Iran’s elections: conservatives and hardliners dominate

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Iran Focus Analysis: Tehran, Jan. 03 – Candidates set to stand in Iran’s June 17th presidential elections are seen by many Iran experts as right-wing extremists loyal to hardline Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Several of them, including former heads of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), have announced their candidacy for president. Iran Focus Analysis

Tehran, Jan. 03 – Candidates set to stand in Iran’s June 17th presidential elections are seen by many Iran experts as right-wing extremists loyal to hardline Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Several of them, including former heads of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), have announced their candidacy for president. The IRGC, the Iranian regime’s ideological army, and its Qods (Jerusalem) Force are tasked with “liberating Jerusalem through Baghdad”.

One of the candidates, former IRGC commander in chief Mohsen Rezai, is seen by many as an ultra-right figure who would act only on Khamenei’s orders.

A number of other senior conservative officials, including former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, are expected to announce their decision in the coming weeks. Rafsanjani is the current head of the powerful State Expediency Council which arbitrates between the watchdog Guardian Council and the Majlis (parliament).

Ali Larijani, another former top member of the IRGC and former chief of Iran’s state-controlled television, also announced today his candidacy. Larijani currently represents Khamenei in the Supreme National Security Council and also sits on the Expediency Council.

Ex-Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to Khamenei, has also announced his intention to run. Hassan Rowhani, Iran’s nuclear point-man in talks with the European Union is also expected to announce his decision in the coming days.

Other candidates include the ex-Minister for Higher Education Mostafa Moin and former Majlis Speaker Mehdi Karroubi.

Iran’s current President Mohammad Khatami, who is nearing the end of his second term, is seen by many Iranians as a “lame-duck president”, who was neither interested nor capable of initiating reforms in Iran.

Experts believe that at present Khamenei is consolidating all state-power under his far-right faction.

In general Iranians believe that “internal reforms from within the regime” have hit a dead-end and public apathy is expected in the elections.