf—the most promising source of money—becomes especially significant.

Syria is traditionally called the “heart” of the Arab world. This, nevertheless, did not prevent other Arab countries from responding to the unfolding violence in Syria by freezing its membership in an important regional structure, the Arab League, in 2011. Speaking about the return of Syria to the Arab League, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: “Arab diplomacy is very, very famous for its effectiveness, so it seems to me that here we can expect that the issue will be resolved, and, I hope, quite quickly.” However, there are a number of factors that can support this process, and constraints that can hinder it.

The conversation about the return of Syria to the Arab League has been going on for several years—since it became clear that Bashar al-Assad will be able to keep power in his hands. This became obvious to regional and global players with the defeat of terrorists and opposition, with the active support of the Syrian leadership from Iran and Russia. In addition, compared to 2011, the situation has changed in the Arab League itself. In Egypt, the largest country in the Arab world, the secular regime of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (who has roots in the military), is now in power, and not the anti-Assad-minded Islamists from the Muslim Brotherhood (banned in the Russian Federation). A number of Arab League member states like Algeria, Iraq and Lebanon have never been against Syria, and now actively advocate its return to the organisation. The Gulf monarchies have gone through a decade of reassessing challenges and threats.

Conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Yemen have led to the strengthening of the regional rivals of the Arab states of the Gulf—Turkey and Iran. The expansion of these major regional powers is forcing the UAE, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries to seek new approaches. In the context of Syria, this means the Arab rejection of the Turkish occupation of Syrian (and, therefore, Arab) land in northern Syria. At the same time, the rulers of the Arabian Peninsula are thinking about whether it is worth it to push Syria into the hands of Iran, if they can try to return it to the “Arab homeland” and balance the Iranian influence on Damascus. The UAE, Bahrain and Oman have already reopened their embassies in Damascus, but so far Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the two key countries that oppose Syria in the Arab League, are in no hurry to do the same. In any event, the Saudis are increasingly inclined towards a partial return of relations. It is clear from some of their actions. For example, we are talking about the restoration of ties between Bahrain and Damascus, since the policy of Bahrain is a litmus test of Riyadh’s aspirations. In early May, there were reports about the visit of the head of the general intelligence service of Saudi Arabia, Khalid bin Ali al-Humaidan, to Damascus. In late May, for the first time in 10 years, a Syrian delegation led by Minister of Tourism Mohammad Rami Martini made an official visit to Riyadh to participate in the work of the World Tourism Organisation Committee for the Middle East.

The results of the presidential elections in Syria once again remind the Arab states that they will have to work with Bashar al-Assad and his government.

Obviously, Damascus is ready to forget old grievances. Among other things, Arab nationalist rhetoric is extremely important for the ruling Baath Party. On the eve of the elections, Assad’s adviser Busseina Shaaban said: “Efforts are being made to improve relations between Damascus and Riyadh, and in the coming days we can witness results in this matter.” If Riyadh changes its position on the return of Syria to the Arab League, there will be only one Arab country opposing this—Qatar. Qatar’s non-Arab ally in the recently weakened regional confrontation is Turkey, which will also hinder this and continues to declare the need of a political settlement of the Syrian conflict. True, this is less and less possible, although the opinion of Turkey, which has more than 3.5 million registered Syrian refugees, is something to be reckoned with.

Veni, vidi, vici?

At the global level, Russia and the United States have different positions. Russia’s foreign policy advocates sovereignty, the return of Syria to the Arab League and its early restoration. But even if Syria returns to the League, it will not solve the economic problems of the country, where corruption is rampant, the currency continues to depreciate, there is barely enough electricity and fuel for the population to survive, and 80% of citizens remain below the poverty line. In addition, the Syrian economy will not receive serious injections, even from the Gulf countries, due to the policies and sanctions of the United States, which remains the hegemon in the region. However, it is precisely the regional recognition of Damascus that is extremely useful and can be considered as a step towards further stabilisation.

Even before the elections in Syria, the Americans, together with Britain, France, Germany and Italy, issued a joint statement about their illegitimacy. The sanctions adopted by the US Congress against Syria under the name “Caesar Act” are “secondary” in nature, which means that any third country doing business with the Syrian government is included in the US sanctions list. Companies from the UAE have already faced this problem, and potentially sanctions deprive Syria of any major projects with the Gulf States in the future. This issue is unsolvable at the regional level. Much depends on how the Americans are committed to the implementation of the sanctions regime.

An excessive US appetite for sanctions may hurt the interests of its regional allies, which will displease the latter (and not always tacitly).

