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Hunger fast protests Iran's election farce

Some 50 Iranian-Americans in Los Angeles have been conducting a three-day hunger strike protesting the illegitimate presidential election farce to be staged by the mullahs ruling the Islamic Republic of Iran this coming Friday.

The hunger strikers are joined by Reza Pahlavi, the son of the late shah of Iran and the heir to Iran’s throne. The protest, being staged in front of the Federal Building on Wilshire Boulevard, began on Friday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. PST, and will end on Monday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. PST. On Sunday evening, the protesters walked with candles in the memory of all those countless souls who lost their lives being tortured by the mullahs for their political and religious views.

The presidential election in Iran is a sham. Over 1,000 people came forward to run for president, yet the list was narrowed to six candidates by the mullahs’ 12-man Guardian Council. Then the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei intervened and inserted two more “reformist” candidates, bringing the total to eight candidates. All eight are present or former government or security officials. All of the 89 women who registered were eliminated, as were any true opponents of the government.

The election reduces to a mullah-approved slate with the variations among the candidates little more than narrow differences being debated amongst the mullahs themselves.

No candidate with a true reformist position or advocating alternative viewpoints from the ruling clerics themselves was permitted to be on the ballot. To call this process a “free election” mocks the concept itself. The Iranian presidential election is not free and it is not fair.

Those calling for an internationally supervised referendum make the point clearly: If Iranians were permitted to vote on the mullahs themselves, the ruling clerics would be tossed out on their turbans by an overwhelming majority of the Iranian voters. The mullahs know this, so they rig the election to create the appearance of choice in the hope that they can continue fooling the world into believing they are a legitimate government. The argument is so transparent that only communists, or the extreme left in Europe and America, would ever dare to argue that the Islamic Republic of Iran is a “democracy.”

Besides, everybody knows that Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is going to win. When he ran for president in 1989, Rafsanjani positioned himself as a “moderate,” the same way he is positioning himself today. Yet, the record is clear. Rafsanjani is a hardline killer who, as president, brutally put down the student rebellion with thugs who beat the dissidents.

Now, Rafsanjai is boasting that he can open up negotiations with the United States and improve Iran’s economic lot by having sanctions removed. At the same time, rumblings out of Iran suggest that the government plans to resume enriching uranium by the end of July. Other reports suggest that Iran plans to install tens of thousands of advanced centrifuges at their underground uranium enrichment facility at Natanz. Before temporarily halting uranium enrichment in November last year, the mullahs made sure they completed enriching 37 tons of yellowcake uranium into uranium hexafluoride gas at Isfahan, ready to return to Natanz for final weapons-grade enrichment by centrifuge.

Granted, the mullahs have bought more time by carrying out this charade of a free election. Still, the opposition within Iran and worldwide continues to build. As we completed the Iran Freedom Walk on May 28, 2005, support for those oppressed in Iran was carried across by radio and television to some 40 million in Iran.

On election day, this Friday, we expect millions of Iranians to boycott and stay home. While the time for peaceful change is growing short, time yet remains. If the mullahs were not truly weak and desperately afraid, they would allow a genuine referendum to be held. The hunger strike going on in Los Angeles is important. If the mullahs and Rafsanjani do not win their current gambit, the time may be growing short and mullahs’ day of reckoning may be drawing near.