Iran Election Guide

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Iran Today: Presidential Election --- Focus On The Economy

Presidential candidate Mohammad Gharazi (credit: PressTV)

See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- The Presidential Election
Saturday's Iran Today: Jalili Ramps Up Election Campaign

Iran's ailing economy has fast become the focus of election campaigning, with candidates putting forward various proposals for dealing with rampant inflation and escalating unemployment.

Candidates have mostly shied away from blaming sanctions for Iran's economic situation, instead hinting that the poor state of the economy is a result of bad management by the Ahmadinejad administration.

Key themes that have emerged include an over-reliance on imports, a decline in national production and rising unemployment.

Speaking on Iran's state Jam-e Jam television channel on Saturday night, Presidential candidate Mohammad Gharazi --- the least-known of the eight candidates --- told overseas Iranians he planned to address these issues by creating jobs.

Gharazi said Iran needed to boost domestic production and that job creation schemes would help curb inflation.

Meanwhile, Presidential candidate Saeed Jalili has addressed the issue of the economy directly and via a campaign slogan of "economic justice".

Jalili has criticized the fact that Iran's wealth is concentrated among a relatively small number of individuals.

Speaking on state television on Saturday night, Jalili also said that some threats to Iran's economy were "internal" and added that it was possible to "turn these threats into opportunities".

Presidential Election Watch: Mohsen Rezaei Hits Campaign Trail in Malekan

Former IRGC commander and Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei focused on the economy when he addressed supporters at a campaign rally in Malekan, north-western Iran on Sunday.

Rezaei blamed the Ahmadinejad administration for the free-falling rial --- an accusation he has leveled at the government on previous occasions --- and proposed a federal economic model that is not Tehran-centric.

The former Revolutionary Guards chief also addressed the issue of sanctions, slamming those who dismissed their impact, and saying that Iranians did not want to accept such "slogans".

Presidential Election Watch: Haddad-Adel Gives Press Conference In Tehran

MP and Presidential candidate Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel also focussed on the economy when he spoke at a press conference on Sunday afternoon at the Tehran headquarters of the Fars News agency.

Haddad-Adel said he had joined the Presidential race because of his extensive government and management experience and vowed to create economic programs.

Asked about the 2+1 coalition --- of which he is a member alongside Ali Akbar Velayati and Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf --- Haddad-Adel said the alliance was still developing and that it would make a choice after the television and radio campaigning.

The coalition was tasked with finding a consensus candidate around whom the principlists and conservatives could unite; however, so far it has failed to do so.

Presidential Election Watch: Velayati Talks About Foreign Policy --- And Yes, The Economy

Presidential candidate and senior adviser to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati has said that he plans to reform Iran's foreign policy if elected.

Velayati also said that a key priority of the next government would be to improve Iran's national economy and public welfare.

Velayati has also said that the next administration must rebuild trust between the government and Iran's athletes.

One More Week in Trial of Defendants in Kahrizak Abuse Case?

The head of Tehran Criminal Courts, Judge Mohsen Eftekhari, says three defendants --- Presidential advisor Saeed Mortazavi and two senior judges --- have one week to provide the court with their defences.

Eftekhari said, after that, “the jury will decide on the verdict".

Earlier reports had indicated the defence had concluded its response, and the court had 10 days to deliver a decision.

The three men are accused of complicity in the abuse and killing of three post-election protesters at the Kahrizak detention centre after the disputed 2009 Presidential election.

Detained Reformist Tajzadeh Denounces "Absolute Monarchy" of Supreme Leader

Senior reformist prisoner Mostafa Tajzadeh has declared in a letter from prison that the establishment has left no alternative for reformists but to boycott the elections.

Tajzadeh, imprisoned just after the disputed 2009 Presidential election and serving a six-year sentence, said that the disqualification of candidates such as former President Hashemi Rafsanjani has simply “left the road open for the victory of the Supreme Leader’s chosen candidate...which means Iran’s political system has been turned into the absolute monarchy of the clerical leader".

Tajzadeh continued, in the letter on the website of the banned reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front: “In view of the calamities that the establishment has brought upon our country, creed and people, we expected that with an apology to the people, they would take the path of recovery by allowing a free, legal and conclusive election so that a window of hope out the current dismal situation would appear.”

The former Minister of Interior predicted “a decline in public participation in the election, especially compared to 2009; widespread problems in economic leadership, government corruption, growing fissures between the conservatives, growing pressures of international sanctions and ever-increasing public discontent will bring the absolutist system into crisis sooner that they think”.

Presidential Election Watch: Qalibaf In Yazd

Presidential candidate and Tehran mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf told supporters in Yazd today that he plans to use Iran's "abundant natural resources" to create wealth.

Qalibaf's emphasis on wealth creation reflects a wider trend among Presidential candidates to focus on the economy. Whoever wins the June 14 election will face the daunting task of dealing with Iran's battered economy.

Presidential Election Watch: Mardom Salari Party Urges Aref, Rouhani To Form Coalition

The Mardom Salari Party has urged Presidential candidates Hassan Rouhani and Mohammad Reza Aref to form a coalition to avoid election defeat.

Such a consensus candidate would avoid the "bitter experience" of the 2005 election, the party said in a communique, according to the Iranian Labor News Agency.

Presidential Election Watch: Haddad-Adel To Give Press Conference At Fars News

Presidential candidate Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel is to give a press conference at Fars News in Tehran at 3.30 p.m. Sunday, according to Fars.

Fars --- who provide a biography of Haddad-Adel --- say that the presser will be attended by "national and international media".

Presidential Election Watch: Jalili, Velayati, Aref To Appear On State TV

Fars News --- close to the Revolutionary Guards --- reports that Presidential candidates Ali Akbar Velayati, Saeed Jalili and Mohammad Aref will each appear on state television on Sunday night, as part of their permitted election campaign broadcasting allocations.

Jalili will have a 30-minute slot on national television at 8 p.m. Tehran time to "meet with the Iranian people".

Velayati will have a special 45 minute interview with IRIB's Hassan Abedini at 10.45 p.m., where he will answer questions on the economy, culture and politics.

Aref has been given the final election slot of the day at 11.30 p.m., when he will appear on the Jam-e Jam TV channel to answer questions from Iranians abroad.

Candidates will be permitted to begin broadcasting special election promotions from Monday, according to Fars.

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