At the moment, however, to quote the journalists of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, we observe “the absence of American leadership”: the United States is not engaged in promoting any active campaign to counter the normalisation of relations between Syria and other members of the international community. The previous pattern with regard to Syria remains—with the illegal presence of the American military in the east of the country, support for Kurdish groups, and the illegal use of Syrian resources.

The administration of US President Joe Biden has not yet formed a new course towards Syria, since this issue is not a priority for it. In these conditions, regional and interested global players have the opportunity to correct their positions, build up links with previously inaccessible actors, and make attempts to go beyond the existing restrictions.

Bashar al-Assad sent a message to the whole world that he is ready for a new stage. The world is no longer what it was a decade ago. At the regional level, the Arabs are thinking about accepting the existing reality, but at the global level, the Syria issue is not a priority. In his victory speech, al-Assad noted that the Syrian people “returned to the true meaning of the revolution” after it was “blotted by mercenaries”. It is obvious that Damascus persistently and patiently stands on its ground. Arabs say that patience is the key to joy. The only question is whose joy it is.

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The syndrome of neglect: After years of hyperactivity, Erdogan is completely isolated

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At the NATO Summit held in Brussels on June 14, strategically important issues were discussed, such as the relations of the Alliance’s Member States with China and their attitude towards President Putin’s Russia. The Member States’ positions on these issues did not appear unambiguous and diplomats had to struggle to find the right wording to draft the final communiqué. What was evident, however, was an only apparently marginal fact: the total “physical” as well as political isolation of Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan.

After being defined by Prime Minister Draghi as a “dictator and autocrat”, the Turkish President also had to endure the harsh reprimands of the US State Department which, at the end of the “eleven-day war” between Israel and Hamas, did not hesitate to condemn – in unusually harsh language – some of his public statements made in the first days of the war when, in order to underline his thoughts towards the Israeli leadership, he called Benjamin Netanyahu “the Jewish Prime Minister”.

The derogatory use of the word “Jewish’ instead of “Israeli” triggered a reaction from President Biden’s Administration. The State Department spokesman, Ned Price, was instructed to express “the strong and unequivocal condemnation of the Turkish President’s anti-Semitic comments’, and called on him to refrain from “incendiary remarks, which could incite further violence … not least because anti-Semitism is reprehensible and should have no place on the world stage”.

After struggling for years to become a true regional power, President Erdogan’s Turkey is now on the sidelines of the political scene and the Turkish leader’s bewildered expression emerging from the photographs of the NATO Summit of June 14 – which show him physically isolated from the other Heads of State and government – appears as an iconic testimony to the irrelevance to which Turkey has been condemned, owing to the adventurism of its President, after a decade of reckless and counterproductive political and military moves.

As early as in the spring of 2010, in view of showing he was at the forefront in supporting the Palestinian cause, President Erdogan authorised the establishment of the “Freedom Flotilla”, a naval convoy capable of challenging – under the Turkish flag – the Israeli naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

On May 31, 2020, Israeli commandos intercepted the Mavi Marmara ship carrying not only humanitarian aid, but also Hamas militants attempting to enter again the Gaza Strip illegally.

As soon as Israeli soldiers stepped onto the deck of the Turkish ship, they were confronted by Palestinians and crew members armed with axes, knives and iron bars. Ten Palestinians and Turkish sailors died in the ensuing clashes, but the most severe wound was inflicted on Turkish-Israeli relations.

Turkey broke off diplomatic relations with Israel – long-standing relations dating back to 1949 when Turkey was the first, and for many years the only, Muslim country to recognise the State of Israel, thus also interrupting important economic and military relations that represented for the entire Middle East the example of how it was possible to follow paths of integration and pacification between Muslims and Jews.

Since 2011, with the outbreak of the so-called “Arab Springs”, President Erdogan has tried in every way to take a leading role in a flow of events which – rather than exporting liberal democracies in the region – aimed to underline and validate the victory of the “Muslim Brotherhood” and of the most backward and fundamentalist Islam.

While thinking he could easily solve his competition with Assad’ Syria and at the same time dismiss the problem of Turkish and Syrian Kurdish irredentism, President Erdogan intervened heavily in the Syrian civil war by providing military aid and logistical support not only to the militias of the “Syria Liberation Army”, but also to the Salafist formations of Jabhat Al Nusra and even ISIS.

We all know what has happened: after a decade of civil war, Syria is in ruins but Bashar al-Assad is still in power; the rebels are now closed in small pockets of resistance and Russia, which intervened siding with Damascus, thus overturning the outcome of the conflict, is firmly established in the country while Turkey is not only excluded from the promising business of Syria’s reconstruction, but finds itself managing a massive refugee emergency.

