An Iranian opposition leader who has been under house arrest since February has accused the Islamic establishment of intending to hold a "rubber-stamp" parliamentary election in March, his website Sahamnews reported yesterday.True, we are only talking about parliamentary--not presidential--elections. Still, the Kuwait Times goes on to remind us of the history of the absence of free elections in Iran--including the outright fraudulent Iranian elections back in 2009:
Candidates began registering on Saturday for the March 2 vote, which will be the first litmus test of the clerical leadership's public standing since a disputed 2009 presidential vote that precipitated months of unrest.
Mehdi Karoubi was detained along with his wife, Fatemeh, when he urged supporters to gather for a Tehran rally in support of uprisings in the Arab world.
His wife was later allowed out for medical treatment but he remains under house arrest. "Officials do not believe in the people's vote and they are preparing themselves for a rubber-stamp election," his wife quoted him as saying during their weekly meeting, according to Sahamnews. Candidate registration will last one week and then entrants will be screened for their political and Islamic qualifications by the hard-line Guardian Council electoral watchdog.
The Council has stopped hundreds of reformist candidates in the past from participating in elections. A grandson of late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was banned from running for a 2008 parliamentary vote by the Council.Eight months of protests against a fixed election--and then nothing.
"The authorities want to repeat what they did in the 2009 presidential election by disqualifying the candidates.... and filling up the ballot boxes with counterfeit votes and creating an atmosphere of fear in the country," Karoubi's wife quoted him as saying, as reported by his website. The 2009 election was followed by eight months of opposition protests that, while ultimately suppressed, pitched Iran into its deepest internal crisis since the Islamic Revolution and exposed divisions within the ruling elite."
The question is what March will bring.
Technorati Tag: Iran.