Despite four years of non-stop pressure, arrests and intimidation, Iran’s dissidents still find ways to show their resilience. Protest messages still ricochet around social media despite Iran’s cyber cops’ attempts to control the Web. Angry graffiti pops up and then quickly painted over by authorities. Mourners at the funeral of a dissident cleric flashed V-for-victory gestures and chanted against the state. But just a look at the sidewalks around Tehran’s Mellat Park shows how far Iran’s opposition has fallen as the country prepares for Friday’s presidential election.
Conservative lawmaker Ali Motahari has accused the Revolutionary Guards Corps of “meddling” in the country’s 2012 parliamentary elections. Addressing fellow parliamentarians on Sunday, Motahari said the IRGC’s role in the 2 March elections was a “point of weakness” for the elite fighting force. He argued that the IRGC’s involvement in the vote had had a “damaging” impact on the IRGC, as well as the Islamic Republic itself. “The IRGC’s interference in many of the polling stations was evident and many of the candidates—both those who were elected and those who weren’t—confirm this reality.” The MP stated that during the election process, the IRGC “seriously backed” candidates it wished to see in parliament. “The IRGC’s interference in the elections was damaging to itself, and a danger to the revolution and the Islamic system.” While serving as MP in the eighth Majlis, Ali Motahari, the son of the late Ayatollah Motahari, one of the Islamic Republic’s principal theoreticians and founders, also led the initiative to question Ahmadinejad, albeit unsuccessfully.