In President Erdogan’ sometimes ill-considered quest to make his country take on the role of the leading regional power, his activism led him to intervene in the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis in support of the Azerbaijani Turkmen against the Christian Armenians, with the result that, after the last crisis in the autumn of 2020, Turkey had to step aside to leave Russia the role of interposition and peacekeeping force.

In Libya, too – after sending arms and mercenaries to support al-Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA) – after its resignation last January, the Turkish role became less influential than the Turkish leader’s aspirations.

In 2017, in a vain attempt to send a signal to NATO and US allies, President Erdogan bought S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia, worth 2.5 million dollars.

The move did not please the then US President, Donald Trump, who immediately imposed economic and military sanctions on Turkey, thus contributing to the decline of its economy and to its progressive international isolation.

It has recently been reported that, in an attempt to bring Turkey closer to the new Biden Administration, President Erdogan has decided to send back home the Russian technicians who were in charge of S-400 maintenance at the Incirlick base – which is also a NATO base – with the result of infuriating Vladimir Putin who obviously does not like the idea of seeing highly sophisticated equipment in the hands of the Americans.

The end result of all these unhinged moves is that the US sanctions remain in place while the Russians can only regret having trusted an unreliable leader.

On the domestic front, too, despite the repression that followed the failed coup d’état of 2016, things are not going well.

The deep economic crisis, resulting from excessive military spending, poor administrative capacity and rampant corruption, as well as the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic, makes the situation even more difficult for the Turkish President and his party, the AKP (Justice and Development Party), which have ruled the country continuously since 2002.

The recent local elections, in which the AKP was defeated, and the election polls indicate that, despite the tactical alliance between President Erdogan’s party and the ultra-nationalist National Movement, a success for the President and his party in the 2023 general and Presidential elections seems far from certain.

What makes President Erdogan’s sleep even more restless is certainly the ‘Peker scandal’ that has been hitting the headlines of all Turkish newspapers and social media over the last few days.

Sedat Peker, a businessman formerly affiliated with the extreme right-wing organisation of the “Grey Wolves” (the same one to which Ali Agca, known for the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II, belonged) has long been a supporter of Tayyp Recep Erdogan and is known to have been one of the main suppliers of weapons to jihadist groups involved in the Syrian civil war.

Last April, after being accused of corruption and criminal conspiracy, he went into self-exile, first in Montenegro and then in the United Arab Emirates, from where he has been conducting a relentless campaign against President Erdogan and his party on charges of corruption and other crimes and offences.

Under the interested supervision of Mohamed Dalhan, the former Head of the Palestinian intelligence service in the Gaza strip, exiled to the Emirates after the break with Hamas, Sedat Peker daily floods social media with accusations against the Turkish President’s “magic circle”, starting with Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and his ally Mehemet Agar, former Police Chief, who in Peker’s opinion are responsible not only for corruption, but also for extortion, drug trafficking and murder.

Despite government-imposed censorship, these sensational accusations dominate the political debate in Turkey.

Mohammed Dalhan, the Palestinian secret agent, helps Sedat Peker both out of a spirit of revenge against Hamas and, hence, against its Turkish supporter, and because the Abu Dhabi government, for which he now works, has not favourably viewed Turkey’s attempts to sabotage the “Abraham Accords” between Israel and moderate Arab countries and the explicit support offered by President Erdogan to Hamas during the recent “eleven-day war”. Moreover, the latter ended thanks to Egypt’s mediation – a diplomatic success for the moderate Arab front that pushes Turkey and its leader ever further to the sidelines, as they – observant Sunnis – are now forced to move closer to the heretical Shiites of Iran, the only ones who now seem to give credit to President Erdogan, who is now like a bad student relegated to a corner of the classroom, from which he will find it difficult to escape without a clear change of course towards a more moderate approach in domestic policy and a rapprochement to the West in foreign policy.

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Iranian Election Portends Increased Human Rights Abuses, Demands Western Response

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When the Iranian regime holds its presidential election this Friday, it is likely to experience the lowest level of voter turnout in its 42-year history. This has been acknowledged by certain Iranian officials and state media outlets. There are a number of reasons for this, which include the lingering effects of three anti-regime uprisings, public resentment over authorities’ crackdowns on those uprisings, a lack of serious competition among the candidates, and the brutal legacy of the clear frontrunner.

All but the last of these factors were already apparent in February of last year, when Iranian regime held elections for various governors and members of parliament. Those elections are the ones to beat if the country is to set a new record for low turnout this week. Moreover, if persistently anti-democratic conditions aren’t enough to yield that outcome on their own, public antipathy toward Ebrahim Raisi might just be the thing that pushes the electoral boycott over the top.

