Iran Election Guide

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Iran Today: Presidential Election --- The Significance of Funerals and Football

See also Iran Special: The 2nd Presidential Debate
Tuesday's Iran Today: Presidential Election --- Censoring An Iranian Campaign Story

Iran's Presidential candidates seized the opportunity on Tuesday to make political capital from two important events --- the ceremony commemorating the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and Iran's victory over Qatar in a World Cup qualifying match.

Candidates Saeed Jalili and Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf at Tuesday's ceremony on the anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Khomeini

A Jalili supporter outside the ceremony

Moderate candidate Hassan Rouhani did not attend the Khomeini ceremony. Instead, he grabbed headlines by travelling to Isfahan to attend the funeral of Grand Ayatollah Jalaleddin Taheri.

Rouhani made the most of the journey, posting a series of photographs on his Facebook account and talking of a surge of support for his campaign :

Following the funeral, video emerged on YouTube claiming that mourners shouted slogans in support of reformist politicians Mir Hussein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. While reports of the footage were widely circulated --- including by the New York Times --- the veracity of the images and the soundtrack cannot be verified.

Meanwhile, both Rouhani and Jalili used social media to congratulate Iran on its 1-0 victory over Qatar in the World Cup qualifying match.

US & European Partners Step Up Pressure on Tehran

Beyond the Presidential election, today's big story may be further confirmation that the US and its European allies --- far from waiting for the outcome --- are ratcheting up pressure on the Islamic Republic, possibly to the point of seeking regime change.

As Washington passed additional sweeping sanctions, its representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency was putting out the scare story of the planned Arab heavy-water reactor to the Agency's latest meeting:

We are deeply troubled that Iran claims that the IR-40 heavy water reactor at Arak could be commissioned as soon as early 2014, but still refuses to provide the requisite design information....Iran's refusal to fulfill this basic obligation must necessarily cause one to ask whether Iran is again pursuing covert nuclear activities.

A European Union statement described Iran's "procrastination" as unacceptable.

Jalili Publishes Cultural Plan

Following Wednesday's televised debate on cultural matters, principlist Presidential candidate Saeed Jalili published his cultural plan via the Masir 1357 think-tank.

Protests In Isfahan --- Death To The Dictator

An EA correspondent in Iran offers confirmation and fresh information about Tuesday's events in Isfahan during the funeral of former Friday Prayer leader Ayatollah Taheri.

We had held back from posting the video until we received confirmation that it is genuine.

People first start chanting O Son of Hasan [referring to the 12th Imam of Shias, Imam Mahdi] destroy the oppression and dictatorship. Afterward, they chant: The political prisoners MUST be freed.

At 1.10 in the video, people in the crowd shout: Ya Hussain, Mir Hussain.

At 1.35 in the video, they start chanting: death to the dictator.

Our correspondent confirms that while moderate Presidential candidate Hassan Rouhani was present at the funeral, he left shortly after people began shouting the political slogans.

Ayatollah Taheri had resigned from his post as Friday Prayer leader in protest at the house arrest of democracy and human rights advocate Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri. Taheri was also a close friend of Ayatollah Mousa Shobairi Zanjani.

Presidential Election Watch: Second Debate On State TV

Starting at 12.30 BST, Iranian State TV is hosting the second Presidential debate. Follow EA's Live Coverage.

IRIB has published a live stream of the debate.

Press TV are also streaming a live feed from the debate, with English subtitles.

Today's debate will cover topics of art and culture.

Presidential Election Watch: Rouhani Edition

Iran's English language state outlet Press TV reports that moderate Presidential candidate Hassan Rouhani broadcasted a campaign documentary on Tuesday, describing plans to improve previously uncertain relationships with the international community if elected.

Rouhani --- a former nuclear negotiator --- referred to Iran's nuclear program, saying ‘it would be nice to see the centrifuges turning, provided that the wheels of the country also turn’. 

The moderate candidate also touched upon the economic challenges facing Iran, saying that the most important problem was high prices, noting that the cost of basic commodities has risen by 300% in the past eight years and inflation was at 31% last year. Rouhani promised a more laissez-faire approach, stating that the Iranian Government should have a more ‘supervisory and supportive role’ and ‘leave the economy to the people’.

Notably, over the past two days, Press TV has given considerable space to coverage of the campaigns of the moderate Rouhani (whom it dubs a reformist) and reformist candidate Mohammad-Reza Aref, even publishing a story on Tuesday examining how "Reformist campaigns take on nationwide scope".

Stock Car Racing Watch: Images From Tabriz "Tractors Cup"

With the Western media dominated by speculation about Iran's Presidential election and nuclear program, it's easy to forget that Iranians have regular lives too.

Mehr News and Serat News are among the media outlets to post images from the Tabriz stock car racing event, the Tractors Cup.

Among the cars being raced are this Iranian-made Saipa marque. Saipa was originally established in 1966, before the Revolution, to build Citroens, but now builds mostly Korean automobiles.

Sunni Separatist Watch: Sistan Baluchestan Separatist Group Call On Arab Sunnis To Give Support

Jaish ul-Adl Insurgent, Image Via Twitter

Sistan and Baluchestan-based Sunni separatist group Jaish ul-Adl (Army of Justice) have released a video in Arabic in which their leader, named as Abdul Raouf Riqi, called on Arab Sunnis to give financial support.

Jaish ul-Adl also claimed via their blog to have carried out an attack against Iranian security personnel in Chah-e Samsur, Iran, 80 km from Bam, in which "a number" of people were killed.

Mohsen Rezaei Releases Campaign Song

Rezaei As "Marlboro Man" --- Photo Via Rezaei's Campaign Facebook Page

Presidential candidate and former IRGC commander Mohsen Rezaei has joined his rival, principlist candidate Saeed Jalili, in releasing a campaign song.

Rezaei's song is available on the popular music social sharing site SoundCloud and contains a rap-style opening, followed by a patriotic ballad set to a pop beat.

Aref: "I Will Remain In Race Until End"

Reformist candidate Mohammad-Reza Aref has denied that he plans to form a coalition with moderate candidate Hassan Rouhani, saying that he intends to remain in the Presidential race until the end.

Aref said that, if elected, he would work with others in the form of workgroups and interaction with "elites from all sectors".

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