Iran Election Guide

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Iran Today: Presidential Election --- Still No "Unity" Candidate

Election Watch: Rezaei Edition

Mohsen Rezaei --- former head of the Revolutionary Guards, Secretary of the Expediency Council, and Presidential candidate in 2009 --- has registered for this year's contest.

Rezaei's outlet Tabnak said he was accommpanied by more than 2000 people who chanted that he would bring the recovery of Iran's faltering economy.

Rezaei used a similar message in the 2009 election and has been highly critical of the Ahmadinejad Government's handling of economic matters.

Election Watch: Supreme Leader's Men Edition

Leading MP, former parliament speaker and relative of the Supreme Leader, Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel has become the first member of the 2+1 Committee to register his candidacy.

The other members of the 2+1 Committee ---- which is loyal to Khamenei --- are Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati and Tehran mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf. The committee has said that it will select a "unity candidate" but so far has not done so.

Fars quoted Hadad-Adel as saying that the Committee's final choice of candidate will be announced after the Guardian Council's decision on which registered candidates will be permitted to run.

Election Watch: Interior Minister Warns Latecomers

Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar, the Minister of Interior, has warned presidential hopefuls that tomorrow’s deadline for registering as candidates will not be extended, so they had better be careful they do not leave it too late to register.

Election Watch: Aref Edition

Fars News, linked to the Revolutionary Guards, reported comments by reformist politician Mohammad Reza Aref following his registration as a presidential candidate on Friday morning.

Asked whether former president Hashemi Rafsanjani would run in the elections, Aref said he was not aware of it and that his position on the subject of Rafsanjani and former president Mohammad Khatami was the same as before.

Aref noted that the principlists were coming to a consensus regarding a candidate, and it was expected they would announce that to the public in the coming days.

PressTV also reported Aref’s remarks that he has “drawn up a comprehensive plan to boost development and progress in the country, and in the first phase, inflation will be restrained, and the administration will intervene to rein in the inflation.”

His plans include promoting “fiscal discipline” and “investment attraction” in order to achieve 8% economic growth to combat inflation.

Election Watch: Khatami Backs Rafsanjani

Former president Mohammad Khatami has again insisted that Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani needs to participate in the election as he is the best hope for solving the country’s problems.

Rafsanjani Watch: Problems at Book Fair

Amidst ongoing speculation about the involvement of former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in the forthcoming elections, on the second day of the Tehran Book Fair, his book – “Serahat-nameh” – has been taken away by officials claiming that it needs a fresh publishing permit.

Among other things, the book discussed the political situation following the disputed 2009 presidential election and the letter sent by Rafsajani to the Supreme Leader in June 2009 expressing concern about the election and warning Khamenei about the threat posed by Ahmadinejad.

Labour Watch: Mansur Osanlu Received Death Threats

Mansur Osanlu, the prominent union leader, has told RFE/RL that he received death threats by government security circles, forcing him to flee the country.

The president of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburb Bus Company stated that his labour-organising activities brought him to the attention of the authorities.

Osanlu added, “the information I received that there were discussions to kill me, hit me with a car or do some similar to the chain killings [of intellectuals] -- I was also told by friends that it wasn’t right for me to stay in Iran -- made me reach the conclusion [that I had to leave]."

Economy Watch: Closed Session Scheduled to Discuss Inflation

A special closed session of parliament has been scheduled for next Tuesday to discuss ways of resolving the country’s rapid inflation – put at 39% by the Iran Statistical Centre.

The session, which follows a similar private meeting earlier this week, will be attended by the minister of intelligence, the chief of police, and a member of the supreme national security council, as well as the minister of economy.

With much of the population affected by rising prices, one parliamentary journalist commented on the seriousness of the problem, observing that "Majlis deputies talked about rising prices all day [on Tuesday] and expressed their concerns about possible social unrest because of this. They believe that the passage of the annual budget and the increase in the price of gasoline will result in public discontent which could bring about unprecedented security issues.”

