After Iran’s Supreme Leader appealed to the public to take part in the elections even if they oppose the regime, now the ultra-conservative and extremist figures of the establishment are saying widespread participation in the elections is “the strategy of the country’s enemies to engineer the outcome of the elections”.
Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, spokesman for the Central Coalition Council of Conservatives, says: “The U.S. is using the promotion of greater participation in the elections to engineer the result of the elections”. On Friday February 19, the Tehran representative in Parliament told the Mehr News Agency that in contrast to the past where spoke of boycotting the election, the enemy is now calling for greater public participation in the elections.
“In the past, satellite programs would advise against voting; now they are promoting election participation and are also providing voting direction,” Haddad-Adel said. He added: “I hope the public remains careful to elect a conservative Parliament and not allow foreign infiltration”.
“Those who are now hiding behind the mask of moderation,” Haddad-Adel said; “are those who revealed their extremism in the past as in the ‘sedition of 2009.’”
The conservatives refer to the election protests of 2009 as sedition, while the reformist candidates who triggered the protests with allegations of vote fraud maintain that the protests were peaceful and their demands were within the framework of the constitution.
Mehdi Chamran, the head of Tehran City Council, spoke at the Haddad-Adel election campaign meeting, saying the “enemies of the Revolution” have changed their strategy from “sanctions to the deterioration of the elections”. He said: “From across the seas, they have given up on sanctions and are instead saying whom our people should be voting for.”
Ahmad Khatami: It is Slander Week!
Meanwhile, hardliner Ahmad Khatami in Kerman referred to his critics and opponents as “numbskulls who take their cue from enemy forces”. On Friday February 19, the Assembly of Experts candidate said foreign countries are “meddling in Iran’s business” and “trying to send infiltrators into the decision-making centres of the country”.
“English-speaking media are saying do not vote for Ahmad Jannati, for Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi in Tehran, for Ahmad Khatami in Kerman or Ahmad Alam al-Hoda in Khorasan,” he said referring to the ultra-conservative clerics seeking a seat in the Assembly of Experts.
Without directly referencing the internet campaign launched by a group of supporters of moderate cleric Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani to prevent the election of conservatives Jannati, Yazdi, Khatami and Alam ol-Hoda to the Assembly of Experts, Ahmad Khatami said: “What is it to you, you meddlers! These very individuals are at the top of the list of wise voters.”
Ahmad Khatami insisted that the reason for the adverse campaign launched against him is that he has “slammed sedition in [his] sermons” and said: “This week is the week of slander from anti-Revolutionaries against candidates supported by the leadership, and the wisdom of the public will come into play right here when, with God’s support, you will not be swayed by such rumours and lies spread around cyber space.”
Mohsen Esmaili, an Assembly of Experts candidate, was also heard condemning foreign countries and accusing the “country’s enemies” of creating rifts between the forces of the Revolution by putting their support behind certain people.
Tehran’s Friday Mass Imam, Kazem Sedighi, also said in this week’s sermon that foreign media have for the first time begun encouraging Iranians to go to the ballot box but asserted that the public will not vote for “candidates promoted in enemy media”.
Iranians will go to the polls on February 26 to vote for parliamentary and Assembly of Experts candidates. While the majority of reformists and moderate candidates have been disqualified by the ultra-conservative Guardian Council, the reformists, including President Hassan Rohani, have urged the public not to boycott the elections and to simply try to vote for the most moderate candidates in each riding.