Iran’s idea of an election has always been something of a curiosity. No more so than this week. The Guardian Council, an unelected group composed of Muslim clerics and hardliners, disqualified all but 30 of the 3,000 reform candidates seeking to appear on ballots for the parliamentary elections. Six of the 12 members of the Council are clerics selected by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The Guardian Council determines who voters will be allowed to see on the ballot — guaranteeing that the Parliament will remain in the control of hardliners.
The disqualification of reformists has been a long problem in Iran but this year appears even more extensive in the heavy handed role of the Council.
Recently, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on all Iranians — even those who oppose him —to participate in the elections. What he didn’t mention is that they could participate only if they voted between the candidates that he approved. It is the Henry Ford version of politics: you can choose any color so long as it is black.