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Iran elections: Towards an ‘Islamic government’

Out of the 529 individuals who registered to participate in Iran’s June 18 presidential election, solely seven have secured permission from the Guardian Council.

The Guardian Council is answerable for vetting candidates and deciding who will get to run in most elections in Iran. It consists of six Islamic jurists, appointed by the Supreme Leader, and 6 legal professionals, nominated by the judiciary’s head and chosen by parliament.

Among the candidates the Guardian Council barred from operating within the upcoming election are the previous spokesperson of the Iranian parliament Ali Larijani, former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and present Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri.

Five of the seven candidates who’ve been accepted by the council are hardliners: Head of the judiciary Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi; former Supreme National Security Council secretary and nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili; Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei, a former head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC); and MPs Alireza Zakani and Amirhossein Qazizadeh-Hashemi.

The different two candidates who will probably be on the poll on June 18 are Abdolnaser Hemmati, a technocrat and the previous governor of the Central Bank of Iran, and Mohsen Mehralizadeh, head of Iran’s nationwide sports activities organisation and former governor of Isfahan.

Among these seven candidates, Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi is the main contender. Many Iran observers anticipate him not solely to be elected as Iran’s subsequent president, but additionally ultimately to develop into the nation’s subsequent supreme chief.

The Guardian Council has been fastidiously engineering elections to provide outcomes which might be acceptable to Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei for many years. Nevertheless, the council’s choice to bar a excessive variety of outstanding and objectively certified candidates from operating within the upcoming election was nonetheless unprecedented.

The council elevated the extent of management it exerts on the candidate listing as a result of the Iranian institution believes that the Islamic Republic is at the moment at a turning level and as a detailed ally of Khamenei, Mehdi Tayeb, not too long ago mentioned, there’s a must “purify the revolution”.

To perceive what they imply by “purifying the revolution”, we have to take a look at Khamenei’s political ideology.

In the late Nineteen Nineties, Khamenei outlined what he believes to be the 5 important phases of a profitable Islamic Revolution. The first stage is the Islamic Revolution itself. The second stage is the institution of an Islamic regime, which ought to be adopted by the institution of an Islamic authorities. The fourth stage is the institution of an Islamic society, which, he says, would pave the best way for the institution of an Islamic civilisation – one that might function a mannequin and chief for all Muslim-majority international locations internationally.

According to Khamenei, the primary two hyperlinks on this chain have been accomplished in Iran with the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the formation of the Islamic Republic. But Iran is but to finish the third hyperlink: the institution of an “Islamic government”.

So, at the moment, Khamenei’s main political purpose is to make sure that the nation is led by a really Islamic authorities that’s loyal to him and his imaginative and prescient for the nation.

To obtain this purpose, he printed a manifesto in 2019, and has since been working to rejuvenate the regime and put together the optimum circumstances for the institution of an “Islamic government”. He stocked unelected however extremely politically influential posts within the armed forces, judiciary, spiritual organisations and media with younger and constant hardliners. With the assistance of the Guardian Council, he additionally stuffed the Iranian parliament together with his younger and zealous supporters within the 2020 parliamentary election.

Next month’s presidential election, subsequently, constitutes the ultimate stage in Khamenei’s efforts to ascertain an ultimate “Islamic government”.

Khamenei was elected as Iran’s supreme Leader in 1989. Since then, he labored with 4 administrations: The Rafsanjani administration (1989-1996), the Khatami administration (1997-2004), the Ahmadinejad administration (2005-2013) and the Rouhani administration (2013-2020).

Among these 4 governments, the one which was closest to Khamenei’s ultimate of “Islamic government” was Ahmedinejad’s – a minimum of throughout his first time period in energy. Ahmadinejad labored harmoniously with the Supreme Leader between 2005 and 2009, however the two ultimately fell out throughout his second time period as president as a consequence of political energy struggles.

The Supreme Leader is now working to make sure the institution of a brand new administration that might pursue comparable insurance policies and methods to Ahmedinejad, however stay loyal and subservient to the Supreme Leader until the tip.

And, certainly, the main candidate Raisi’s election marketing campaign is being run by veterans of the Ahmadinejad administration, akin to Ali Nikzad, who served because the Minister of Transportation and Housing below Ahmedinejad between 2009-2011 and Reza Taghipour, who was his Minister of Communications between 2009-2012.

As was the case throughout Ahmadinejad’s presidency, the political appointees of a future Raisi administration would additionally come from essentially the most conservative sections of Iranian society, and particularly from the IRGC and the Oppressed Basij Organisation, a paramilitary group that works for the IRGC.

The IRGC and the Basij usually are not solely the house for essentially the most fervent supporters of the Islamic Revolution and its beliefs, however in addition they function the biggest and most influential assist base for the Supreme Leader.

If Khamenei succeeds in guaranteeing the formation of a brand new administration that might fill most politically related posts within the nation with hardliner members of the IRGC and the Basij, the ever closing hole between the Iranian authorities and the Iranian “deep state” managed by the Supreme Leader will lastly disappear. Such an administration, within the eyes of Khamenei, would signify a really “Islamic government” and be extra profitable in implementing insurance policies that might additional the targets of the revolution.

According to Khamenei, as soon as established, an Islamic authorities would work to finish the Islamisation of Iranian society – the fourth step within the Supreme Leader’s long run plan.

Since the revolution in 1979, Iranian society has skilled two waves of Islamisation – the primary in 1980 triggered by the closure of universities and the second, in 2005, triggered by Ahmedinejad’s election as president. If an “Islamic government” loyal to the Supreme Leader is shaped as anticipated on June 18, Iran will undoubtedly see a 3rd wave of Islamisation.

As seen throughout the first two waves, the third wave of Islamisation in Iran will possible have three main manifestations: Further embedment of Islamic tradition and values in every day and political life, a extra forceful battle in opposition to Western influences on Iranian society, and an enhance within the Supreme Leader’s affect and management over all social and political teams within the nation.

To obtain this, the brand new administration should use pressure, as at the moment giant segments of the Iranian inhabitants don’t share the beliefs and ambitions of the ruling regime. The new administration will repress these in Iran who strive to withstand regime-imposed restrictions on their lives and enhance stress over the youth and girls – the primary two teams that more and more problem the regime’s authority.

In phrases of international coverage, a brand new “Islamic government” will work to attain the entire Islamic Republic’s long run targets, akin to rising Iran’s affect over the area and exporting the Islamic revolution to different international locations by supporting militant teams.

If the brand new authorities finally ends up together with many members of the IRGC and the Basij as anticipated, the cooperation between the Iranian Foreign Ministry and the IRGC may even strengthen, permitting the nation to pursue its international coverage agenda extra effectively.

Anti-Americanism may even be a defining attribute of any future “Islamic government” supported by Khamenei.

Anti-Americanism is on the core of the Iranian regime and the Supreme Leader’s identification. So any new authorities supported by the Supreme Leader would possible proceed to antagonise the US and its allies whereas transferring nearer to Russia and China. Forming higher relationships with African and South American international locations would even be a precedence for the brand new administration for political and financial causes.

Ayatollah Khamenei, who’s 82 years outdated, desires his regime and beliefs to survive him. He desires not solely the spirit of the 1979 revolution to dwell on, but additionally Iran to ultimately develop into an Islamic powerhouse and a frontrunner of the Muslim world. Only time will inform if the Supreme Leader will achieve overseeing the formation of an ultimate Islamic authorities that’s essential to the success of his long-term political agenda. But for now, it appears Khamenei is nicely positioned to maneuver to the subsequent stage of his revolutionary plan.

The views expressed on this article are the creator’s personal and don’t essentially mirror Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

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