Thursday, May 26, 2005

World Peace Herald - Rafsanjani ahead in presidential polls

World Peace Herald: "Rafsanjani ahead in presidential polls
Published May 25, 2005

TEHRAN -- A former Iranian president, who helped usher in the Islamic Republic, is reportedly the presumed front-runner in the latest presidential campaign.

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is being depicted as a reformist ahead of the June 17 elections. Yet in an interview with the New York Times, Rafsanjani showed no conciliatory gesture, the newspaper said.

He said the United States is not a democracy and demanded it make the first concession toward improving relations. The 70-year-old also firmly defended Iran's right to develop nuclear technology.

None of the other seven candidates wants to alter the current system where power rests in the hands of an unaccountable, supreme religious leader who can overrule elected officials at a whim.

In the interview, Rafsanjani did not suggest resuming ties with the United States. However, he added, "It is not a priority for us, but the current state is not reasonable either.""