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Rubin Reports

The names have now been announced of who will be allowed to run for president of Iran by the regime in the June 14 elections. Six of eight are supporters of the current ruling faction; the rest are two weaker candidates of the other two factions. he outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s tumultuous time in office has left many dissatisfied especially since he has mismanaged the economy and made Iran’s international situation worse by his provocative behavior.

With less than a month to go before the elections–the campaign is only three weeks long to make things harder for the opposition–it is now clear who the candidates are and all those disagreeing with the dominant faction have been vetoed by the six-member Council of Guardian. This council is controlled by the country’s real ruler, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. But the complex maneuvers leading up to the election have given him a huge political headache.

The core of the problem is that there are three factions. Khamenei doesn’t want two of the factions– the super-hardliners and the reformists—to win but only the third group, his hardliners.

The super-hardline faction’s candidate was Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, Ahmadinejad’s son-in-law and man widely seen as a puppet for him. Khamenei hates Mashaei and Mashaei was disqualified.

Also disqualified was the potential “reform” candidate, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjan. One must hesitate to call him a true reformer. Rafsanjani is an insider, indeed a former president (1989-1997), who used to be an ally of Khamenei but now is a fierce rival. Rafsanjani is pragmatic and reportedly conspicuously corrupt. He does not want to overturn the regime but change its direction, keep it more out of international trouble, and find some way to shed the sanctions imposed to stop Iran’s nuclear program. He might have tried to pull Iran back from international confrontations. The 78-year-old Rafsanjani is a dubious hero. He is not part of the reform movement yet he was the best bet they have. The Iranian ruling elite hates him, too. There are genuine differences between him and Khamenei about the country’s direction.

So who does the elite fix the election for as winner? There are eight candidates left in the election:

There is  former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati who is close to Khamenei.

Then there is  Muhammad Bagher Ghalibaf the mayor of Tehran and close to Khamenei.

Of course there is Iran’s nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili. He is very close to Khamenei, perhaps his favorite though he has no administrative experience. .

Or perhaps you like former speaker of parliament Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel who is close to Khamenei.

Some might prefer Asan Rowhani, former nuclear negotiator and Khamenei’s man on the National Security Council.

But if you want someone else there is Gholam Ali Haddad Adel whose daughter is married to Khamenei’s son.

There are two candidates not from Khamenei’s faction. Muhammad Reza Aref is former vice-president and represents the reform group. Mohsen Rezaei, former commander of the Revolutionary Guard is a stand-in for the Ahmadinejad faction.

You might think that six Khamenei followers might split the hardline vote but don’t worry as that will be taken care of in the ballot-counting if necessary.

Ironically, the main impact of the Iranian election may be on the West. Articles and arguments had been already appearing claiming that a post-election Iran would be more moderate and that the next Iranian president would be willing to abandon the regime’s subversive foreign policy and  nuclear weapons’ program. Western negotiators wanted to say: Give Iran a chance. That will be much harder now.

For an explanation of the Iranian election in song see here.

If you are interested in reading more about the history of U.S.-Iran relations and the Iranian revolution you’re welcome to read my book Paved with Good Intentions: The American Experience and Iran online or download it for free..





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The United States' Rule of Law is a sham too. It all depends on who you know -- you can embezzle clients' billions and stay out of jail if you are the president's favorite bundler (Jon Corzine), you can get half a billion of taxpayers' money if you are connected (Solyndra's Kaiser), you can get your merchandise confiscated if you did not support the president (Gibson's Guitars), you can get your tax returns audited twice if you support the president's opponent (Sheldon Adelson), you can spend time in jail as a scapegoat for the president's screw up (the filmmaker whose video was supposed to cause the Benghazi murders) ...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Why isn't Jimmy Carter and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) headed there to verify the vote? Don't they care if there are schenanigans at the poling places like they were concerned with evil Republican groups harassing poor American (alleged American) voters at various locations here?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Why the surprise? We're the leader and other countries have always emulated us. If our last election was a sham I expect to see the trend go all around the world.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
My guess, Muhammad Reza Aref gets the true actual vote of the people but the one that Kockamamie thinks he can control easiest will get the nod. Most likely, Muhammad Bagher Ghalibaf.

Wonder if the people will come back out on the streets again this time around? I was really rooting for them in 2009. They almost made it. Would have too with a little encouragement. THANKS Obambi!!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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