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Iranians defeat rabble-rousers with ballots, uphold democracy

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

By Syed Zafar Mehdi

Amidst the cacophony of foreign-backed propaganda and misinformation crusade aimed at derailing Iran’s vibrant democratic politics, people and the republic again emerged as winners on Friday.

The nefarious schemes of arrogant powers were yet again thwarted by the proud nation of Iran, by all those who participated in Friday’s presidential election and voted for democracy.

The most fitting answer to rabble-rousers is the ballot, a powerful and potent weapon in the hands of ordinary people. It’s the catalyst of political and social change.

Not all people can use this weapon and not all understand its sanctity, some of them ironically never miss a chance to vilify Iran and its democratic institutions.

We don’t need to go too far. In Iran’s neighborhood there are people who have never seen a ballot box, never known what democracy smells like, with life-long autocrats taking decisions for them.

On the other hand, there are so-called ‘democracies’ where political elites and their unruly supporters refuse to accept people’s verdict, and go on to attack the symbols of democracy.

In the Islamic Republic, based on the sacrosanct teachings of Islam and the cherished principles of democracy, people are empowered to elect their representatives, who are answerable to them.

As the leader of the Islamic revolution, Sayyed Ali Khamenei, said in his very enlightening congratulatory message on Saturday, the victory in Friday’s vote belongs to the nation.

The people, he said, again stood up to the propaganda of enemy’s mercenary media and deceptions of ill-wishers, showing their presence in the heart of the country’s political arena.

There are legitimate grievances related to economic problems and difficult living conditions resulting from it. Enemies have tried to exploit these ‘fault lines’, pitting people against the government.

But, who is responsible for this situation? Those who have imposed crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic, denying access even to life-saving medicine or the country’s frozen assets abroad.

The brave and resilient people of Iran, who have with unwavering determination resisted ‘economic terrorism’ of the West for years, understand it. They can deconstruct these schemes.

Friday’s vote was against all those arrogant, murderous forces that have been bell-bent on bringing Iranians to their knees through ‘maximum pressure’ and ‘economic terrorism’.

The vote was an answer to those who gave calls of ‘election boycott’, including some paid social media mercenaries who peddled lies to dissuade young voters from participating in the election.

The writing is on the wall: the proud nation of Iran is here to stay because it derives its power from people, and can distinguish between ballot boxes and fruit boxes, to invoke the Leader.

Friday’s election also showed political astuteness of the country’s electorate, which voted principlists back to power after 8-years of Hassan Rouhani-led reformist government.

There is no denying that the popularity of the incumbent government dropped in recent years, with growing economic difficulties, and the lingering Covid-19 crisis.

While the impact of sanctions on the present state of affairs cannot be dismissed, as some top government officials have argued in recent days, mismanagement remained a big concern.

People gave their mandate to Syed Ebrahim Raeisi, a top principlist figure, while rejecting his main reformist challenger and former top banker Abdol-Nasser Hemmati on Friday because they wanted change in the status quo. More importantly, they were empowered to do so.

The lone reformist candidate in the race, who served as the top banker in Rouhani administration, had sought to distance himself from the government, but people cannot be taken for granted.

The election result is a testament to Iran’s vibrant democracy, where conscientious, intelligent and smart voters cast their ballots based on plans and manifestos of candidates, rather than sloganeering.

The lively presidential debates in the run up to Friday’s election showed how important the electorate is for candidates in this country. There were heated arguments too, but no expletives or name-calling happened as we saw in the US election recently.

The focus must not be lost. The idea is to win the trust and faith of people, an alien concept in many Western democracies.

Unlike the West, where big corporate houses, powerful political lobbies and money influence the outcome of elections, in Iran it is the people who determine the outcome.

Another important feature that distinguishes Iran's democratic politics is the smooth transition of power and the grace with which presidents hand over power.

It was again seen on Saturday, moments after preliminary results showed Raeisi winning by a massive margin, when President Hassan Rouhani became the first person to visit Raeisi.

The two political rivals addressed media together, with both showing class and grace. Compare that with the US, where the outgoing president doesn't even show up at the incoming president's swearing-in ceremony, making mockery of the so-called democracy.

Then, with lack of ideas to show Iran in poor light, hue and cry is raised over disqualification of certain candidates, without understanding the nitty-gritty of the issue.

Guardian Council is a Constitutionally-mandated body tasked with vetting candidates for elections and it operates strictly on legal parameters. It’s not a kangaroo court that operates on whims and fancies as we see in many countries that proudly call themselves US allies.

Vetting of candidates is a painstaking process that takes days and marathon sessions of brainstorming discussions between experts, taking into consideration eligibility criteria and national interests. And, the law of the land is supreme everywhere.

So, the entire hullabaloo over it is wholly unwarranted. What is clear is the enmity toward Iran, which shows Iran is definitely doing something right to ruffle the feathers of its enemies.


Syed Zafar Mehdi is a Tehran-based journalist editor and blogger with over 10 years experience, he has reported extensively from Kashmir, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran for leading publications worldwide. Can be reached at

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)

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