For months now, Raisi has been recognized as a person favored by the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as the next President. But that preference specifically stems from Raisi’s unwavering loyalty to the supreme leader and his willingness to flout the security and wellbeing of ordinary Iranians in order to safeguard the future of the theocratic dictatorship. In 2019, Raisi was appointed to head the nation’s judiciary, and his penchant for political violence was put to the test by the outbreak of a nationwide uprising in November 2019 – a follow-up to similar protests in January 2018.

The regime’s response to the latter uprising constituted one of the worst singular crackdowns on dissent since the early years of the Iranian regime. As head of the judiciary, Raisi played a leading role in that crackdown, particularly the systematic torture of political prisoners that was detailed in a September 2020 report by Amnesty International. That report was closely accompanied by the emergence of new evidence supporting the tally of protest-related killings provided by the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

The MEK, which has long been recognized as the leading voice for Iranian democracy, quickly determined that security forces and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had killed 1,500 people in mass shooting incidents over just several days coinciding with the November 2019 uprising. Over time, the MEK has also released the names of more than half of the victims, naturally starting with those who were members of the organisation or were otherwise closely connected to it.

Details of the crackdown serve to underscore the notion that it was largely an attack on the MEK, which Khamenei had acknowledged as a driving force behind the initial uprising in early 2018. The supreme leader referenced months of planning by dissidents in order to explain the popular embrace of slogans calling for “death to the dictator” and condemning both the “hardline” and “reformist” factions of mainstream politics inside the regime. This messaging was tantamount to a call for regime change – the expressed platform of the MEK and its parent coalition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

In recent weeks, MEK-affiliated activist collectives known as “Resistance Units” have been using precisely this platform to promote the concept of an all-encompassing electoral boycott. In April alone, those activists erected posters, painted graffiti, and held demonstrations in more than 250 localities across the Islamic Republic, urging citizens to “vote for regime change” by avoiding the polls and denying any semblance of legitimacy to the ruling system. Since then, the call to action has been echoed by various other groups, including pensioners and blue-collar workers whose frustration with the regime has greatly intensified in the midst of an economic crisis exacerbated by self-serving government policies and blatant corruption.

Protests by these and other demographics have lately come to feature slogans like, “We have seen no justice; we will not vote anymore.” The implication is that Iranians from all walks of life are not only rejecting the current election but also the entire underlying system, in favour of a platform akin to that which is being promoted by the MEK and the NCRI. The details of that platform are clarified for an international audience each year at a rally of Iranian expatriates and political supporters which invariably features eager endorsement of the “10-point plan” for a democratic Iranian republic that was authored roughly 15 years ago by NCRI President-elect Mrs. Maryam Rajavi.

The plan calls for free and fair elections as well as secular pluralism, and it expresses a commitment to international laws and principles of human rights. By contrast, the existing regime has repeatedly rejected those laws and principles through such recurring actions as its execution of juvenile offenders, its routine usage of torture and forced confessions, and its explicit insistence upon exception from human rights standards that are deemed to conflict with the regime’s fundamentalist interpretation of Shiite Islam.

Despite all of these, Tehran’s contempt for human rights has arguably never been more blatant than is now, in the run-up to Raisi’s appointment as the regime’s next president. His role in the crackdowns following the November 2019 are certainly one reason for this, but the main source of Raisi’s infamy remains his participation in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners. Those killings arguably constitute the late 20th century’s single worst crime against humanity, and as one of four figures in Tehran’s “death commission” at the time, Raisi bears as much responsibility as anybody for the roughly 30,000 hangings that were carried out over just several months.

In commenting on the election, the NCRI has made it clear that Raisi was chosen to run a more-or-less uncontested campaign precisely because of this legacy. Specifically, the NCRI argues that Khamenei witnessed the Resistance movement gaining momentum and resolved to consolidate power in the hands of those most comfortable with political violence. But in so doing, the supreme leader gave Iranians even more incentive to protest the political process than they had had in February 2020. Thus, when Raisi takes office, he will immediately be faced with the challenge of compensating for an electoral boycott that effectively deprive the regime of any claim to political legitimacy.

The consequences of that challenge will surely depend, in part, on the role that the international community chooses to take on in the midst of forthcoming conflicts between the Iranian regime and a population that is showing ever-greater support for an organised resistance. If major world powers elect to stand on the sidelines, it could give the Raisi administration license to assume office and then immediately initiate human rights abuses rivaling those of November 2019, or possibly approaching those of summer 1988. However, if those powers recognize this danger and instead elect to intervene on the Iranian people’s behalf, then they may find they have ample opportunities to do so.

Relevant strategies will be presented by NCRI officials and the political supporters, including European and American lawmakers and academics with diverse party affiliations, when they take part in the coalition’s World Summit on a Free Iran between July 10 and 12.

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