iranintl – The IRGC is indifferent to who becomes Iran’s next president or the outcome of parliamentary elections in March, its deputy commander Ali Fadavi has said.
During a speech at Jondi Shapur University in Ahvaz, Khuzestan Province, Fadavi emphasized that the crucial aspect for the IRGC is that the Iranian people heed Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s directive to participate in the elections.
The implications of Fadavi’s statement remain unclear. It could suggest that, like many Iranian media outlets and politicians, the Guards recognize the futility of holding elections that lack freedom, fairness, and competitiveness. Alternatively, it might indicate that the IRGC is withholding support for any specific candidate.
Fadavi’s subsequent remark, “The IRGC is not going to sacrifice its reputation for any individual,” implies a lack of faith in the merits of any candidate and underscores the IRGC’s perceived supremacy over Iranian politicians. He asserted that while individuals may sacrifice themselves for the IRGC, the organization will not sacrifice itself for anyone.
Elsewhere in his speech, Fadavi elaborated that “We will not spend anything for anyone who would want to become the President or a member of the parliament, because the issue is not important at all.”
During the past week, as the date for the parliamentary (Majles) elections gets closer, many politicians have said that Iranians do not care about the upcoming elections and that the turnout could be even lower than in the 2020 parliamentary vote and the 2021 presidential elections which were the lowest during the past 45 years.
Former reformist lawmaker Mostafa Kavakebian said in his Student Day speech that most university students do not know that this is an election year. Earlier, prominent conservative politician Hamid Reza Taraghi had said the same thing about the population as a whole.
While moderate and pro-reform politicians in Iran have lost all hopes in the competitiveness of the upcoming election, only hardliners and ultraconservatives appear to take it seriously.
Even within the conservative camp, divisions are so deep and widespread that moderate and traditional conservatives such as former Majles Speaker Larijani and Expediency Council member Mohammad Reza Bahonar are not so sure that they could get through biased vetting by the Guardian Council. Of the two politicians, the former is not running, and the latter has openly said that he fears disqualification.
Meanwhile, conservative commentator Mohammad Mohajeri has said that major conservative groups are not so keen to forge strong alliances ahead of the elections as they are almost certain that the ultraconservative Paydari Party will betray them at the last moment as it has done in previous elections. As a result, every major hardline conservative group and party is likely to present its own separate list of candidates.
This would mean an even lower turnout than previous rounds and less credibility for the Majles, as those who eventually win the elections are likely to win smaller number of votes. Without a strong coalition to rally voters behind a group of candidates, few are likely to win more than a few hundred thousand votes even in big cities such as Tehran, Mashhad, and Esfahan.
Mohajeri further said that the main competition in the parliamentary elections will take place between Paydari and the supporters of current Majles Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf. He added that regardless of reports about a coalition between Ghalibaf and Paydari, the former is making preparations for a campaign without a coalition, presumably due to Paydari’s unpredictability.
Meanwhile, speaking about the possibility of former President Hassan Rouhani uniting low-key moderate and reformist candidates to win a sizeable minority in the next Majles, conservative politician Ali Yousefpour expressed doubts. He argued that Rouhani has lost his credibility among the voters due to his failure to sort out the country’s economic problems during his presidency.