The Friday Prayer Imam of Iran's second-largest city Mashhad, mid-ranking cleric Ahmad Alamalhoda, says, although the Islamic republic is a "safe castle," but the "enemy" could infiltrate through the "colossal gate of democracy and elections."
Speaking during Friday Prayer, on December 13, Alamalhoda described the Islamic Republic's elections watchdog, the Guardian Council (GC), as the "gatekeeper" that would not allow "aliens" and "problematic people" to pass through.
"This gate (elections) has guards who would certainly not allow the British, American, Jewish, and even problematic people enter the safe castle," the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader's representative in Mashhad maintained.
Presenting the "global blasphemy" as the "enemy" of the Islamic Republic, Alamalhoda called for transparency in expending "billions" for election campaigns, the mid-ranking cleric asserted, "Probably the U.S., U.K., and Zionists are behind such expenditures."
The hardliner ayatollah’s extreme comments have coincided with the aftershocks of deadliest anti-regime protests in the Islamic Republic's four-decade history.
Although registration for the next parliamentary elections in February has started days ago, few people have come forward to nominate themselves. The members of the so-called pro-reform camp in Iran are still hesitant to run for Majles (parliament) seats, saying the legislature has been weakened and conservatives will stack the next parliament with their preferred people.
The conservatives insist that the GC should tighten its supervision on endorsing the qualification of the nominees.
Many Iranian express doubts about participating in the elections, given the bloody response of the hardliner-controlled security forces to the November protests. Hundreds of protesters have been killed and the government is withholding information on casualties and more than 8,000 people detained.