Mahmoud Sadeghi, a reformist political activist and former member of the Iranian parliament, has become the latest to express concerns about low turnout in the upcoming presidential election.
In an interview with ILNA on Sunday, Sadeghi said the reformists were determined to nominate a candidate even though polls indicated that “the turnout will be less than 25 percent”.
He went on to observe that although less than a month now remains for candidates to register, the pre-electoral atmosphere in the country is still far from “vibrant”. He attributed this to widespread dissatisfaction and frustration with the incumbent administration.
Sadeghi was disqualified from re-assuming his Tehran parliamentary seat in last year’s elections after being handed a 20-month prison sentence for excoriating remarks about the former head of the judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani.
In the interview he also described the electoral ecosystem in Iran as a “special” one that was in desperate need of real competition, and called on the authorities to break with the old formula and thaw the “cold” atmosphere of the vote.
The 2021 presidential election is set to be held on Friday 18 June. While several military men and current and ex-members of the Revolutionary Guards have announced their candidacy, Iran’s so-called moderate and reformist factions have yet to put forward their own candidate.
Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of the founder of the Islamic Republic, who according to his brother had intended to run in the elections, was “advised” not to try to run by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and has since backed away.
Former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has also fired up his own campaign, but will seemingly have little chance of getting his nomination past the Guardian Council.