Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Ali Akbar Velayati (75)


Iran Analysis: 4 Key Questions as Guardian Council Decides Final List of Presidential Candidates

Iran's Guardian Council will tell the Minister of Interior today which Presidential hopefuls will be allowed to campaign for the 14 June election.

Almost all of the 686 who registered while be disqualified; however, a relatively large contingent of politicians, perhaps more than 30, will be accepted.

This means that --- with the Supreme Leader's camp unable to agree a "unity" candidate despite five months of effort --- we still will not have clarity on the three or four front-runners until next week, after other candidates have withdrawn and made endorsements.

We can make some educated guesses, however, based on the Guardian Council's white smoke and answers to these four questions:

1. Will Hashemi Rafsanjani Be Allowed to Run?

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Iran Today: Still No Unity Candidate

Presidential Candidate Saeed Jalili

With less than three days to go before the Guardian Council declares its final list of candidates, the principlist 2+1 coalition --- established in December with the aim of finding a single candidate behind whom conservatives could rally --- has yet to announce that candidate.

Instead, each member of the 2+1 Coalition continues pre-campaigning with no sign that any of the three will step down in favor of another. Top Khamenei advisor Ali Akbar Velayati urged Iranians to avoid a Western lifestyle and praised the Resistance Economy.

Meanwhile, the hardline Perseverance Front also faces a decision about which candidate it will back after the Guardian Council returns the final list of candidates on Tuesday.

On Saturday, the Perseverance Front's initial choice, former Minister of Health Kamran Baqeri Lankarani denied he would step down in favor of Supreme National Security Council secretary Saeed Jalili.

Amid the uncertainty, Jalili continues to present himself as a front-runner, extending his social media campaign by opening an Instagram account, disseminating campaign ideas via podcast and downloadable leaflets, and continuing to use Twitter.

Presidential Election Watch --- Jalili Edition

Jalili Extends Social Media Presence

Supreme National Security Council secretary, Perseverance Front member and Presidential candidate Saeed Jalili, who has shown savvy use of social media in the opening stages of his pre-campaign efforts, has extended his social media presence by joining photo-sharing and micro-blogging network Instagram.

The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also uses Instagram --- which is not blocked in Iran --- to disseminate publicity photographs.

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Iran Today: A Week In The Presidential Election

Is Fars News Endorsing Saeed Jalili?

Joanna Paraszczuk and Scott Lucas write:

In the week since registration for Presidential candidates closed and the Guardian Council began vetting the almost 700 Iranians who submitted their names, Iran's media has been dominated by two contenders: former President Hashemi Rafsanjani and chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.

However, with the Supreme Leader's 2+1 Coalition yet to declare any "unity" candidate, the question now is who will be able to mobilize significant support within the regime to counter Rafsanjani.

So far, only Jalili has emerged as a front runner.

Just as significant is the apparent confusion in the principlist and conservative camp. Although talk of a "unity" candidate is ongoing, no figure apart from Jalili has shown the organization and initiative to offer an alternative to Rafsanjani.

Presidential Election Watch: Rafsanjani, Motahari Respond to Jannati's Friday Prayer Comments

Both Conservative MP Ali Motahari and Presidential candidate and former President Hashemi Rafsanjani have responded to remarks by temporary Tehran Friday Prayer leader Ayatollah Jannati yesterday.

In yesterday's Friday prayers, Jannati dubbed "laughable jokes" pledges by presidential candidates to repair Iran's relationship with the US and resolve the economic hardship caused by Western sanctions.

Motahari said that in the 2009 election the people were "deceived" and that the Guardian Council must approve Rafsanjani as a Presidential candidate.

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Iran Today: Lines Drawn In Presidential Campaigns

Saeed Jalili Posts Photos On His New Google Plus Account

Presidential Election Watch: Rohani to Withdraw in Favour of Rafsanjani

Hassan Rohani, a senior official with the Expediency Council, has indicated that he will withdraw his candidacy in favour of former President Hashemi Rafsnajni --- but after the Guardian Council has finished its vetting process:

I am happy that Rafsanjani registered for the candidacy and people should be patient for another 10 days as I think some candidates will step down in favour of other candidates.

