Sunday, January 02, 2005

Resalat Commentary on Presidential Race

Iran News: "29 December 2004 BBC Monitoring Middle East
Iranian commentary views implications of presidential electioneering
Thu Dec 30, 2004 09:50

Iranian commentary views implications of presidential electioneering
29 December 2004 BBC Monitoring Middle East
(c) 2004 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Text of analytical commentary by Ruhollah Jom'eh'i in "Outlook" column, entitled: "With the developments of the 2005 election", published by the Iranian newspaper Resalat web site on 28 December

The past few days can be called the period of competition over the nomination of the presidential candidates. In that period, in addition to the suggested candidates, the names of Hasan Rowhani, Nezhad-Hoseynian, Mehr-Alizadeh, Bitaraf, etc. could be seen in the reports of various news agencies. Experts believe that most of those names are being mentioned merely by some supporters and with the aim of making the relevant individual of issue.

However, the candidacy of Hasan Rowhani was worth deliberating upon from certain points of view. It was rumoured in some circles that Hasan Rowhani was in fact the person favoured by Hojjat ol-Eslam val-Moslemin Hashemi-Rafsanjani. As a result of the rumour, the issue of the head of the Expediency Council [Rafsanjani] not coming forward as a candidate acquired greater prominence. The principal point here, however, is whether Shaykh Hasan Rowhani can win the consensus of the orthodox group and that of even half the members of the Militant Clergy Association, of which he himself is a member.

The spokesman for the Militant Clergy Association, Mesbahi-Moqaddam, considered this to be unlikely and unthinkable. Nevertheless, Mohammad Reza Bahonar, one of the members of the committee for the selection of the candidate of the orthodox current, in an interview with Fars News Agency, stressed: If Mr Hashemi-Rafsanjani puts his name forward for candidacy in the election, the orthodox current would study it.

The statements made by Bahonar are aimed at neutralising the conspiracy of creating a division in the orthodox current and the character assassination of the head of the Expediency Council, who is one of the strong and everlasting pillars of the ruling system, by certain extremist spectrums.

Ali Larijani, another of the options suggested by the orthodox current, commenting on the issue in an interview given to ISNA, says: If the Coordinating Council of the Forces of the Islamic Revolution nominates Hashemi-Rafsanjani or someone else as its candidate, I will support the nominee.

In an analysis of the latest actions taken by the orthodox current, Fars News Agency wrote: The second round of the negotiations by the committee for examining the candidates of the orthodox current were carried out with the current's five candidates. The agency added: Following its talks and investigations, the committee will introduce a single orthodox candidate for taking part in the presidential election.

Commenting on the issue in Ilam, Mohammad Reza Bahonar told ILNA [Iranian Labour News Agency]: We are busy carrying out opinion polls among the various walks of life in the community as well as among fellow-thinkers on the issue of selecting the best candidate in order to be able to arrive at a final decision.

[Mrs] Maryam Behruzi [secretary-general of the Zeynab Society], tells an ILNA correspondent: The Followers of the Front of the Line of the Imam and the Leader will introduce its principal choice in the month of Dey [month beginning 21 December].

However, in the government current, character assassination by the twin extremist spectrums (Organization of the Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Iran Participation Front) with the help of the latest weapons of psychological war has taken on an accelerating form against Hojjat ol-Eslam Mehdi Karrubi. While the Militant Clerics Society has officially nominated Karrubi as the candidate sought by the government current and Montajebnia [a prominent member of the society], praises his characteristics, saying: He possesses all the characteristics and merits of a president, reports indicate that the main elements in the twin spectrums have begun extensive and covert efforts aimed at dissuading Karrubi on the one hand and character assassinating him in political and student circles, on the other.

It was reported by political circles that three of the principal elements of the spectrum had called on him in a meeting to change his mind about taking part in the election. They had warned the former Majlis Speaker that the Guardian Council was going to reject his competence. However, Karrubi has rejected the allegation. They also alleged that Karrubi was indulging in character assassination, something that they themselves are perpetrating.

In the meantime, the media that are affiliated to the twin spectrums have attempted to suggest members of a cabinet for Mehdi Karrubi in a psychological operation so that they might succeed in forcing the secretary of the Militant Clerics Society to retreat under the pressure of rumours and intimidations.

This is while according to a report by the Young Journalists Club, Karrubi, in a reaction to the extremists' choice, says: In the presidential election I earnestly welcome the candidacy of Mo'in and Bitaraf and think that in such a case we will have a satisfactory election.

Another of the rumours that are being propagated by the twin extremist spectrums is that the orthodox current has already selected its principal candidate and the holding of meetings, talks, etc., are all aimed at deceiving public opinion. The unfounded rumour was so baseless and futile that it failed to provoke any of the principal players of the orthodox current to make a response.

Source: Resalat web site, Tehran, in Persian 28 Dec 04, pp3,19 "