Iran has a date with the Presidential Elections this Friday, the 18th of June, where four out of seven candidates are expected to compete for the thirteenth session. According to the constitution, the Guardian Council (responsible for approving the names, programs and biography of candidates), as in every presidential election, has excluded several names, which has caused domestic criticism. These elections appear different from the previous ones, as the level of participation is expected to fall to around 50 per cent. Suppose the number of voters is not high. In that case, the turnout will be the lowest in the country’s electoral history, given that the participation rate in the last presidential elections was 73 per cent. However, the percentage in any presidential election worldwide has never been a reliable indicator, particularly in Iran where society has been politically polarised since 1980. Moreover, there is only one major hardliner candidate and one reformist for both camps to vote for and choose as the next President of Iran.
In the West, there has always been a significant focus on all events taking place in Iran. Some “experts”(wrongly) identified the Guardian Council’s move under the label of the control of the “deep state”. Others believed that “the regime wants Ibrahim Raisi” for the next Presidency because he is supposed to be preparing for a future higher position as the successor to the Wali al-Faqih Sayyid, Ali Khamenei.
However, there is little doubt the western world of experts on Iran has limited knowledge of what is going on behind the scenes in Iran since the revolution’s victory. The most straightforward issue is that the constitution always governs the strategic decision taken by the Iranian officials. The future President and his government have specific functions by law since the position of the prime minister was abolished during the era of Mir Hossein Mousavi and when the constitution was amended before the departure of Imam Khomeini. Consequently, the nuclear negotiation with the US has nothing to do with the Iranian election and the new president’s identity.
Just after the overthrow of the Shah of Iran and the revolution’s victory, Imam Khomeini called for a referendum where the absolute number of voters called for the “Islamic Republic”. The first elected President was Abolhassan Bani Sadr in 1980. At that time, Imam Khomeini did not support Bani Sadr, but neither revealed his political view to affect the election result.
“I have nothing to do with who will become President of the republic, and this is none of my business. Personally, I have one vote, and I will give it to whomsoever of the candidates I want, and you, the people of Iran, are in my same position,” said Imam Khomeini.
In the 1985 presidential elections, Sayyed Ali Khamenei became President following the assassination of President Mohammad Ali Rajaei:”Imam Khomeini ordered me that the matter (of my candidateship) is necessary and that it is my Islamic duty to run for the presidential elections. However, I did not disclose Imam Khomeini’s will so that my words would not affect the course of the elections (People would have voted for whoever Imam Khomeini would have chosen)”, Khamenei said to a crowd gathering in the presence of Imam Khomeini. This statement indicates how the Wali al-Fakih, who likes or dislikes a Presidential candidate, keeps his opinion to himself and does not interfere or try to influence the elections in favour or against a candidate elected by the people.