United for Iran Condemns Iran’s Interference with a Free and Fair Election Process

Feb 24, 20160 comments

Iranian voters will go to the ballot box on Friday to choose their representatives in the country’s parliament and Assembly of Experts, the clerical body that will elect the next Supreme Leader.  However, Iran’s ruling elite have limited voters’ choices mostly to candidates with different hues of conservatism.

“Iran is failing to meet its international obligation to conduct free and fair elections. Thousands of candidates have been barred from running for office in a systematic attempt by the country’s ruling hardliners to make elections noncompetitive,” said United for Iran Director Firuzeh Mahmoudi.  

The Guardian Council, the country’s conservative electoral vetting body, has found candidates from a range of political backgrounds to be “unqualified.” However, the group of candidates who have been hit the hardest are those who are not sufficiently loyal to the hardline Supreme Leader, meaning moderate and reformists candidates.

“Iranian people have the right to choose who will represent their interests. However, the ruling regime is mainly concerned with taking credit for voter participation to provide itself with a veneer of legitimacy,” Mahmoudi said.

Iran’s Supreme Leader has encouraged all voters to take part in the elections while defending the Guardian Council’s arbitrary power in disqualifying candidates.

“Iranian people have often turned to the ballot box to peacefully achieve the change they desire, even though their choices have been further limited by each election. The Iranian regime has an obligation to protect its citizens’ right to a democratic process but they are systematically taking steps that are in violation of their obligation.”