Reprinted from American Herald Tribune
Shocking as it may seem, Iran's recent elections compare favorably against the super-rich, warmongering auction that passes for American "democracy."
If reality-TV supremo Donald Trump ever makes it into the White House, he says that torture of terror suspects and shoot-to-kill of their family members will be turbo-charged under his command. The capricious demagoguery of this guy is truly sinister. And all the other gung-ho contenders are hardly any different.
Trump's brazen disregard for international law and gung-ho militarism has even alarmed former CIA director Michael Hayden. That's saying something when even a shady organization like the CIA is disconcerted by Trump.
But the fact is that Trump is only able to take a run at becoming US president because of his supposed vast individual wealth. His fortune was made from the kind of wheeler-dealer property capitalism that has bankrupted millions of American families and made Wall Street banks and financiers obscenely rich.
All other Republican presidential contenders are dependent on big business sponsorship. So either way, whether "independently" rich Trump or the other corporate clones, the electoral choice has been ring-fenced by billion-dollar elite interests determining how ordinary Americans exercise their "democratic right".
Sanders' campaign is reportedly free from corporate "super PACs," relying instead on cash donations from rank-and-file citizens. Nevertheless, the unusual nature of the Vermont Senator being untainted by the excesses of corporate capitalism in his run for the US presidency reinforces the point that American "democracy" is largely an auction run by and for the rich and powerful.
The United States is for all intents and purposes a plutocracy, run by the money-mullahs of finance capitalism.
The irony is that it is common among Western politicians and media pundits to disparage the Islamic Republic of Iran as being a country "dominated by mullahs." The irony is that much of the contempt leveled at Iran is more fitting to the de facto plutocracy that exists in the US.
Iran just completed elections for its parliament and an Assembly of Experts. It was the tenth such parliamentary elections since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Nearly 5,000 candidates were vying for the 290-seat parliament. The Assembly of Experts consists of 88 elected seats. It is the assembly that will decide who is the next Supreme Leader of Iran after the current Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei, who is 76 and is said to be in declining health. Note that because the Assembly of Experts has been elected in the first place, the electorate will have had an important say on who is Iran's next Supreme Leader.
It is true that Iranian leaders often excoriate the US as the "Great Satan" and in the past have called for "death to America and Israel." The latter injunction is accurately understood to be a rhetorical condemnation of America's imperialistic wars in the Middle East and of illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. Neither Khamenei nor his predecessor have publicly endorsed torture as state policy, as Donald Trump and George W Bush before him have. Nor have Iranian leaders arrogated the right to assassinate people around the globe with aerial drones and Special Forces, as US President Obama has.
It is true that the nearly 5,000 Iranian parliamentary candidates were vetted by an unelected Guardian Council. The council was said to be in favor of religiously and politically conservative candidates. Out of this very extensive "shortlist," the Iranian elections this past week were conducted in a free and fair manner, where one-person votes were tallied from the some 55 million Iranian electorate (60% turnout).
As it turns out, the election results show big gains for candidates considered to be "reformists" and "moderates" who are allied with the current President Hassan Rouhani. He was elected in separate presidential elections in 2013. Rouhani's policy of engaging diplomatically with the West -- achieving the P5+1 nuclear deal last year and the lifting of harsh economic sanctions off Iran -- appears to have borne fruit electorally with the Iranian people. He now has a parliament supportive of his foreign policy of engagement, as well as embarking on more social and economic reforms domestically.
Iran is not a Western "liberal democracy." All candidates must swear allegiance to the Islamic Republic. Also, according to Iranian sources, the notion contrived in the West that the "reformers" are somehow "pro-West" is baseless. President Rouhani and his allies may be more willing to dialogue with Western powers, but at the same time they are still staunch opponents of Washington's interference in the region.
However, what seems indisputable is that Iran has a thriving, functioning democracy, where people can cast their votes to control the governance of their country.
The same cannot be said of America's plutocracy where "supreme leaders" are chosen by the money-mullahs on Wall Street to exercise absolute power.