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Iran Today: The IRGC, Basij and "Defeating The Enemy" In The Presidential Election

See also Iran Analysis: "Supreme Leader in a Real Mess" After Last Presidential Debate
Iran Special: Highlights From The Third Presidential Debate
Friday's Iran Today: Presidential Election --- Edging Toward A Rouhani Coalition?

Basij leader Mohammad Reza Naqdi While there has been considerable speculation --- much in the form of polls --- about which of the eight Presidential candidates is in the lead in the run-up to the June 14 election, the question that nobody can answer is what the turnout will be on the day.

A low turnout would indicate that Iranians are either apathetic about the election or that they feel that the regime will manipulate the results, and so there is no point in voting.

Amid this uncertainty, senior IRGC and Basij leaders have warned this week that Iran's "enemies" were attempting to interfere in the Presidential election.

The Deputy Commander of the IRGC's Ground Forces, Brigadier General i, cautioned that Iran must beware of the enemy's "careful manipulation" of the election.

"Today, we are on the eve of an election that will decide the fate of the country, and we must be fully aware so that the enemy does not exploit the space of the election," he warned.

The commander of the Basij, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, said that Iranians could help defeat the enemy by turning out en masse to vote in the elections.

Naghdi said that, in fact, Iran's enemies would be "astonished" on June 14 and would face another heavy defeat, because the Iranian people would create a political epic.

The deputy commander of the IRGC's political wing, Rasul Sanai Rad, also urged a high turnout, saying that this showed the national might of Iran and also indicated the level of trust people felt in the system.

The Supreme Leader's representative in the IRGC, Hojatoleslam Ali Saeedi, told people in Arak last week that a large turnout would demonstrate national might and sovereignty, but moreover would guarantee that the system's legitimacy was preserved and would "remove threats against the Iranian nation".

Rouhani Campaign Tweets Photo Of Tehran Mass Rally, + Video of Supporters Calling For Coalition

Moderate candidate Hassan Rouhani's campaign team tweeted a photograph of a rally at Tehran's Afrasiabi stadium and a video that shows supporters calling for a coalition between Rouhani and reformist candidate Mohammad-Reza Aref.

Pro-Rouhani supporters tweeted other images of the rally, portraying a massive turnout and a surge in the support for the candidate.

Rouhani: I Had To Answer Qalibaf In Debate

An EA correspondent writes: the video below --- showing moderate candidate Hassan Rouhani in his car --- was recorded after last night's debate.

At the beginning of the video someone on the road tells Rouhani well done and the man with him says he appreciates Rouhani for the answers he gave in the debate, and asks him what he thought about it.

Rouhani says: "I didn’t want to answer him [Principlist candidate Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf] like that but when I saw that he was not telling the truth, I had to say something to make sure people understand everything properly and also for historical records.  I had so many things to say but I wanted to follow morality. Unfortunately some people place justice and truth to one side in competition."

Ahmadinejad: Nuclear Talks Have Nothing to Do With Me

Confirming what EA has said for months, President Ahmadinejad has said that he is sidelined in Iran's negotiations over its nuclear programme.

Ahmadinejad, responding to allegations in the Presidential campaign, said, "People have said [lack of progress] is the fault of the government. I am not talking about the nuclear issue and do not intervene in the case Someone else is responsible."

Presidential Election: Haddad Adel Reconfirms No "Unity" Candidate

Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel has confirmed that --- contrary to months of promises from the Supreme Leader's 2+1 Committee, of which he is a member --- there will be no "unity" candidate in Friday's first-round election.

Haddad Adel said he would not withdraw, even for fellow Committee members Ali Akbar Velayati and Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf:


Given my extensive experience and good relations with many managers, I can form a cabinet with efficient and revolutionary individuals on board. This is a reason of my decision to sign up in the first place and why I am planning to stay in the race.


Economy Watch: The Soaring Cost of Food

The BBC, citing the official Statistics Centre of Iran, offers some striking numbers about inflation between 2007 and 2013.

Sangak bread has almost doubled in cost. That, however, is only a small rise compared to a kilogramme of beef (470%), a litre of milk (350%), and a kilogramme of rice (7100%).

The national minimum wage has fallen more than 50% in real terms, while youth employment rose to 24.9% in 2012.

Has Rafsanjani Come Out In Support Of Rouhani?

Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani has said that moderate candidate Hassan Rouhani is the "best choice" of the eight Presidential candidates, Mehr News and other sources are reporting this morning.

The report comes amid speculation that reformist candidate Mohammad-Reza Aref may step down in favor of Rouhani, in order to unify the moderate- centrist- reformist vote behind a single candidate. As we noted in a separate analysis this morning, backing from Rafsanjani and former President Khatami will be essential if such a coalition is to take place.

Hezbollah Praises "Jalili the Resistor"

Presidential candidate and Supreme National Security Council secretary Saeed Jalili has tweeted a picture he said came from his supporters in Lebanon --- presumably Hezbollah (if the image is genuine).

The image, in the colors of the Islamic Republic's flag, shows a photograph of a younger Jalili and the Arabic caption المقاوم --- the Resistor; the legend العدالة والحرية --- "Justice and Freedom", and then a current photograph of Jalili with the caption الدبلوماسي --- the Diplomatist.

Hanif Zarrabi-Kashani of the Wilson Center notes that the Qazvin News Network has provided short profiles of the eight candidates, with photographs of them and their children.

Mohsen Rezaei And Son

Regime "Harasses Radoio Farda Journalists"

The director of Radio Farda, Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty's Persian service, has said that harassment against his reporters has increased in recent weeks.

"The harassment has intensified in the past several weeks, as the authorities take all possible precautions against anything that may challenge their control over the elections," Armand Mostofi said.

Radio Farda said it had documented nine incidents of harassment during May, in which reporters' family members in Iran have been interrogated and asked to persuade their relatives to stop working for Radio Farda or stay but work for Iranian intelligence, RFE/ RL report.

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