By: Jabbar Fazeli, MD
The Medical Council of Iran is a non-governmental professional organization that oversees the practice of medicine and ancillary medical services in Iran (1). This body is responsible for setting rates, addressing medical malpractice, and referring members to various payer sources . It also issues credentials for physicians to practice medicine in Iran and provides various benefits to its members, including insurance, etc.
This professional body has over 200,000 members and a number of city chapters. The organization holds chapter and national elections every four years to elect their board of directors. The national board and the national president are elected directly by the house of delegates and the elections are overseen by an election committee.
This year's Medical Council election created headlines because the IRGC openly pressured the election committee to disqualify "all" reformist candidates, and the election went ahead with only IRGC approved candidates on the ballot.
The rogue Iranian president, Ahmadinejad, called for the cancellation of the election results, and the inclusion of the disqualified candidates. The Medical council website reported (didn't stay on front page long) that 86% of chapter presidents agree with the inclusion of the disqualified candidates (1).
Mojtaba Zolnour, the assistant to the representative of the supreme leader in the Sepah (IRGC) shot back by criticizing the president, and others, for attacking the IRGC for "doing its job" to protect the Islamic Republic (2).
Mr. Zolnur made it clear that the IRGC's intends to ensure the proper vetting of candidates for upcoming elections, including the assembly of experts election (2).
It appears that the IRGC is determined to control every aspect of every election in Iran with 100% efficiency, even when it comes to an apolitical body such as the Medical Council of Iran.
This episode of IRGC interference to limit the field of candidates should go a long way to shatter the illusion of democratic elections in Iran. There is no longer any doubt that the IRGC has, in practice, taken on the role of the supreme leader, the guardian council, and the police in today's Islamic Republic.
I'm sure the official IR figures on this year's "presidential" election turnout will show broad participation, but it is hard to imagine a heavy turnout when the ballots contain only the names of those meeting the approval of the IRGC.
The Iranian version of "Democracy", at best, allows for a free election out of a pool of conservative and not-so-conservative candidates, who are vetted for their loyalty to the "Dictatorship".
I wonder if Iranians are still willing to participate in this charade.