NCRI - Despite all the restrictions on internet in Iran, in the run up to sham presidential elections, Iranian youth have found ways to circumvent these restrictions and social networks are filled with remarks questioning the integrity of the elections. This has angered the regime officials who continually express anxiety about it. Almost no day passes by without giving notices and warnings in this regard and large-scale arrest of social network managers are widely reported.
These activities clearly unveil the hollowness of the election show and simultaneously expose the criminal records of all presidential candidates and the supreme leader’s ominous plans. The popular slogan that declares, “Iranian people’s vote is to overthrow of the regime” has been widely seen on social networks. PMOI supporters have an active role in these online campaigns, who are also involved in hanging banners reading “No to sham elections” or pictures of Maryam Rajavi in the streets of Tehran and number of other cities.
A glimpse at users’ posts in Twitter and Telegram (since the regime cannot control them, they are more popular inside Iran) and their reflection on Twitter networks of Iranian expats in the Twitter space provides a better picture of what has caused the regime anger.
In Social media, the record of Ebrahim Raisi (favorite candidate by the faction affiliated to the regime’s Supreme Leader Khamenei) in killings and especially the massacre of 1988 is widely distributed, but users have at the same time criticized Hassan Rouhani asking him where he was in 1988 during mass executions. Some also mentioned Rouhani’s calls for more executions and repression in Friday prayers… and have attached newspaper cuttings.
Some of the remarks in social media include: “My vote is regime change”, “death to the principle of velayat-e faqih”, or mocking Rouhani where he said, "We have a country and all Iranian citizens must have equal rights", by saying “Such as the legitimate right of one execution every 8 hour”. Another user has written about Raisi: “What happened in the summer of 1988? Why the record of one month is missing from your campaign record?” Or distribution of calls of some personalities like Mr. Mohammad Maleki, the first Tehran University Chancellor after the fall of the Shah's regime who has been in prison and under torture for many years in the mullahs’ regime. He said: “We don’t have elections in Iran, we have selections”, and “I don’t participate in the election as I don’t see any election”.
Massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988, most of whom PMOI members, and Raisi’s role as one of the members of the Death Commission, as well as Rouhani’s calls for large scale public executions, is covered extensively on social networks. Raisi’s campaign has defended the massacre against these disclosures and said it was necessary to protect the regime. But Rouhani has maintained silence against the question of “Where were you in 1988?” or the newspaper clips where he called for “execution of conspirators in the Friday prayers".
Exposing regime mercenaries – Telegram channel “election96”
A number of users have called for "boycott the fake elections" by producing a ribbon and inviting all to boycott the regime's sham elections. They ask users to express their disgust at the show by changing their profile picture and adding ribbon to boycott the elections.
Social media also published activities of the brave forces and supporters of the Iranian resistance in response to the resistance’s call for boycotting the election in large-scale, and covered video clips and photos related to these measures, such as installing placards and distributing statements or banners in different parts of large cities or highways. URL of clips prepared in relation to these activities and widely distributed in the social media are as follows:
A look at the warnings and threats of the regime’s media on users' activities on social media outlets shows the effectiveness of these activities.
Jomhouri newspaper wrote: "With presidential elections approaching, counter-revolutionary groups become more active to confront people’s presence at the polls. Grouplets … ask people to boycott the election."
ISNA quoted the Interior Ministry of the mullahs as saying: "Following the instructions on election campaigns in cyberspace, the full text of the guidelines was published. Election campaigns in the cyberspace is limited to related rules and laws… Publication of criminal contents such as defamation, insult, leaking of secrets (including from the candidates and their supporters) in cyberspace is prohibited according to Islamic penal code and computer crime laws and violators will be dealt with according to the rules and regulations."
Prosecutor’s office of South Khorasan Province, on Sunday, April 30, in a statement warned: “administrators of cyber networks must uphold red lines of the elections. Otherwise violators will face judicial repercussions.”
On the other hand Tasnim news agency of the regime, on Monday, May 8, in an article under the title of “four techniques of cyberspace rumors” to influence the sham election of the regime, pleaded its frustration about the impacts of cyber networks and in particular Instagram and Telegram. Tasnim wrote: "the enemies of the people and the wave of rumors intend to influence the result of the upcoming elections… Some rumors can greatly disrupt psychological security and people's lives but unfortunately to confront and respond to these rumors we suffer from two important issues;
First, lack of knowledge in the cyberspace and the media among the people and the other, lack of knowledge and decision-making of authorities or sometimes deliberate negligence on rumors and injuries arising from the cyberspace and the media, this issue today has greatly reduced our position on the use of virtual space based on the skills on media and related tools.
The most important point in this regard is that tools such as telegram and Instagram that today are working freely and without any accountability to the conditions and laws and even customs of our country, are the bed of rumors and psychological warfare of the ill-wishers of the Iranian nation and infiltration current."
Also in response to the call for a boycott of election, high and low ranking regime officials in recent days have used every opportunity to emphasize on the "religious duty" to participate in "election" and express concern to the disruption of the sham election. But despite all the threats and warnings, Internet users have exposed the regime's attempts to confront the boycott of the election and activities on social media by making a mockery of these threats.
Mockery of the regime's elections by foreign media (Wall Street Journal-Hill)
Reflection of the boycotting the regime’s election and hollowness of this show on social media: