April 20, 2019
The Iranian parliamentary elections are due to be held in just over a year on 21st February 2020. In preparation for this, the Majles [Iranian parliament] has passed new regulations that will have a major impact on the state media which is already subject to very strict restrictions.
Under these new regulations, it has been agreed that there will be new punishments for those that ignore or undermine the restrictions on the state media, which is already very tightly and strictly controlled.
This measure is part of the regime’s bill to amend the existing election law and it targets all kinds of media – print, audio-visual and electronic. It specifies that this even includes social media.
With regards to the elections, the media cannot publish anything that goes against candidates and it has to keep silent about any potential candidate withdrawal.
These new regulations have been announced amid a time of great social uncertainty in Iran. 2018 was marked by prevalent social unrest and the people have made it very clear that they want regime change. The country’s leaders are very well aware that they are in the weakest position they have ever been and that the people of Iran present a very real threat to their future.
After weeks of massive flooding, the people of Iran are utterly fed up with the regime’s neglect and mismanagement. Protests have broken out in several towns and the regime is very nervous that they will spread further across the country in a repeat of the widespread protests that broke out in December 2017.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said that he is fearful of foreign intervention in the 2020 elections, saying that he believes foreign powers could engineer social unrest at a critical time.
Ali Mohammad Naeeni, an IRGC adviser, said in December that he too believes there will be substantial civil unrest during the election preparations and that foreign powers, or “enemies” as he described them, will fuel this by highlighting the economic status of the country.
Elections in Iran are far from fair and candidates are pre-approved by the Guardian Council. Indeed, anyone that does not prove themselves to be completely faithful to the regime’s ideology will not get very far in the process.
Social unrest is a very real threat to the Iranian regime because the people will no longer tolerate the unfairness in society. The people want a free and democratic Iran where their voices will be heard and where their human rights will be acknowledged and respected. They want a fair society that takes into account the numerous minorities in Iran. They want choice when it comes to the leadership and the running of the country.
For far too long, the people have suffered under the repressive and suppressive policies of the regime and they are determined to ensure that their future changes for the better. The only certainty about the Iranian regime is that its greatest downfall will be the people.