The Islamic Republic of Iran has a history of loosening the screws on freedom of expression ahead of elections to help the “heating of the election oven”.
That doesn’t seem to be the case this time around, as the country heads to polls for parliamentary elections on Friday. Amnesty International reported an intensifying of clampdown.
Nevertheless, there has been some debate in the lead up to the elections, which will be mostly fought amongst the conservatives as the reformists remain absent, with their leaders under de-facto house arrest.
We bring you some of the quotable quotes bellow:
|Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran
"The enemy's propaganda machines and the media of arrogant circles have begun an extensive effort so that the assembly election is without splendour.
"But all should know that the people's participation in the elections will take the country forward … an election full of excitement will be a major blow to the enemy."
|Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran
Referring to a meeting with governors:
“At the meeting, I said: what is the pay at the Assemly that people are ready to spend 50 million Riyals on advertisement? The governors said go higher. I said 150million. They said go higher… It is not clear where they get it [the resources] from”
|Mustafa Mohamed Najar, the minister of interior
"Hundreds of social networks and websites such as Facebook and Twitter are trying to weaken people’s morale and decrease their participation in the elections."
|Mehdi Karroubi, opposition leader under house-arrest
Karroubi, one of the main leaders of the Green Movement, reportedly sent out this statement through his wife, Fatema Karoubi:
“So the prestige of Islam and the clergy is not tainted any longer, and people and the political activists sympathetic to the system are not arrested again, it is better that the small group that are acceptable to the misters be appointed as the high council for elections and choose some individuals as the representatives of the people. And hit the final arrow at the body of the Islamic Republic that was established in 1358 (1979) with a decisive and unprecedented popular vote.
From the stance of the Guardian Council and the Minister of Information and other authorities that I have heard - particularly from the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcaster (IRIB) - it seems that, in their belief, the enemies of the revolution and the system are trying to use the elections as an opportunity to derail the country’s security. I deduce from these stances that the misters are well aware of the people’s continued anger and want to organise an ordered and sham election. By disqualification and annulment of some constituencies and by filling the ballot boxes with ballots that have no owners, and then through crackdown and arrests and creation of panic, they want to repeat the 2009 election project.
|Ali Mohamed Gharibayee, a reformist leader
“Despite the attempts of the Coordination Council for the Reformist Front for appropriate election atmosphere, unfortunately the space gets tighter every day. Therefore, this council has decided not to present a list of candidates or support anyone.”
|Mohamed Khatemi, former president of Iran and reformist leader
“Since all signs indicate that we shouldn’t participate in this election, participating in the election has no meaning.”
|Mohamed Raza Naqdi, head of the Basij Organisation
Referring to former president Khatemi’s support for protests after the 2009 elections:
“If he does not repent, he - accompanied by his circle - will go to the trash bin of history. For this reason, I believe some are dull and do not have grasp of politics.”
|Salar Abnosh, army commander in Qazvin province
“If the results of the assembly elections are not in line with our values, the year 1391 (2012) will be a dangerous, and even bloody, year."
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies