As part of its daily Iran briefings, EA WorldView will be providing detailed coverage of the Presidential campaign and the election, scheduled for 14 June.
Entries in Iran Elections 2013 (34)
London-based NGO Small Media, a self-described "action lab helping the free flow of information and creative expression in closed societies, with training, technology and research initiatives that focus on Iran", has published a report on the use of social media by Iran's Presidential candidates.
The report, covering 21-27 May, concludes that the "prevailing attitude is quite negative [about the election] among those on Twitter".
Small Media found that former President Hashemi Rafsanjani was the person most "worth following" on Twitter, despite his disqualification by the Guardian Council almost a week earlier.
Observations after Friday's third and final Presidential debate, following a conversation with a leading EA correspondent on Iran:
1. THE CONSERVATIVES AND PRINCIPLISTS FALL APART IN ARGUMENTS
The immediate headline that the debate was more interesting than the previous two, because of conflict among the eight candidates, does not begin to capture the extent of the division --- notably among those men who supposedly are close to the Supreme Leader's camp.
Our correspondent summarises, "This was a free-for-all in which all went after each other, including the [members of the Supreme Leader's] 2+1 Committee. This showed the three men of the 2+1 do not have anything in common."
Behind The Scenes At The Televised Debate
Presidential Election Watch: Rouhani Edition
Rouhani has criticized IRIB, saying that State TV had failed to create a healthy competition in Friday's televised debates.
Rouhani says he consulted with former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, and others, who encouraged and advised him to remain in the Presidential race.
Saeed Jalili explains how he would solve Iran's economic problems as President
With the exclusion of leading politicians, such as former Presidential Hashemi Rafsanjani from the Presidential race, a leading theme in media converage is that the election is now merely a contest of "shades of gray" between supporters of the Supreme Leader.
That headline, while it has an element of truth, is a reduction of the contest and Iran's internal situation for two reasons.
First, the economic issue --- and not nuclear talks with the West or other foreign policy issues --- is likely to be the dominant concern of Iranian voters.
Second, while each of the eight approved candidates can find security in criticism of the Ahmadinejad Government, each has to prove that he will be able to remedy the economic problems --- from rampant inflation to falling production to unemployment to currency difficulties --- that plague the Islamic Republic.
Presidential candidate and Supreme Leader advisor Ali Akbar Velayati speaks about the economy
See also Iran Analysis: Presidential Election --- It's About "Management" & The Economy br>
Sunday's Iran Today: Presidential Election --- Focus On The Economy
The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spoke to students at Imam Hossein University --- a military university belonging to the Revolutionary Guards --- said that Iranians should participate in the June 14 Presidential Election and said through this many of the country’s problems will be solved.
Khamenei criticized the U.S., saying that "those Americans who say our election is not free, have not yet closed Guantanamo Bay and are killing many people in Pakistan and Afghanistan."
He added: "Our people should know that the reason Americans are saying these things is because of the importance of the election, therefore the [Iranian] people should create a political epic."
The disqualifications of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s former chief of staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashai were big news, if not entirely surprising.
The electoral field is now dominated by hardliners loyal to the Supreme Leader.
However, the fictional campaign of Zahra continues to pick up steam with the endorsements of prominent lawyers Shirin Ebadi and Mehrengiz Kar.
Presidential candidate and Tehran mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf is to visit Yazd Province on Sunday, Fararu reports.
Qalibaf's campaign chief, Gholam-Ali Sadih, said that the Tehran mayor will address various groups of people in Yazd, including students and faculty from various universities and other higher education institutes there.
In a speech Friday on the anniversary of Iran's liberation of Khorramshahr during the Iran-Iraq War, Qalibaf said that Iran had tremendous natural and human resources but "mismanagement, deficiencies and a move away from Jihadist culture" is hampering the country.
The liberation of Khorramshahr was a "turning point" for Iran, and a symbol of Iran's "sacrifice, struggle and resistance" as well as of those who were the "true followers of the Imam", he added.
Iran's powerful Parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, hinted at possible support for Presidential candidate and Tehran mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, lauding his achievements regarding construction of the Imam Ali Expressway in Tehran.
Larijani said the project showed Qalibaf's "jihadi efforts".
Regarding the election, Larijani said that there would be a good turnout and that the Iranian people could not be forced to vote a particular way by the West.
However --- in a hint that Presidential hopefuls need to unite behind a consensus candidate --- the parliamentary speaker warned candidates to be attentive, lest Western countries turned apparent disunity into internal divisions.