Iran Elections Begin Amid Increasing Government Pressure and Boycott Calls

Elections for the Iranian Parliament and Assembly of Experts got underway on Friday, with Islamic Republic officials urging people to cast their ballots and issuing cautions. “This opportunity must be seized, as voting is a simple act that yields substantial results,” Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei declared on Wednesday. On the other hand, there has been a growing chorus of voices within and outside of Iran, including political, civil, and organizational heavyweights, advocating for a boycott of the elections. They claimed that following elections, Iran’s circumstances had changed little to nothing significantly, especially over the previous three decades.

 

However, there are claims that the Islamic Republic’s officials used a variety of strategies to boost voter turnout before to Friday. They’re allowing military to take four days off, allowing voters to use five different forms of identification to cast ballots, and putting security measures in place to target those who want a boycott. According to the Human Rights Organization Hengaw, Karamullah Azizi, the head of Karaj’s Ghezel Hesar Prison, informed prisoners that voting was required and that those “who abstain from voting should be prepared to face the consequences.

 

Hengaw added that school administrations in Kurdish cities had called teachers to inform them that “voting is mandatory, even if it goes against the regime.” “Noncompliance will result in expulsion.” The largest independent professional body in Iran, the Coordination Council of Iranian Teachers’ Associations, issued the warning as it called Friday’s polls “theatrical.” The calls for voting came at the same time as a report published on February 20 by the Urdu-language news site Etemad Online, which stated that, according to recent surveys carried out by a few official institutions and organizations, “the latest survey by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting [IRIB], definite participation nationwide is estimated at 35 percent.”

 

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