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February 15, 2016 4:29 pm

Upbeat Vox Video ‘Explaining’ Iranian Political System Ignites Facebook Fury

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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From the VOX video about the Iranian political system. Photo: Screenshot.

From the VOX video about the Iranian political system, claiming it is both a theocracy and a democracy. Photo: Screenshot.

A short video outlining Iran’s political system in simple language and graphics has elicited an angry response from Iranians on social media.

The clip, titled “How Iran’s election could make history,” was produced by VOX, an American media outlet whose self-described mission is to “explain the news.” It was posted on Facebook on February 11. Since then, it has garnered hundreds of comments and an even greater number of “likes” and “shares.”

The film was released ahead of the upcoming Feb. 26 elections for the Majlis (parliament) and the Assembly of Experts, the body that appoints the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader – a cleric with a lifetime tenure.

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Iran’s current supreme leader is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is 76 year old. This means, as he himself recently pointed out in a recent speech calling on Iranians to vote, that the new Assembly of Experts is liable to end up having to appoint his successor.

VOX made its video with this in mind. “An upcoming national election is the closest that Iranian popular will and internal politics can come to shaping the country’s future,” it wrote under the clip on Facebook.

The following are a number of comments from shocked Facebook users who considered the clip to be too soft on the Iranian political system by claiming it is a mix of theocracy and democracy.

Sepehr Mozafarian: “Vox I just wonder if you are the news agency of Islamic Republic of Iran!!! and the reason is that, exactly like the Islamic regime leaders you ( deliberately or in-deliberately) tried to hide the important role of the Guardian Council of the Constitution. The most important council in each election, 12-member council are selected directly or indirectly by the supreme leader, and in each election they decide whether a candidate is qualified in order to even participate in the election, so finally the election is a kind of jock. because if one has even a small deviation with the supreme leader’s attitudes can not even pass this proxy to participate in the election, no matter if it’s the presidential election, Parliament election or whatever election. The other most important role of this council is to approve the legislation passed by the Parliament. So as a conclusion, there is no democracy exist in Iran and everything is decided directly or indirectly by the supreme leader.”

Ali Ashtari: “I am an Iranian and I found this video a total BS. The Supreme Leader controls the elections by allowing only his own candidates to run. This creates an illusion of democracy for the gullible westerners and strengthens the supreme leader in return. Plus, the nuclear deal has weekend the moderates and their candidates are removed from the elections more than ever before. Enough of wishful thinking!”

Ahmad Mazahery: “The so called elected! part of the Government is selected by none-elected part!. So Iranian people only and only can vote for whomever none elected part ( Shoray Negahban) approve. It is a sham election to buy legitimacy for regime.”

Mahdieh Malek: “As an Iranian lawyer, this video is some parts BS about elected president. All you know nominates for presidency are elected by Supreme leaders representatives in (Shoraye Negahban) then Iranian Citizens vote to one of the elected nominates as the future. It means president elected indirect by Supreme Leader.”

Yashar Harzandi: “Well, not true due to the funny fact that candidates first need to be qualified by the same assembly of experts in order to be listed as “eligible” candidates! So basically it’s not a democratic election in the first place!”

Peymaneh Shafai: “This is total BS! There are no free elections in Iran! The graph is deceiving and fabricated and a big lie! All the candidates have to be approved by Supreme leader both in parliament and presidency! This is a fabrication and distortion of truth produced by Iranian regime!”

Mohamad Hossein Moharami: “Bullshit ! its a 100% dictatorship ! and do you really see this election a chance to reach democracy !?? voting for candidates they, themselves choose !?”

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  • shloime

    the iranian system has a few features that we would not recognize as “democratic”: first, all the candidates are hand-picked by ayatollah khamenei (aka “the supreme leader”). the only “reformist candidates” on the ballot are those that he considers to suit his policies. (so for example, rouhani was selected to put a “moderate” face forward, to get the sanctions eased. but “moderate” doesn’t mean opposing the mullahcracy or reforming the regime.)

    but in case that isn’t anti-democratic enough, the “results” were released for publication before the ballots were counted. (resulting in the absurd situation of street demonstrations against the general principle of fraudulent elections.) but no worries, because “democracy” is meaningless in an islamic theocracy, since there’s no such thing in the koran.

    but none of this is new to anyone following the news from iran, which calls into question the competence and the motivation behind the vox article.

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