Political prisoner Mostafa Tajzadeh, a top reformist figure, announced in a letter from jail that the establishment has left no alternative for reformists but to boycott the elections.
Tajzadeh writes that the disqualification of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Esfandiar Rahim Mashai and other volunteers for the presidential race has simply “left the road open for the victory of the Supreme Leader’s chosen candidate… which means Iran’s political system has been turned into the absolute monarchy of the clerical leader.”
Tajzadeh’s letter was published on the Norooz website, which is linked to the banned reformist group the Islamic Iran Participation Front. He writes: “In view of the calamities that the establishment has brought upon our country, creed and people, we expected that with an apology to the people, they would take the path of recovery by allowing a free, legal and conclusive election so that a window of hope out the current dismal situation would appear.”
Iran’s Guardian Council disqualified Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the top candidate for the reformists, and Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, the candidate endorsed by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his supporters. The final eight candidates approved by the council are basically figures that will act in complete obedience to the wishes of the Supreme Leader.
Tajzadeh, who was involved in the Interior Ministry in the reformist government of Mohammad Khatami, was arrested immediately after the presidential elections of 2009, as allegations of vote rigging in favour of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sparked major street protests across the country.
Tajjzadeh predicts “a decline in public participation in the election, especially compared to 2009; widespread problems in economic leadership, government corruption, growing fissures between the conservatives, growing pressures of international sanctions and ever-increasing public discontent will bring the absolutist system into crisis sooner that they think.”
He adds that since the election is “engineered and illegitimate” and the ruling conservatives have stolen the “right of free elections” from the people; therefore, there is no alternative but to boycott the elections.