Prisoner Watch

Arash Honarvar Shojai, a blogger and cleric, who has already served nearly 30 months in prison has been charged by the branch 2 of the special court for the clergy of Tehran with “propaganda against the government through participating in the No to obliging veil campaign,” “insulting the former leader of the Islamic Republic through an interview with Rasam website on the occasion of the August 18, 1953 coup d’etat” and “wearing Mullah’s clothes despite the sentence of the court.”

Shojaj, who suffers from epilepsy attacks, is said to be in a critical health condition.

Election Watch: Rafsanjani Edition

Hardline outlet Mashregh News addresses the speculation over whether former president Hashemi Rafsanjani will run in the election, asking what his "tactics" are and why he would get involved in the race "in his 8th decade".

Mashregh appears to hint that Rafsanjani is a "has been", who ran in 2005, when he was beaten by Ahmadinejad. The editorial suggests that if Rafsanjani based a campaign on criticizing Ahmadinejad and government policies since 2005, he might be able to leverage public support in the election. The hardline outlet also says that "new configuration" of the Principlists -- presumably a reference to the many different conservative presidential hopefuls and the lack of a unity candidate -- has made Rafansjani believe there is a opportunity for him in this election.

Sanctions Watch

The US has blacklisted two companies, claiming that they help Iran evade sanctions on oil sales, and penalised four Tehran-based firms whom it says helped the Islamic Republic enrich uranium.

The Treasury said on Thursday that it blacklisted Sambouk Shipping FZC, a United Arab Emirates-based company that it claims is tied to Dimitris Cambis, a Greek businessman the department sanctioned in March.

The Treasury said Cambis used the recently formed Sambouk Shipping to manage eight vessels he operates on behalf of the National Iranian Tanker Company.

Cambis has previously denied trading for Iran or the involvement of his tankers in loading Iranian oil.

The Treasury imposed sanctions on the Iranian-Venezuelan Bi-National Bank, saying it provided financial services to a branch of Iran's military and helped obscure oil deals.

The State Department sanctioned four Tehran-based companies ---Aluminat, Pars Amayesh Sanaat Kish, and Pishro Systems Research Company --- and one Iranian citizen.

Election Watch: Mohammad Reza Aref registers, Mohsen Rezaei may register today

Reformist politician Mohammad Reza Aref has visited the Interior Ministry to register as a potential candidate this morning.

Aref, the 1st Vice President for former President Mohammad Khatami, is a member of the Expediency Council.

The Tabnak news site, close to former Revolutionary Guards chief Mohsen Rezaei, notes that Rezaei may register today as well.

Presidential Election Watch --- Still No "Unity" for Supreme Leader's Men

As the total of registered candidates for the 14 June Presidential election passed 240, the main story continued to be about one particular candidate --- or, rather the lack of one.

Five months after it was formed to find a "unity" candidate, the Supreme Leader's 2+1 Committee effectively admitted yesterday that it still did not have the man, and would not have him before formal registrations end on Saturday.

Leading MP Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, a member of the Committee with the Supreme Leader's senior aide Ali Akbar Velayati and Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, told reporters, “The three of us will register. But it is yet not clear when exactly we will announce the result [on a single candidate]....However, the announcement will not take place before the Guardian Council declares its decision [on which candidates are allowed to run]."

Meanwhile, Tehran Mayor Qalibaf --- considered a leading candidate for many Iranians but an uncertainty for Ayatollah Khamenei because he may challenge control by the Supreme Leader --- continues to grab headlines. On Thursday, speaking to an audience in Karaj central Iran, he criticised the political and economic situation in the country:


What has happened in the country today and what we are seeing is that the existing circumstances are beneath the dignity of this country and this establishment. It is beneath the dignity of the people. We had much greater potential.


If we have to offer a service in the economic arena - which we must - the outcome should provide our youth with the opportunity for growth and elevation.

On another front, the Committee of 5 --- the leading principlist politicians who formed their group amid the failure of the 2+1 Committee to name a candidate --- announced their choice on Thursday. They will put forth Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Hassan Abutorabi Fard.

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