Iran Election Guide

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Iran Today: Presidential Election --- The Field Starts To Narrow

Ramin Mehmanparast With just one day to go before the Guardian Council makes its decisions as to which of the almost 700 Presidential hopefuls can run in the June 14 election, two prominent figures have announced their withdrawals.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast announced he is stepping down from the race, even before the Guardian Council announced whether it approved his candidacy. Davood Ahmadinejad, brother of outgoing President Ahmadinehad, has said he is stepping down in favor of Supreme National Security Council secretary Saeed Jalili.

However, the outline of the campaign is still far from clear, with the spokesman for the Guardian Council announcing on Sunday that the supervisory body could approve up to 40 candidates. The key questions remain: will the Council approve former President Hashemi Rafsanjani and President Ahmadinejad's chosen successor, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai?

Internet Watch: Even Google Doesn’t Come Up

Radio Farda reports that the internet has been mostly down throughout Iran since Saturday, and claiming that “even Google doesn’t come up anymore.”

Some observers have linked the internet slowdown indirectly to the forthcoming election, suggesting that the internet still works for government officials. Radio Farda notes that one student was unable to access a foreign Embassy’s website, while a user from Tehran commented that even with 512kb connections webpages are not loading properly.

Presidential Election Watch: Rafsanjani Edition --- Hashemi's Third Statement

Former President and Presidential candidate Hashemi Rafsanjani has issued a third statement, entitled Campaign Ethics, Good Promises and Converting Enemies to Friends, Khabar Online reports.

The statement opens with a citation from the Quran --- Surat al-Muminum 23:96: Repel evil with that which is better. We are Best-Acquainted with the things they utter.

Presidential Election Watch: Lankarani & Jalili Watch

Fars News is reporting that former Minister of Health Bagheri Lankarani has withdrawn his candidacy for the presidential election in favour of Saeed Jalili following a meeting between the two men this afternoon.

Presidential Election Watch: Haddad-Adel Edition

Presidential candidate, Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, has declared that the principlist 2+1 Coalition disapproves of the political views of rival candidate, former president Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Haddad-Adel said that the coalition – which includes Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, the Tehran mayor, and Ali Akbar Velayati, the top advisor to the Supreme Leader – was formed “because of their fundamental objections to Rafsanjani’s political vision.” He added that the coalition plans to announce its frontrunner for the election once the Guardian Council reveals its list of approved candidates.

Auto Industry in Decline

The opposition site Rah-e Sabz claims a crisis in the automobile industry, with the output of Isfahan producers down 70%.

Presidential Election Watch: Rafsanjani Edition

In response to the announcement made earlier today by the Guardian Council – that candidates may be assessed on “physical grounds” – Rafsanjani’s campaign spokesman, Ali Motahari has said that if the Council decided to disqualify the former president because of his age it would be playing “a dangerous game whose end is not clear.”

Motahari added that while Rafsanjani was “unlikely” to protest if disqualified but questioned “From where does the GC know whether Hashemi can hold office or not.” He acknowledged that Rafsanjani has made criticisms although these should not disqualify him. In addition, if the former president is rejected by the Guardian Council, Motahari raised the possibility that the Supreme Leader might issue a state decree to reinstate him.

Rafsanjani took to Twitter to comment on Motahari’s remarks:


Presidential Election Watch: Mohsen Rezaei Edition

Presidential hopeful and secretary of the Expediency Council, Mohsen Rezaei, has suggested that the various principlist groups need to form a 400-member “elite assembly” to decide on a leading candidate.

At the same time, however, Rezaei stated that he would not withdraw his own candidacy in favour of any other principlist candidate.

He also took the opportunity to criticise the economic record of President Ahmadinejad, and promised to reduce the country’s dependence on oil exports by boosting domestic manufacturing.

Presidential Election Watch: Rafsanjani Edition --- 'Three Questions For Mr. Hashemi'

Fars News, close to the Revolutionary Guards, has posed three questions to former President and Presidential Candidate Hashemi Rafsanjani, following what it said was his "sudden" entry into the Presidential race.

Fars began by asking Rafsanjani, who had previously alleged that there had been "election fraud" in the 2000 and 2005 elections, whether he thought it was "reasonable" that he decided to join the 2013 race.

Following the 2005 elections, Rafsanjani claimed there had been "organized and unjust" interventions that helped push Mahmoud Ahmadinejad into power ahead of him.

Fars's second question --- which is not substantially different from the first --- asks what the "rational justification" is for Rafsanjani to enter the election if he had already "tried twice" to run and considered that Iran's election officials in the Khatami and Ahmadinejad administrations had to cheat to beat him.

Finally, Fars asks Rafsanjani if he would be willing to accept the results if he were to be beaten at the ballot box. What guarantees were there, Fars asks, that Rafsanjani would not call the election process "fraudulent", and that he would not provide grounds for "similar events to the 2009 sedition"?

