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Presidency>Velayati; Purely Conservative Candidate

Netiran>Articles>Politics>Presidency>Velayati; Purely Conservative Candidate: "Velayati; Purely Conservative Candidate

Sharq, Daily Newspaper, No. 289, Sep. 24th, 2004, Page 6
By : Human Dourandish
Wielding the whip-hand, the rightists should prove a moderate image in a bid to win the elections. Former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati is not such a pragmatist to give up the values of the rightist faction, nor is he so fundamentalist to sacrifice the national interests for fundamentalism. Velayati will install a pure conservatism if he wins the vote.

The name of former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati is bandied about in the conservative camp as a potential candidate for president. Is Velayati, a man with diplomatic career, determined to run for the 2005 elections?

MOUSAVI MAY NOT RUN

The conservative candidates who stood in the 2001 presidential elections collectively garnered one-fourth of the votes. The outcome of the 2003 local council and 2004 legislative elections indicate that the conservatives have not gained social weight. The conservatives are insisting on their past attitudes and the people must not show unexpected welcome for them. The right-leaning hopefuls who contested the 2001 presidential vote mustered rarely seven million votes and now Velayati must not gain more than 10 million if he decides to run. The reformists gained 22 million votes thanks to President Mohammad Khatami who was pledging reforms. But now the electorate turnout will sharply decline even if Mr Mir-Hossein Mousavi, former prime minister, jumps to the fray. The popular Mousavi is unlikely to garner as much votes as Mr Khatami did in 2001. Mousavi shot to prominence in the first post-revolutionary decade and his supporters are mostly right-leaning. Therefore a possible presence of Mr Mousavi in the contest will avoid an astonishing drop in the turnout and will not let Mr Velayati sweep the elections. Velayati who serves as Iran's foreign minister for 16 years is well aware of the popularity for Mousavi and he cannot accept a shameful defeat. Therefore, Velayati may have decided to run because Mousavi might have decided not to run.

PURE RIGHTIST

Wielding the whip-hand, the rightists should prove a moderate image in a bid to win the elections. Velayati is not such a pragmatist to give up the values of the rightist faction, nor is he so fundamentalist to sacrifice the national interests for fundamentalism. Velayati toes on a line stretching from fundamentalism to pragmatism. Velayati has never been in the camp shouting radical slogans. He is no radicalist or opportunist and he toes the moderation line. Velayati will install a pure conservatism if he wins the vote.

OBSTACLE TO RAFSANJANI COMEBACK

Velayati's firm determination to run for president is indicative of the fact that the rightists have not reached a consensus on candidacy of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. The reconstruction period, under reign of Rafsanjani, will never go out of the minds but pure rightists do not consider Rafsanjani as their favorite politician whose intelligence has never let the rightists pass by him. Certain rightists attribute the prevailing problems to the governments of Rafsanjani and Khatami and they must not have reached a consensus to field him for president. Even some members of the Islamic Coalition Party who want to have Rafsanjani as president are facing opposition from the young conservatives. Putting Velayati up for president is because the rightists intend to dissuade Rafsanjani from standing in the elections. Rafsanjani will never agree to contest Velayati and he continues to remain as the chairman of the state Expediency Council -- the highest arbitration body in Iran.
Now will Velayati run for the presidential elections?"