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Political Prisoners Boycotting the Presidential Election

June 1, 2021
5 min read
Political Prisoners Boycotting the Presidential Election

A group of 24 political prisoners in Greater Tehran Penitentiary, who were arrested and sentenced over the bloody protests of November 2019, have sent a letter to IranWire stating that they will not participate in the 2021 presidential election.

The group has also urged the wider public to boycott the vote as they consider participation to be an expression of assent with the state’s behavior. The text of the letter, which was signed by all 24 is as follows:

Participating in the elections, or rather dramatic appointments, of the Islamic Republic even before the tragic events of January 2018 and Bloody November of 2019 was a mistake – based on unawareness of the structure and totality of dictatorial states in which every detail is predetermined by certain people and fed to society through a show of democracy.

But after the tragic events of January 2018 and November 2019, in addition to this obvious reason, to participate in this spectacle by the Islamic Republic is to dip one’s finger in the blood of those killed in the protests, and to affirm the murders, suffocation, and systematic repression that accompanies government policy.

We, the political prisoners of Greater Tehran Penitentiary, are redrawing the line between ourselves and the Islamic Republic by fulfilling our humanitarian duty and declaring a boycott of appointments by the Islamic Republic.

Koroush Bagheri, a currently-serving political prisoner in Greater Tehran Penitentiary born in 1986, has also demanded that people boycott the vote. Bagheri was arrested in January 2020 by agents of the Revolutionary Guards in the city of Rey, Tehran province, and interrogated for 19 days before being jailed.

His first court hearing took place on April 30, 2020, the second took place on May 18 and the third was held in early July. He was eventually sentenced by Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran to three years in prison on charges of insulting the leadership and propaganda against the regime.

In an audio file received by IranWire, Bagheri said:

"Once again, a marquee has been set up by those corrupt people who have been playing on the religious faith of the Iranian people with their dirty and Machiavellian politics for years: a consortium of apocalyptic antichrists, who have given thousands of deceptive promises to the people and sharpened their teeth only to plunder the material and spiritual assets of the Iranian people.

“[They] intend to satisfy their lust for illegitimate wealth and power, under the name of democracy, through tyranny and autocracy; crooked tyrants who know full well that in the 43rd year of their dishonest rule, [to gain] the people's support for their fraudulent showcase, have combined the two elections of the city councils and the presidency – both of which are a lie.

“They intend to gather legitimacy from the honorable, noble and oppressed people of Iran: a people whose workers' calloused hands are ashamed of their families, and whose wise women are spellbound by a handful of rotten and medieval thugs from the ruling regime. A country whose geniuses were exiled in the absence of rational sovereignty, whose capitalists went bankrupt. The colorful tribes of this region are tormented by longing for the happiness of their neighbors, while a staggering class gap that is widening every day is squeezing the throats of those poor groups deprived of the right to housing, proper nutrition and marriage.

“The Iranian people have no hope for the future of their children amid the drunken laughter of the government, which has its eyes on the weakened souls of Iranians. All of this is due to deafness, and blindness, and a lack of understanding by the government towards the people, who are dying under the boots of tyranny.

“The domestic and foreign policies of this government have turned the country's powerful foreign friends into vindictive enemies, and caused the world’s beggars to share the wealth and existence of the Iranian people. These same policies have led to the establishment of sanctions that have taken the people of Iran hostage, causing a global consensus against the state’s irrational policies, and made it turn to treacherous countries such as China and Russia.

“In this deplorable situation, whereby the lives, property and livelihoods of the people are of no value to this dictatorial government, the majority of Iranians prefer to stay at home rather than repeat the mistakes of the past in legitimizing this corrupt system, and not to participate in histrionic and engineered elections, whose results are already clear.

“By not paying attention to the government's marquee, the people will show their disagreement with the policies and ideology of this state, which is disrupting the situation in Iran and the wider world. The world will see that the Iranian people are not complicit in the crime of these corrupters, and that they want a prosperous, free future without this government, which is stained with the blood of the Iranian youth and the people of the region."

Iran's 13th presidential election is due to take place on June 18, 2021. Opinion polls have already suggested that up to 65 percent of people do not plan to participate and the Iranian police force has threatened to “deal with” those who try to disrupt the vote, acting on the instructions of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Related coverage:

Has the Regime Decided Low Election Turnout is its New Strategy?

Reformist Leader Expects "Less Than 25 Percent Turnout" in Presidential Election

Elections End Any Pretense of Democracy in Iran



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