Presidential Election Watch: Mohsen Rezaei Edition

Former IRGC Commander and Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei discusses Hashemi Rafsanjani, saying that the former President had not been capable of governing Iran even when the country was not under severe sanctions.

Rezaei said that his main rival was "poverty, unemployment, inflation and the sanctioned economy", and that Rafsanjani was also his opponent, whether he stayed in the race or not. Most of the other candidates do not have Rafsanjani's track record, Rezaei added, and had no experience before the Islamic Revolution, had not been in the Iran-Iraq War, and had not had a close relationship with Ayatollah Khomeini.

"Regarding the economy, there are also no new characters like Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani]," Rezaei said. "While I can see all of these features in myself and in my friends."

Presidential Election Watch: 2+1 To 'Negotiate' With Jalili?

MP and Presidential candidate Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel has said that the 2+1 Coalition --- the group tasked with finding a "unity" principlist candidate --- could talk with apparent front-runner Saeed Jalili.

In response to questions from reporters as to whether the 2+1 Coalition would consider negotiating with Jalili, Haddad-Adel said: "We have not seen Mr. Jalili since he registered [as a candidate], but we intend to talk, and if Mr. Jalili is a front-runner, we will consider him, because our aim is to prevent there being a proliferation of principlist candidates."

Presidential Election Watch: Aboutorabi Fard Withdraws

Former First Deputy Speaker Mohammad-Hassan Aboutorabi Fard announced his decision on Monday to step down from the Presidential race.

The move came after 200 MPs asked Aboutorabi Fard to withdraw his candidacy.

In a speech, Aboutorabi Fard told MPs he was their "smallest brother", and expressed appreciation for MPs' love and favor. Fars News reported that the speech was met with applause from MPs.

Presidential Election Watch: Guardian Council Edition --- Could Candidates Be Disqualified On Age Grounds?

The Guardian Council is considering assessing candidates on grounds of "physical condition", the supervisory body's spokesman announced on Monday.

Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei said that if an individual wished to take on a major administrative post but was only able to perform several hours of work a day, that person would not normally be approved, and therefore the Guardian Council may take into consideration physical condition when vetting candidates.

The announcement --- which could be a warning that the Guardian Council is preparing to disqualify the 78-year-old former President Hashemi Rafsanjani on grounds of age --- comes just a day before the supervisory body is due to make its final decisions on which candidates will be allowed to run in the June election.

Rafsanjani's age has already been a target of criticism from his rivals, including MP and 2+1 Coalition member Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, who said that the former President was too old and did not have the energy to run for President again.

Presidential Election Watch: Haddad-Adel Edition

MP and Presidential candidate Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel has said that the principlists are moving toward selecting a "unity" candidate.


Haddad-Adel said that several of those principlists who registered as Presidential candidates are likely to withdraw even before the Guardian Council finishes its vetting process on Tuesday.

Haddad-Adel is a member of the 2+1 Coalition, alongside Supreme Leader advisor Ali Akbar Velayati and Tehran mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf. Established in December to select a single candidate behind whom principlists could rally, to date the Coalition has not managed to fulfill this task, despite repeated assurances that it was nearing a decision.

Meanwhile, although two candidates --- Davood Ahmadinejad withdrew in favor of the Perseverance Front's Saeed Jalili, and Ramin Mehmaranpast, who resigned from his post as Foreign Ministry spokesman to run -- have dropped out of the race, neither are affiliated with the 2+1 Coalition.

In addition to his comments on a "unity" candidate, Haddad-Adel also set out some of his pre-campaign promises. If elected, Haddad-Adel said, he would not back bilateral talks between the US and Iran unless Washington "recognizes [Iran's] sovereignty". The MP also discussed sanctions, saying that to minimize their impact, the next government must "create a friendly atmosphere between its legislative and executive branches".

Presidential Election Watch: Jalili Edition

Davood Ahmadinejad Steps Down In Favor of Jalili

Davood Ahmadinejad, brother of outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has announced he is stepping down from the Presidential race in favor of Saeed Jalili.

Jalili noted the move on his Twitter account.

Presidential Election Watch: Mehmanparast Withdraws

Iran's former Foreign Ministry spokesman, Rahmin Mehmanparast, has announced that he is withdrawing his candidacy from the Presidential election.

Mehmanparast said that the great Iranian nation was on the eve of an "epic" --- a nod to the Supreme Leader's call on Nowruz for Iranians to make the new Persian year a "political epic" --- but that because other likeminded individuals had entered the Presidential race, he had taken the decision not to run.

Before announcing his decision to withdraw, Mehmanparast had accused the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization of attempting to prevent a large turnout in the June elections.

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