In totalitarian dictatorships diversity of opinion doesn’t exist. And so is the case in the Islamic Republic of Iran where all secular organizations and parties were eliminated at the beginning of the Islamic revolution of 1979. Nevertheless, in keeping up appearances, presidential elections are to be held in that country on June 14th. There is an ‘inter-Islamist’ discussion about which Islamist candidate could serve the ruling leader Ali Khamenei in the best way. And that’s the gist of it; the candidates will not deviate from the ruling Islamic doctrine.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s term in office has come to an end; he can’t run again in June’s elections. Naturally, there is plenty of discussion about his potential successor and what might be surprising, considering the above, is that political disputes do still remain in this totalitarian dictatorship. While there is little in terms of true pluralism, ideological differences do exist as well as personalised competition between different Islamist interest groups. The deeper the regime galls into crisis, the harder this competition is fought. And it is no secret that the regime is currently in deep economic and political crisis.
Ahmadinejad has been routinely criticized because of his attempts to nationalise Islamism – to the extent where he had temporarily tolerated even the Hitler cult of Iranian Nazis. Ahmadinejad is a populist who has sought to bind Iranians who are tired of Islam to a mythical national form of Iranian Islamism. Islamist intolerance, supplemented by nationalist arrogance, has seen the aggressiveness of the ideological regime increase.
But Ahamdinejad won’t walk quietly. He wants to bring Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, his son’s father-in-law, to power. But there is a problem: the Principalists, an orthodox Islamic group of rulers, dislike Mashai, because of his belief that Iran requires a mix of Iranian and Islamic identity. The messianic period has begun, he says, and therefore the Iranians shall develop a new concept of nationalistic Iranian Islam. And it is this ideological assumption that is attacked by state clerics as a deviant drift.
Full Article: Iran: elections without democracy – The Commentator.