Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Mostafa Moin threatens to quit poll race - More Tricks By Moien to Hurt Iran

Iranian reformer threatens to quit poll race - report - Yahoo! UK & Ireland News: "Wednesday June 15, 02:03 AM

Iranian reformer threatens to quit poll race - report
LONDON (Reuters) - Iranian reformist candidate Mostafa Moin has threatened to pull out of the Iranian presidential race if there is more violence in the run-up to Friday's election.

In an interview with the Guardian newspaper on Wednesday, Moin said attacks on his supporters and bombings in three cities this week could force him to reconsider his position.

"If they continue in this way, my supporters will hold an emergency meeting to study the situation and they will reconsider our participation in the election," he was quoted as saying.

"Our preference is to continue until the end, but if we consider that the first rule and regulation of democracy, that is, a free election, is not observed, then we will have a decision to take."

Moin said the pre-election violence was designed to weaken his support by scaring people into staying at home or choosing a more hardline candidate.

"If they create tense circumstances, then people might think that if they vote for a military candidate, there will be peace and stability," he told the newspaper.

Bombs in three cities on Sunday and Monday killed nine people and injured dozens in the worst such violence in more than a decade. Officials blamed the attacks on exiled opposition groups hoping to dissuade Iranians from voting.

However, Moin suggested there may have been official approval. "I do not consider it improbable," he told the Guardian.

Moin, 54, a former higher education minister under outgoing President Mohammad Khatami, is one of the closest rivals to front-runner Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Opinion polls suggest pragmatic conservative Rafsanjani, 70, will win a tight race to reclaim the post he held from 1989 to 1997."