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Iran Today: Jalili And Qalibaf Appeal To Power Bases

Saeed Jalili's Campaign Logo Depicts Fingerprint In The Colors Of The Iranian Flag, And Jalili's Name

With no principlist consensus candidate declared, Tehran mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf and Supreme National Security Council secretary Saeed Jalili --- arguably the two strongest figures of the eight approved candidates --- have begun fighting for control of key power bases in Iran, including via the media.

Qalibaf --- who is likely to be strongest in his Tehran home base --- is using news and endorsement websites to support his campaign, having deemed that they are more effective than posters and banners. Raja News has published a list of 51 sites associated with the Qalibaf campaign (thanks to Iran Media Project for the link).

Qalibaf also has traditional media behind him, notably the Tehran-e Emrooz daily.

Jalili, meanwhile, has put efforts into gaining the support of the powerful Revolutionary Guards and military, emphasizing his past in the armed forces. Jalili's campaign appears to be backed by Revolutionary Guards-linked news sites Fars News and Tasnim News.

Jalili --- whose campaign slogan is "The Coalition Of The People + 1" has also made attempts to appeal to youth and to Bazaaris via grassroots campaign groups. Like Qalibaf, Jalili's campaign also uses a network of endorsement blogs, which emphasize his support in various parts of the country, including in Sistan- Baluchestan. To emphasize popular support, his social media sites have posted photographs of Iranians holding banners in support of the Jalili campaign.

Jalili has also made the most use of visual imagery, including a logo of a fingerprint in the colors of the Iranian flag, over which is juxtaposed a stylized version of Jalili's name in Nastaliq font.

Detained Film Director To Travel To Cannes

Director Mohammad Rasoulof, under effective house arrest since December 2010, will appear at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday to present his film, Anonymous.

Rasouluf is still under threat of a one-year prison sentence, as well as a 20-year ban on film-making, for anti-regime propaganda. He was initially sentenced, with award-winning Jafar Panahi, to six years before the term was reduced on appeal.

Rasoulof's previous film Goodbye won the best director prize in the Un Certain Regard section at the Festival in 2011, with his wife picking up the prize.

The new film is about a former Iranian political prisoner and author named Kasra, who manages to secretly write his memoirs despite being under constant surveillance by state security apparatus.

Presidential Election Watch: Velayati Edition

Presidential candidate and senior advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati has slammed Iran's high inflation rate, vowing to form a "strong government" to deal with the issue.

According to Velayati, Iran's domestic markets are being flooded with Chinese imports at the expense of locally-made Iranian goods. Domestic producers are in decline, he explained, which has reduced the purchasing power of Iranian consumers. Unemployment is also a major problem, he added.

The next President must win back market confidence, he explained.

Presidential Election Watch: Qalibaf Edition

Tehran mayor and Presidential candidate Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf is due to start campaigning tomorrow at the Khorramshahr mosque, Khabar Online reports.

Qalibaf's campaign spokesman, Parvez Esmaili, said that the choice to start the campaign on the anniversary of the liberation of Khorramshahr [in the Iran-Iraq War] indicates that Qalibaf could accomplish a political epic, alongside the culture of jihad and the epic liberation of the city.

In an appeal to Iranian nationalism as well as to the military and Revolutionary Guards, Esmaili added that during the liberation of Khorramshahr, the frontline soldiers had been devoted to religion, their homeland and the people. Iran was still in a "jihad situation" today, he added, noting that "the fight continues and we are still at war."

Notably, Qalibaf's main rival, Saeed Jalili, is also focussing on appealing to the military and IRGC power bases.

On Wednesday, Qalibaf said that he would focus on the economy and job creation schemes if Iranians chose him as their new President, adding that his cabinet would include those with "proven managerial skills".

Qalibaf said that Iran must be "weaned off petrodollars" and noted that during his tenure as Tehran mayor he had been successful in creating jobs.

Presidential Election Watch --- Rafsanjani Edition

Clerics, Politicians Write Letters About Rafsanjani's Disqualification

Cleric Sayed Hassan Khomeini --- the grandson of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei --- has written a letter to former President Rafsanjani in which he said he was "shocked to hear of your disqualification as I could see that your candidacy revived people’s hopes".

Meanwhile, Parvis Kazemi, a former Minister of Welfare and Social Security in the first Ahmadinejad administration, wrote the Supreme Leader and reminded him how he had expressed appreciation and praise for Rafsanjani over the past few years, and asking him to to reconsider the disqualification.

Hashemi Thanks Campaign Team

In the wake of his disqualification by the Guardian Council, former President Hashemi Rafsanajani held a meeting Wednesday evening to thank members of his campaign team, Green website Rah-e Sabz reports.

Rafsanjani emphasized that he had joined the Presidential race against his will, and only because of requests by people and clergy in Iran and abroad. The Supreme Leader had not opposed his presence, the former President was quoted as saying.

Rafsanjani told his followers that he had come to "solve issues regarding the economic crisis and true foreign threats. The US and Israel threat is real."

He added: "I never thought my registration will bring so much hope for people. And if the officials had “wisdom” and were clever, they would have let me come."

Rafsanjani commented further on what he said was the threat from the US, saying that the "American Senate" has "two serious schemes" --- they will wait until the election is decided and then act. Washington is analyzing the situation in Azerbaijan and Sistan-Balochestan [ the Sunni-majority province which has seen an upsurge in Sunni insurgents threatening Iranian interests --- ed. ], Rafsanjani was quoted as saying, adding that if Israel attacked Iran, the US would assist militarily. This was psychological warfare, he added.

Presidential Election Watch --- Jalili Edition

In an appeal to the military and Revolutionary Guards, Presidential candidate Saeed Jalili stresses the concept of "resistance" in an announcement that he is to meet his supporters on the anniversary of the liberation of Khorramshahr.

The concept of "resistance" --- against foreign influence, against the "enemy", against Israel and as part of the fight against sanctions, including via the "resistance economy" --- is a loaded term in Iran.

Sepah Watch --- IRGC Opens Holy Defense News Agency

The Revolutionary Guards have launched a news agency --- the Holy Defense News Agency, according to Sepah News, the IRGC's official PR website.

The new agency, located at, was launched to coincide with the anniversary of Iran's liberation of Khorramshahr from Iraqi forces on May 24, 1982, an event which proved to be a turning point in the Iran-Iraq War, or Holy Defense as it is known in Iran.

The Holy Defense News Agency so far features --- unsurprisingly --- reports of speeches by top IRGC and military commanders on the Holy Defense.

Nuclear Watch --- IAEA Report

The International Atomic Energy Agency has completed its latest quarterly report on Iran's nuclear programme.

For more on the report --- the obligatory AP scare story that preceded it and the inevitable doom-laden response by ISIS's David Albright --- see EA's analysis here.

Presidential Election Watch --- Rafsanjani Edition

Fars News --- close to the Revolutionary Guards ---headlines this morning with "The Official End of Hashemi [Rafsanjani]'s Election Campaign".

Fars cites Rafsanjani aide Mohammed-Reza Sadeq as saying the former President has officially ended his campaign after praising his campaign staff.

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