Friday, December 24, 2004

Analysis: Velayati represents the "middle-aged right,"

Analysis: Conservative Presidential Candidates Speak Up In Iran:

"The first person to announce his candidacy for the 2005 presidential election is former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, who is currently an adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Radio Farda reported on 27 November. Velayati is considered a conservative, and he met with leaders of the hard-line Islamic Coalition Party just a few days before announcing his candidacy.

At that meeting, according to a commentary in the 24 November "Farhang-i Ashti," Velayati emphasized the need for unity among the conservatives. He was implying that the differences between young right-wingers and middle-aged ones (fundamentalist vs. pro-values) are too great right now for them to agree on a candidate. Velayati falls somewhere in the middle of the rightist current, according to the commentary, between Expediency Council Chairman Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani and Tehran Mayor Mahmud Ahmadinejad. Velayati represents the "middle-aged right," according to the commentary.

He predicted that Velayati would withdraw his candidacy to support Hashemi-Rafsanjani's candidacy. If Hashemi-Rafsanjani decides against being a candidate, Fallahian speculated, the conservatives probably will back Velayati."