Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Guardian Council (29)


Iran Analysis: Has Regime Risked Its Legitimacy By Blocking Rafsanjani?

Cartoon: Maya Neyestani

After the new President is declared on 21 June in the election which cannot be called a "free election", the bigger contest for the regime --- beset by economic problems, facing difficulties over its foreign policy and "Islamic Awakening", caught up in political rivalry --- remains....

How does it convince its people, many of them resigned to the decline of recent years, that its Islamic Republic is still legitimate?

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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--- we still will not have clarity on the three or four front-runners until next week, after other candidates have withdrawn and made endorsements.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: Presidential Election --- The Field Starts To Narrow

Ramin MehmanparastInternet Watch: Even Google Doesn’t Come Up

Radio Farda reports that the internet has been mostly down throughout Iran since Saturday, and claiming that “even Google doesn’t come up anymore.”

Some observers have linked the internet slowdown indirectly to the forthcoming election, suggesting that the internet still works for government officials. Radio Farda notes that one student was unable to access a foreign Embassy’s website, while a user from Tehran commented that even with 512kb connections webpages are not loading properly.

Presidential Election Watch: Rafsanjani Edition --- Hashemi's Third Statement

Former President and Presidential candidate Hashemi Rafsanjani has issued a third statement, entitled Campaign Ethics, Good Promises and Converting Enemies to Friends, Khabar Online reports.

The statement opens with a citation from the Quran --- Surat al-Muminum 23:96: Repel evil with that which is better. We are Best-Acquainted with the things they utter.

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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: 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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Iran Today: The Presidential Campaign Formally Opens

Economy Watch: Private Parliament-Government Meeting on Inflation

Tabnak reports that MPs and Government officials have had a private meeting today, discussing how to control the price of some necessary goods.

Rafsanjani Watch: Pro-Ahmadinejad MP Blasts Former President

MP Ruhollah Hosseinian, a long-time supporter of President Ahmadinejad, announced that up to 90 legislators have written to former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, asked him to explain a speech last week which criticised the Government and put forward a number of foreign policy statements.

In the address to clerics, scholars, and students, Rafsanjani, "We are not in war with Israel." He also indicated that he might be ready to run in June's Presidential election.

Hussainian said he is trying to get more MPs to sign the letter. He asserted, "If Rafsanjani wants to participate in the election, he should explain these statements first."

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Iran Live: Ex-President Rafsanjani's Camp Makes Its Election Move

Iran Feature: The Week in Review --- Threats and Arrests Before the Presidential Election
Thursday's Iran Live: Ahmadinejad "Presidential Election Will Be Political Epic"

1407 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Mohammad Hassan Asfari of Parliament's National Security Commission has said that a proposed festival in Azadi Stadium in Tehran is a gathering of Ahmadinejad which is an abuse of public funds and is illegal.

1253 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayer Update. In today’s sermon, Ayatollah Movahedi Kermani warned Presidential candidates that loyalty to the Supreme Leader is a vital prerequisite for the position, stating that the Presidency is not a position of personal power but a “trusteeship of the divine”.

He also offered his sympathies for those affected by Wednesday’s earthquake in Bushehr Province that killed at least 37 people and injured hundreds more.

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Iran Live: Still Looking for "Unity" for the Election

The Supreme Leader's "2+1 Committee" --- MP Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, Khamenei advisor Ali Velayati, and Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf --- who are seeking a "unity" candidate for the Presidential election

See also Iran Analysis: This Week's Nuclear Talks --- A 5-Point Guide to the US and European Position
Monday's Iran Live: Will Iranians Celebrate "Islamic Republic Day"?

1410 GMT: Food Watch. Nasser Karimi offers another story on the soaring price of pistachios, a luxury for New Year celebrations, adding this twist:

The government, which usually tries to contain Iranians' anger over the economy, has heartily backed the pistachio boycott — again for reasons tied to the Western-led sanctions over Iran's nuclear program. Pistachio exports provide a small but important pipeline for foreign revenues at a time when sanctions are squeezing Iran's oil and gas sales. Authorities say fewer nuts consumed at home means more available to sell abroad.

The pale green nuts are Iran's top non-oil export, though admittedly they are very distant second. Iran earned at least $750 million last year from exporting the nut, with some estimates as high as $1 billion.

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Iran Live Coverage: "The Freest Elections in the World"

0615 GMT: The Battle Within. US National Public Radio features an audio report on the political in-fighting, noting protests, claims of corruption, and tension over forthcoming Presidential elections. EA WorldView makes an appearance:

While Ahmadinejad is [in office], he can be blamed for the economic difficulties. He can be blamed for escalating inflation. He can be blamed for the 70 percent drop in the value of the currency. Now, Ahmadinejad's going to be gone in June. Who is the Supreme Leader's firewall then? Who does he blame if there is no improvement in the economy?

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Iran Live Coverage: Tehran Continues to Push "Positive" Nuclear Talks

See also Tuesday's Iran Live Coverage: Ahmadinejad Anoints His Right-Hand Man for President

2021 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani has strongly criticised those who have backed President Ahmadinejad and his Government.

Rafsanjani said the Government has destroyed three decades of achievements: "I am surprised that why some people, especially clerics, have supported them. Even more strange is they will not stop supporting this disaster now that they have realised the true identity of this current."

1945 GMT: Sanctions Watch. The US has renewed the waiver from financial penalties for Japan, "based on additional significant reductions in the volume of its crude oil purchases from Iran".

Waivers were also extended for 10 European Union countries. The EU implemented a ban on imports of Iranian oil from 1 July 2012.

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