1410 GMT: Election Watch. The conservative Jahan News tips off both nerves and in-fighting with its concern over photos of President Ahmadinejad's right-hand man, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, on monitors at Imam Khomeini International airport.
Jahan claimed that the photos, accompanied by short quotes, "reveal a serious intention to enter the elections" by Rahim-Mashai.
Rahim-Mashai, formerly Ahmadineajad's Chief of Staff, has not yet officially announced his candidacy. He may be blocked by the Guardian Council from standing, so the Ahmadinejad camp put up an alternative candidate, Minister of Roads Ali Nikzad, last weekend.
Jahan, linked to the politician Alireza Zakani, is still convinced that the President will pursue Plan A:
some say that Ahmadinejad will never take the risk because [Rahim-Mashai's] candidacy will not be approved by the Guardian Council. But others, who appear to have a more logical point, believe that not making Mashai a candidate puts in question the philosophy of the President in the prices he has paid for [Mashai] in the last several years.
Jahan concludes, “At this moment, the actions of Mashaei and the administration points in the direction of Esfandiar Rahim Mashai’s candidacy.”