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What does ‘voting’ mean in Iran?

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Iran’s next presidential election, scheduled for June 18, is fast approaching. And once again, Iranians in and out of their homeland are busy debating whether they should vote or not – whether voting would make any difference at all.

In the Islamic Republic, which is categorically undemocratic in its very constitutional foundations, there is an understandable apathy and mistrust in the whole idea of voting.

So what to do: Go and vote and thus implicitly legitimatise an undemocratic state or stay at home and expose its lack of legitimacy? That is the question.

An overwhelming majority of Iranians are not entirely content with either option – and, more importantly, cannot stand the forces advertising them.

On the one side, there is the ruling regime, which pretends to respect the Iranian people’s right to choose their leaders and encourages them to vote in its elections. But it also carefully vets all the candidates and allows only the ones who are loyal to the regime to run.

Opposing them stand all the colourful “opposition” forces outside the county that are encouraging Iranians to boycott the fraudulent election with the slogan “No to the Islamic Republic”- as if those who are planning to vote are saying “Yes to the Islamic Republic”.

These two opposing forces have their respective resources and constituencies.

The ruling regime will most certainly mobilise its vast material wherewithal and propaganda machinery to make it seem like all is hunky-dory in the La La Land of the Islamic Republic and people are enthusiastically rushing to confirm their revolutionary trust in their militant rulers.

The opposing side, meanwhile, is trying to sell the idea that the entirety of people ruled by the Islamic Republic is ready to revolt and bring either Reza Pahlavi (monarchist) or Maryam Rajavi (occultist) to power. They have the Saudis, the Israelis, and American reactionary politicians, such as Rudy Giuliani, on their side.

In between these two fatal fictions stands the fate of some 80 million........

© Al Jazeera

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