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Iran Analysis: Correcting the Goldfish's View of a "Surprise" Presidential Election

If you started watching the Presidential contest on Friday, then this weekend's developments might have been surprising. However, if you started watching months ago --- and kept watching day-by-day --- the bigger picture would have prepared you for the so-called "surprise".

As we put the question last Wednesday, "Supreme Leader Losing Control of the Election?"

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Iran Feature: Inside Story on How Supreme Leader Accepted Rafsanjani's Presidential Campaign

Rafsanjani & Supreme Leader in the 1980sAt 4 p.m., advisors told Hashemi Rafsanjani that if he was not going to register as a candidate, he should write a message to the people and let them know. The former President agreed to draft a satement; however, an hour later, the advisors told others, "Hurry up. Rafsanjani is setting off to the Interior Ministry to register."

What had changed?

Rafsanjani had consulted the Supreme Leader's office. He had received a "not negative" response --- not a definitive green light to run but also not a rejection.

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Iran Today: Presidential Election --- Last Day Of Candidate Declarations

President Ahmadinejad and his right-hand man, Presidential candidate Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, at the election centre today

See also Iran Special: EA's Guide to the Presidential Election
Iran Video of Day: People Chant "Rafsanjani Has Arrived"< /br>
Friday's Iran Today: Presidential Election --- Still No "Unity" Candidate

Election Watch: Rafsanjani Edition

Former president Hashemi Rafsanjani has told the ISNA news agency that he "has come to serve and the people have the right to elect me or not."

Meanwhile, MP Alireza Zakani, Presidential hopeful and head of one of the factions seeking to fight the election, has said he will support Saeed Jalili --- Secretary of the National Security Council --- to stop the "sedition" of Rafsanjani.

The news agency was suspended, and its head threatened with prosecution, over an April 2012 video report on martial arts training by Iranian women.

The report initially appeared with a headline that the women were training to become assassins.

Rallying Behind Rafsanjani

In another major development pointing to a serious challenge by former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, the "Advisory Council of the Reformists" has put out a statement that --- after a meeting with former President Mohammad Khatami --- all reformists will be formally backing Rafsanjani.

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Iran Today: Presidential Election --- Still No "Unity" Candidate

Election Watch: Rezaei Edition

Mohsen Rezaei --- former head of the Revolutionary Guards, Secretary of the Expediency Council, and Presidential candidate in 2009 --- has registered for this year's contest.

Rezaei's outlet Tabnak said he was accommpanied by more than 2000 people who chanted that he would bring the recovery of Iran's faltering economy.

Rezaei used a similar message in the 2009 election and has been highly critical of the Ahmadinejad Government's handling of economic matters.

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Iran Today: Presidential Election --- All About Rafsanjani So Far

See also Iran Special: EA's Guide to the Presidential Election
Iran Election 101: An Animated Guide
Wednesday's Iran Today: Supreme Leader Losing Control of the Presidential Election?

Election Watch: Supreme Leader's Committee Edition

Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, a member of the Supreme Leader's 2+1 Committee, has indicated that it will not put out a final decision of a "unity" candidate until after the registration of hopefuls.

Haddad Adel announced, "All three of us [the Supreme Leader's senior aide Ali Akbar Velayati, Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, and Haddad-Adel] will register. It is not clear exactly when we will announce the result, but this announcement will not come before the Guardian Council's review [after formal registration closes on 11 May]."

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Iran Analysis: Presidential Election --- Rafsanjani and Khatami Put Supreme Leader in a Corner

Hashemi Rafsanjani & Mohammad KhatamiEither Ayatollah Khamenei accepts former President Hashemi Rafsanjani's candidacy, which will shake up an already unsettled process and possibly put it beyond the Supreme Leader's control...

...or the Supreme Leader black-balls Rafsanjani, likely incurring blame for blocking one of Iran's highest-profile politicians.

As an EA correspondent summarised, "The Supreme Leader is between a rock and a hard place."

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