Iran ‘to continue nuclear programme and exporting terror after sham elections’

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Iran will continue its nuclear missile programme and carry on "exporting terror" after "sham" elections are held in the country next month, opposition to the country's leadership has claimed.

In February, the Iranian Interior Ministry set May 11 as the start date for nominees to register their names for the country's upcoming presidential election.

Nominees had a five-day window to enter their names, which are then vetted by the Guardian Council, which approves or rejects would-be candidates before the election takes place on June 18.

State TV said on Tuesday, May 25, that Iran's election watchdog has approved the candidacy of hardline judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi in next month's presidential election while disqualifying some of his main rivals including former parliament speaker Ali Larijani.

The Council approved just seven candidates out of 40 who met its basic criteria – in turn, a small fraction of the 600 who had registered.

Previously, the Daily Star has reported on how Iranian dissidents have claimed at least 30,000 victims were killed by the regime, and that the death camps are still open.

This has led to widespread criticism, which even came from outgoing Iranian President Hassan Rohani as he called for the vote to be opened up to more candidates.

Rohani said: "The heart of elections is competition. If you take that away, it becomes a corpse."

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) has also criticised the move.

On its website, NCRI claims to represent "an enduring democratic political coalition, founded in Tehran in July 1981, which has steadfastly sought an end to religious dictatorship, and promotes a free and democratic Iran based on its platform".

NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Mohammad Mohaddessin held a virtual press conference on Wednesday, May 26, during which he condemned the elections.

He said: "Let me put this election in context.

"In the past 40 years, elections in Iran have never been about an expression of popular choice in a democratic, fair and transparent process.

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"They are a travesty, a selection process, by a supreme leader who is himself unelected. Khamenei controls an unelected vetting body charged with filtering candidates.

"So the election outcome is not decided by the people. It's decided by the regime's internal balance of power."

He added that western countries such as the UK and US will need to come down hard on the country if any meaningful change is to be effected within his country.

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"Any interaction and cooperation with the Mullahs will help repression and killing of the Iranian people it will help the regime get nuclear weapons and start or prolong conflicts in the region, Mr Mohaddessin said. "The time has come for the West to end its appeasement and adopt a firm approach."

He also told the Star: "The policy of western countries including UK and US doesn't fit with this regime.

"It's a very common misconception that if you give some concessions to the regime it will change its behaviour.

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"But just now after 42 years of experience, of dealing and negotiating with this regime, there's no matter of discussion that this general rule does not work with this regime.

"If you give concessions with the regime, if you start negotiations, if there's no pressure on this regime, if there's no firm policy this regime will continue its unlawful behaviour, this regime will continue to export terrorist, this regime will continue its nuclear and missile programmes and anything else.

"So the main useful avenue with this regime is having a firm policy giving no concessions to this regime and making this regime responsible for its crimes inside and outside Iran."

  • Iran
  • Missiles

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