Monday, February 14, 2005

72 Parties Back Rafsanjani, 4 Parties Back Moin, Velayati seeks Independent Path

Description of Selected News: "Candidates, groups air views on presidential election

Tehran Times Political Desk
TEHRAN (MNA) – MP Ali Askari said on Monday that a group of parliamentarians will meet with former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the upcoming presidential election with him.

Askari said MPs from different political factions will attend the meeting.

He noted that Rafsanjani has so far resisted appeals to run in the presidential election but is worried whether a person who takes over the helm would be able to manage the country at the current situation.

Meanwhile Mohammad Javad Mohammadi Nuri, a member of the Ninth Coalition for a Better Future, told the Mehr News Agency that 72 political parties and groups have announced that they would back Rafsanjani, the current chairman of the Expediency Council in the election.

The Islamic Labor Party, the Servants of Construction Party, and the Moderation and Development Party are among the most important parties which have officially announced that they will back Rafsanjani for president.

Former science minister and incumbent reformist presidential candidate Mostafa Moein said on Monday that establishing relations with the U.S. is not a goal but Iran can discuss developing ties with Washington on equal footings between the two countries.

“Iran can develop ties with the U.S. in line with its interests if equal conditions exist between the two countries,” he said in a conference entitled ‘Civil Rights and National Sovereignty’ in the northeast city of Mashhad.

Referring to the current economic, political and social problems in the society, Moein stressed that these problems can only be resolved through a complete transformation in the structure of the current system.

Ahmad Shirzad, a member of the Central Council of the Islamic Iran Participation Party (IIPP), said on Monday that in addition to IIPP and the Islamic Revolution Mojahedin Organization (IRMO), two other reformist parties also support Moein for the top post.

Without referring to the names of the parties, Shirzad said the IIPP and IRMO are trying to encourage other Second Khordad parties to join them in backing Moein.

He also emphasized the Second Khordad parties or groups are free to choose anyone they want to support for president.

“The Mojahedin Organization was active in backing Moein candidacy and it will follow this way” he said.

On Monday, former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati told a gathering in Saveh, southwest Tehran, that he is campaigning as an “independent” candidate in the elections, saying he has distanced from the Coordination Council for the Islamic Revolution Forces Committee (CCIRFC) while “maintaining his friendship” with the committee.

Valayati stated that the ninth round of elections will be tough and more complicated than ever before."