Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Assembly of Combatant Clerics (3)


Iran Today: How To Use Nuclear Talks In An Election Campaign

Presidential candidate Saeed Jalili (right) after nuclear discussions with Catherine Ashton, the representative of the 5+1 Powers

See also Wednesday's Iran Today: Lines Drawn In Presidential Campaigns

The Guardian Council, the body vetting the almost 700 people who had registered as candidates for the Presidential election, is scheduled to make its decisions today. However, with up to 40 prominent politicians and public figures among the hopefuls, it is close to a certainty that the Council will request a five-day extension.

Yet even at this early stage, it appears that the final battle may be emerging: former President Hashemi Rafsanjani will take his challenge all the way to the run-off on 21 June.

And to stop him, the Supreme Leader and others within the system will turn to Saeed Jalili, the Secretary of the National Security Council.

Despite no previous electoral experience, Jalili has put together an impressive campaign --- including through social media --- to take attention from other conservatives and principlists, including the members of the Supreme Leader's 2+1 Committee.

An example of that campaigning acumen? Jalili, Iran's lead negotiator in nuclear talks with the 5+1 Powers, used Wednesday's discussions with the 5+1's Catherine Ashton --- scheduled well before the formal registration of candidates --- to highlight his diplomatic and political skills.

Presidential Election Watch: Rafsanjani Edition

The reformist Assembly of Combatant Clerics has unanimously endorsed former President Hashemi Rafsanjani for this year's election.

Presidential Election Watch: Rafsanjani Edition

Conservative website Entekhab notes that former President and Presidential candidate Hashemi Rafsanjani was a confidante of Ayatollah Khomeini, and that during his past presidency he had wanted to improve relations with the USA.

Entekhab notes that in the 2005 Presidential campaign, Rafsanjani declared that he was ready for dialog with America and "has made similar comments about negotiations with America".

Entekhab also noted that Rafsanjani's government had focussed on "rebuilding the economy".

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The Latest from Iran (31 January): Hatching Freedom

1945 GMT: Execution Watch. Looks like the Iranian authorities are scrambling to justify their sudden execution of Dutch-Iranian national Zahra Bahrami (see separate feature)....

Press TV is claiming it has a video in which Bahrami explains how she concealed cocaine and opium in her house. In the video, Bahrami gives the camera crew a tour of her house, showing them how she concealed drugs in a compartment inside her bed, in cereal boxes and in an electric heater.

The style of the video sounds similar to Press TV's recent "documentary" in which Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, whose death sentence for adultery has also been condemned internationally, was released from prison to make a "confession" in her home.

The Tehran Prosecutor's Office now claims that, during a search of Bahrami's house, 450 grams of cocaine and 420 grams of opium were uncovered. Previously, Iranian officials said Bahrami was holding a kilogramme of cocaine.

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The Latest from Iran (3 January): Will Wolves Attack?

2140 GMT: Full Circle. We started today with thoughts about the regime's threat to arrest opposition leaders and the sharp response by Mehdi Karroubi, and we'll end today there as well....

Michael Theodoulou of The National considers, "Karroubi Throws Down Gauntlet to Iranian Government", with a guest appearance from EA:

Iran's most defiant opposition leader has challenged his government to try him in an open court for the momentous unrest that swept the Islamic republic after the "stolen" presidential elections in 2009.

Theodoulou also notes the curious and still murky development of President Ahmadinejad's dismissal of up to 14 advisors.

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