While there has been considerable speculation — much in the form of polls — about which of the eight Presidential candidates is in the lead in the run-up to the June 14 election, the question that nobody can answer is what the turnout will be on the day.
A low turnout would indicate that Iranians are either apathetic about the election or that they feel that the regime will manipulate the results, and so there is no point in voting.
Amid this uncertainty, senior IRGC and Basij leaders have warned this week that Iran’s “enemies” were attempting to interfere in the Presidential election.
The Deputy Commander of the IRGC’s Ground Forces, Brigadier General Abdollah Araghi, cautioned that Iran must beware of the enemy’s “careful manipulation” of the election.
“Today, we are on the eve of an election that will decide the fate of the country, and we must be fully aware so that the enemy does not exploit the space of the election,” he warned.
The commander of the Basij, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, said that Iranians could help defeat the enemy by turning out en masse to vote in the elections.
Naghdi said that, in fact, Iran’s enemies would be “astonished” on June 14 and would face another heavy defeat, because the Iranian people would create a political epic.
The deputy commander of the IRGC’s political wing, Rasul Sanai Rad, also urged a high turnout, saying that this showed the national might of Iran and also indicated the level of trust people felt in the system.
The Supreme Leader’s representative in the IRGC, Hojjatol Eslam Ali Saeedi, told people in Arak last week that a large turnout would demonstrate national might and sovereignty, but moreover would guarantee that the system’s legitimacy was preserved and would “remove threats against the Iranian nation”.
Presidential candidate and Supreme National Security Council secretary Saeed Jalili has tweeted a picture he said came from his supporters in Lebanon — presumably Hezbollah (if the image is genuine).
— Saeed Jalili (@DrSaeedJalili) June 7, 2013
The image, in the colors of the Islamic Republic’s flag, shows a photograph of a younger Jalili and the Arabic caption المقاوم — the Resistor; the legend العدالة والحرية — “Justice and Freedom”, and then a current photograph of Jalili with the caption الدبلوماسي — the Diplomatist.
The director of Radio Farda, Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty’s Persian service, has said that harassment against his reporters has increased in recent weeks.
“The harassment has intensified in the past several weeks, as the authorities take all possible precautions against anything that may challenge their control over the elections,” Armand Mostofi said.
Radio Farda said it had documented nine incidents of harassment during May, in which reporters’ family members in Iran have been interrogated and asked to persuade their relatives to stop working for Radio Farda or stay but work for Iranian intelligence, RFE/ RL report.
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