Saturday, April 16, 2005

Strong candidate still to emerge in Iran'

Iran News - 'Strong candidate still to emerge in Iran': "'Strong candidate still to emerge in Iran'

Saturday, April 16, 2005 - ©2005
LONDON, April 16 (IranMania) - Head of State Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said he still believes someone other than him should be given the chance of taking over the executive branch, but noted results of the latest opinion polls are dashing his hopes for seeing a candidate of caliber emerging on the scene, IRNA reported.

Speaking to members of the pro-reform student body, Office to Consolidate Unity’s Shiraz branch, Rafsanjani said the impression among mainstream political groups is that his presence would ensure a higher voter turnout and reduce social disputes, and now feels obliged to consider his own candidacy more seriously.

“These are encouraging signs for me that could motivate me to run,“ he said.

Rafsanjani said a decision by the US congress to spend $3 mln for toppling the Islamic Republic is an old tactic but attempting to work alongside anti-revolutionary elements does leave us with an open hand to attack our enemies.

The US Congress has considered $3 mln and the State Department is inviting proposals on how to spend the fund for spreading the US brand of democracy in Iran.

Based on a report by USA TODAY, for the first time in a quarter-century of estrangement, the US administration is openly preparing to spend government funds in Iran and has invited educational institutions, humanitarian groups, non-governmental organizations and individuals inside Iran to support what it says would be the advancement of democracy and human rights."

Reuters | Rafsanjani says more definite to run in Iran poll

Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage: "Rafsanjani says more definite to run in Iran poll

Sat April 16, 2005 3:10 PM GMT+05:30
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iranian political heavyweight and former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani says he is now "more definite" to run for president on June 17, Iranian newspapers reported on Saturday.

Rafsanjani, 70, said he had been waiting for a more suitable candidate to come forward but was now increasingly pessimistic that one would turn up.

"My candidacy has become more definite," he was quoted as saying at a religious meeting in north Tehran by the official Iran newspaper.

"My presence would maximise voter turnout," he was quoted as saying in the Sharq reformist daily.

Liberal cleric Mohammad Khatami has to step down this summer after two four-year terms as president of OPEC's second-biggest crude producer.

Rafsanjani is seen as a pragmatic conservative whose 1989-1997 presidency was marked by modest cultural relaxations and pushes for economic restructuring.

He heads the Expediency Council, Iran's top legislative arbitration council. Last year the body overhauled a key plank of the constitution to allow large-scale privatisations.

Although viewed as business-minded, in contrast to radical conservative parliamentarians, Rafsanjani has been keen to deny that he has amassed great wealth.

He has been plagued by rumours he and his proteges have huge holdings in pistachio farming, airlines and car industry. He says he is poorer now than before the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The hardline conservative camp is represented in the presidential race by former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati and Ali Larijani, a former head of state broadcasting.

Both men, like Rafsanjani, are advisers to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, Iran's former chief of police, has thrown his hat into the ring as a more moderate conservative.

Reformists will probably be represented in the race by Mehdi Karroubi, former parliament speaker, and former Higher Education Minister Mostafa Moin."

Moin Takes Reformisty Money, Claims Gains

Description of Selected News: "Moin’s popularity increasing: IIPP official

Tehran Times Political Desk
TEHRAN (MNA) -- Elaheh Koolaee, the spokeswoman of presidential candidate Mostafa Moin and the deputy secretary general of the Islamic Iran Participation Party (IIPP), elaborated on his political positions in an interview with the Mehr News Agency on Tuesday. Following is the text of the interview: Q: Dr. Moin has always said that he is an independent candidate and that he would employ talented people in his campaign. So, why he has chosen a spokeswoman who is affiliated to the reformists?

A: Dr. Moin in an independent candidate, but at the same time is the first candidate in Iran who has run for president with the supported of a systematized organization. In fact, the (Islamic Iran) Participation Party is one of the two groups supporting Dr. Moin and is the largest and most organized political group in Iran and conducts all its activities in a modern way.

Dr. Moin is an independent candidate, because he is not a member of any political party, but this has nothing to do with his tendency to make use of the experiences of parties.

Q: Elaborate a bit on the collaboration between the Islamic Iran Participation Party and the Islamic Revolution Mojahedin Organization (IRMO). After the announcement of the names of the leaders of Moin’s election headquarters, who were all members of the IIPP, rumors arose about the relationship between the two organizations. For instance, it was said that as the older brother of the IIPP, IRMO guided the Participation Party and that is why none of its members have been given high-ranking posts in the campaign headquarters. It was also said that IRMO uses the IIPP to announce its participation in elections, while it is determined to field its own candidate, and that IRMO is encouraging Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to run. What is your opinion about the relationship between the IIPP and IRMO in Dr. Moin’s election headquarters?

A: The members of both parties are actively working in Dr. Moin’s election headquarters and exchange experiences to lead reform programs. Q: As for Dr. Moin’s popularity, he is regarded as one of the most unknown candidates. Why has the IIPP selected an unknown candidate?

A: Dr. Moin has represented Tehran, Isfahan, and Shiraz in the Majlis in three different periods, and he has also been the minister of higher education twice. So can one call such a candidate an unknown? In addition, Dr. Moin’s popularity is increasing faster than the other candidates. Q: Mohammad Reza Khatami has said that if the competency of Dr. Moin is rejected, the IIPP would not participate in the presidential election and the party would not support any other candidate. What is your view on this?

A: I do not believe the competency of a known figure, who has been a minister and also a people’s representative in the Majlis over the past 26 years, would be rejected. That would actually question the previous years, and I do not think that any organization in the country intends to do such a thing. Q: What would the IIPP’s reaction be if Dr. Moin is rejected for any reason?

A: Every party fields its own favored candidate for elections. The IIPP refrained from fielding its secretary general due to certain considerations in the seventh Majlis elections. So, any kind of measure to exclude Dr. Moin would deprive the IIPP of the chance to play an active role in the presidential election. Q: If, just like the parliamentary elections for the seventh Majlis, the IIPP announces that it will not participate in the presidential election, isn’t it possible that the enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran could take advantage of such a reaction at this critical juncture?

A: We are living in a world in which holding a free and fair election is considered a principle among countries. And as the Islamic Republic of Iran, we are expected to be the model of the world for holding a fair and free election. So, I believe that discussion of such matters would not be in line with the country’s interests and would be quite harmful for us. Q: Dr. Moin is opposed to banning daily newspapers and imprisoning politicians, but has announced that his most serious reaction to such incidents would be to inform the public about the case in point or finally to resign. So, do you believe that such a man would be able to handle crises?

A: Considering the current domestic and international situation, do you believe that I would support him if I didn’t have such a belief about him? I do believe that by relying on his experience and knowledge as well as the team that is working with him, he will be able to deal with crises quite efficiently. Q: Who is financially supporting Dr. Moin’s campaign?

A: Those people who are interested in reforms and reformist programs financially support Dr. Moin. Q: Who is Dr. Moin’s main election rival?

A: Considering the current positions of the presidential candidates, the election will probably be followed by a runoff election, and I have no doubt that Dr. Moin will be one of the candidates who will participate in the second round of the election. Q: What about Rafsanjani?

A: I think that he will be a serious rival, especially in the second round. Q: What about Mahdi Karrubi?

A: Recent polls do not suggest such a thing. Q: And what about the conservative candidate?

A: The current situation in our country is quite fluid. So we hope that, with the people’s cooperation, the conservatives will hardly have a chance."