Iran Election Guide

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Iran Today: Still No Unity Candidate

Presidential Candidate Saeed Jalili

With less than three days to go before the Guardian Council declares its final list of candidates, the principlist 2+1 coalition --- established in December with the aim of finding a single candidate behind whom conservatives could rally --- has yet to announce that candidate.

Instead, each member of the 2+1 Coalition continues pre-campaigning with no sign that any of the three will step down in favor of another. Top Khamenei advisor Ali Akbar Velayati urged Iranians to avoid a Western lifestyle and praised the Resistance Economy.

Meanwhile, the hardline Perseverance Front also faces a decision about which candidate it will back after the Guardian Council returns the final list of candidates on Tuesday.

On Saturday, the Perseverance Front's initial choice, former Minister of Health Kamran Baqeri Lankarani denied he would step down in favor of Supreme National Security Council secretary Saeed Jalili.

Amid the uncertainty, Jalili continues to present himself as a front-runner, extending his social media campaign by opening an Instagram account, disseminating campaign ideas via podcast and downloadable leaflets, and continuing to use Twitter.

Presidential Election Watch: Rafsanjani Edition

Mostafa Tajzadeh Urges Support For Rafsanjani

In a message from Evin Prison, reformist politician Seyyed Mostafa Tajzadeh called on Iranians to support former President and Presidential candidate Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Tajzadeh said that this support would show that Iran has not yet become a massive army base.

A member of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, Tajzadeh was arrested after Iran's 2009 Presidential election. Released in March 2010, he was arrested again in August that year and imprisoned in solitary confinement in Tehran's Evin Prison.

In his message, the contents of which were published on the Kaleme website, Tajzadeh said that the Iran's economy and internal management was worse than ever, and this was exacerbated because of international pressure.

The next President had three major tasks, Tajzadeh said --- to lift sanctions and the growing international and regional threats; manage the economy; and to defend constitutional rights and freedoms, putting an end to the rule of the military, police and security communities.

"I believe that, with respect to all the candidates, the only one who can take active steps in all three areas is Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani]," Tajzadeh was quoted as writing.

Presidential Election Watch --- Perseverance Front Edition

The ultraconservative leader of the Perseverance Front, Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, told a meeting of the group that he supported former Health Minister Kamran Baqeri Lankarani for President.

Said Yazdi: "I swear that no one is better than Lankarani for President, and everyone should support him".

Ahmadinejad Watch --- Holocaust Denial Edition

Sadeq Mahsouli, a key member of the Perseverance Front, defended outgoing President Ahmadinejad’s policies of the past eight years and said his most valuable foreign policy move had been to deny the Holocaust.

"Some may disagree with Ahmadinejad's Holocaust project, but in my opinion, this was among his valuable efforts in terms of foreign policy," Mahsouli explained.

Mahsouli also criticised former President and Presidential candidate sashimi Rafsanjani, saying he was trying to take the country back to how it was before 2005.

MP Heydarpour Slams Ahmadinejad Administration

Meanwhile, MP Avaz Heydarpour of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee said that Ahmadinejad’s government had been the worst since the Islamic Revolution.

Heydarpour --- who has previously accused the outgoing President of "blatantly lying" to the people and the parliament, accused the Ahmadinejad administration of using public funds in favor of Presidential candidate Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei.

Heydar also criticised the Perseverance Front --- and indirectly its leader, the ultraconservative Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi -- saying that the group was trying to keep Ahmadinejad in power, and warning that the group would "also leave with Ahmadinejad".

Presidential Election Watch --- Rafsanjani Edition

The Popular Front of Reforms is backing former President and Presidential candidate Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mehr News reports.

Mohammad Zare Foumani, the Popular Front's secretary general, issued a statement in support of Rafsanjani's candidacy, a move Rafsanjani noted in a tweet:

Presidential Election Watch --- Guardian Council Edition

'Final Decision On Candidates Should Come Tuesday'

Minister of Interior Mustafa Mohammad Najar said that the Guardian Council should announce its final decision on which candidates will be allowed to run by Tuesday.

The Interior Minstry will announce the names of those candidates permitted to run 48 hours later, following which candidates will be permitted to start their official campaign efforts.

Najar noted that the election will be held in 66,000 polling stations across the Islamic Republic on June 14.

'Guardian Council May Approve 40 Candidates'

The Guardian Council may approve up to 40 candidates for the Presidential election, the supervisory body's spokesman said on Sunday.

Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei said that the 12-member Guardian Council makes its decisions on the basis of whether Presidential hopefuls meet the criteria laid out in Article 115 of Iran's Constitution.

Article 115 (set out below in full) stipulates the following criteria for the Islamic Republic's President:

The President must be elected from among religious and political personalities possessing the following qualifications: Iranian origin; Iranian nationality; administrative capacity and resourcefulness; a good past-record; trustworthiness and piety; convinced belief in the fundamental principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the official religion of the country.

Presidential Election Watch --- Jalili Edition

Jalili Extends Social Media Presence

Supreme National Security Council secretary, Perseverance Front member and Presidential candidate Saeed Jalili, who has shown savvy use of social media in the opening stages of his pre-campaign efforts, has extended his social media presence by joining photo-sharing and micro-blogging network Instagram.

The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also uses Instagram --- which is not blocked in Iran --- to disseminate publicity photographs.

Jalili Compares Ahmadinejad Government To 'Decrepit Car'

Jalili compared the Ahmadinejad government to a "decrepit car", adding that the next administration would have its work cut out.

If he were elected president, his first task would be to "remove all those obstacles that are slowing the car down from the road", Jalili added, according to the Entekhab website

Continuing with the automotive metaphor, Jalili said that he would then increase the car's capacity to move more quickly in the discourse of the Islamic Revolution.

The nuclear negotiator also called on his supporters to launch his election campaign on the basis of the law and the principles of the Islamic Revolution, noting that by doing this he will be a winner, even if he loses the June 14 election

Jalili Supporters Create Campaign HQ --- The Rise Of The Mostazafin

Supporters of Presidential candidate Saeed Jalili have created a new campaign headquarters, named The Rise Of The Mostazafin, Fars News --- close to the Revolutionary Guards --- reports.

The name of that support group --- and its use of the term Mostazafin, --- is significant, reflecting Jalili's desire to reach out to ordinary Iranians as well as other key sectors of society --- the middle classes and Bazaaris, or bazaar merchants, who make up one of Iran's most important constituencies.

While Jalili has not explicitly said he is appealing to the Bazaaris, his use of the term Mostazafin is clear enough. The term originally referred to the "oppressed masses", in a 1985 speech Ayatollah Khomeini widened the term to include other regime supporters, particularly Bazaar merchants and the middle classes, declaring that:

"The bazaars are a crucial part of the deprived masses. Those martyred in the revolution came from the bazaars and the middle class as well as from the shantytowns."

A year earlier, in 1984, Khomeini recognized the importance of winning the Bazaaris' support, noting that: "If the bazaars are not in step with the Islamic Republic, the public will suffer defeat."

Notably, it was the Bazaaris who took to the streets in protest --- daring to chant "Death to this hypocrite government --- last October, when Iran's rial plummeted.

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