Sunday, May 15, 2005

Westerners attempting to poison electoral atmosphere: Larijani

Description of Selected News: "Description of Selected News: "Westerners attempting to poison electoral atmosphere: Larijani

Tehran Times Political Desk
TEHRAN (MNA) -- Conservative presidential candidate Ali Larijani told a gathering of people in a mosque in Shahr-e Rey, Tehran Province that the United States and the European Union are attempting to poison the electoral atmosphere in Iran by presenting a crisis-stricken image of the current situation in the country.

The United States is afraid that Iran may become a serious rival in the Middle East’s grand chess game and thus has adopted a strategy meant to influence the cultural, political, and social life of the country as opposed to a military strategy, he observed.

Iran will wisely stand up for its nuclear rights: Rafsanjani

“We will obtain our rights in the nuclear dossier through the use of wisdom,” Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani told a gathering of people in Hamedan Province on Sunday.

Economic prosperity is one of Iran’s most important needs at this juncture, the presidential candidate added.

He went on to say that efforts must be made to bring the country out of the current economic downturn, to boost social welfare, and to maintain revolutionary causes in order to solve problems like unemployment, labor disputes, and economic pressure.

The EC chairman stated that his administration would prioritize solving social problems and increasing the people’s participation in the management of political and social affairs if he won the presidential election.

Rafsanjani also said that mastering nuclear fuel technology is the Iranian nation’s inalienable right, adding that Iran would realize its right through the use of wisdom and with no harm to the country.

Iran in dire need of efficient government: Qalibaf

Conservative presidential candidate Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf said on Saturday that Iran is in dire need of the people’s active participation as well as efficient, active management at this critical juncture, so that mutual confidence can be established between the people and officials, as a result of which he believes a great number of the problems of society would be solved.

It is a great honor that the Islamic Revolution of Iran is strengthening national cohesion day by day, he told a crowd of people at the Takhti Stadium of Khorramabad, Lorestan Province during a campaign stop.

Rezaii calls entrepreneurs economic engines

Presidential hopeful Mohsen Rezaii said here on Sunday that the economy should not be the monopoly of anyone in the name of the government, religion, or entrepreneurship, adding that the government should work hard to create job opportunities.

The country has some potential entrepreneurs, but they need proper training and education, he noted.

Rezaii called entrepreneurs economic engines, adding that equal opportunities should be provided to everyone so every citizen could become an entrepreneur.""

Westerners attempting to poison electoral atmosphere: Larijani

Description of Selected News: "Westerners attempting to poison electoral atmosphere: Larijani

Tehran Times Political Desk
TEHRAN (MNA) -- Conservative presidential candidate Ali Larijani told a gathering of people in a mosque in Shahr-e Rey, Tehran Province that the United States and the European Union are attempting to poison the electoral atmosphere in Iran by presenting a crisis-stricken image of the current situation in the country.

The United States is afraid that Iran may become a serious rival in the Middle East’s grand chess game and thus has adopted a strategy meant to influence the cultural, political, and social life of the country as opposed to a military strategy, he observed.

Iran will wisely stand up for its nuclear rights: Rafsanjani

“We will obtain our rights in the nuclear dossier through the use of wisdom,” Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani told a gathering of people in Hamedan Province on Sunday.

Economic prosperity is one of Iran’s most important needs at this juncture, the presidential candidate added.

He went on to say that efforts must be made to bring the country out of the current economic downturn, to boost social welfare, and to maintain revolutionary causes in order to solve problems like unemployment, labor disputes, and economic pressure.

The EC chairman stated that his administration would prioritize solving social problems and increasing the people’s participation in the management of political and social affairs if he won the presidential election.

Rafsanjani also said that mastering nuclear fuel technology is the Iranian nation’s inalienable right, adding that Iran would realize its right through the use of wisdom and with no harm to the country.

Iran in dire need of efficient government: Qalibaf

Conservative presidential candidate Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf said on Saturday that Iran is in dire need of the people’s active participation as well as efficient, active management at this critical juncture, so that mutual confidence can be established between the people and officials, as a result of which he believes a great number of the problems of society would be solved.

It is a great honor that the Islamic Revolution of Iran is strengthening national cohesion day by day, he told a crowd of people at the Takhti Stadium of Khorramabad, Lorestan Province during a campaign stop.

Rezaii calls entrepreneurs economic engines

Presidential hopeful Mohsen Rezaii said here on Sunday that the economy should not be the monopoly of anyone in the name of the government, religion, or entrepreneurship, adding that the government should work hard to create job opportunities.

The country has some potential entrepreneurs, but they need proper training and education, he noted.

Rezaii called entrepreneurs economic engines, adding that equal opportunities should be provided to everyone so every citizen could become an entrepreneur."

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iran candidates set poll record

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iran candidates set poll record: "Iran candidates set poll record

Former President Rafsanjani is the best-known candidate
A record 1,010 people have registered to run in Iran's presidential election next month, the interior ministry says.
Registration closed on Saturday and aspiring candidates will now wait while their applications are vetted by the hardline conservative Guardian Council.

The list of those registered includes 89 women, but the Guardian Council has already said they will not be eligible.

Among those tipped to make it through to stand on 17 June is former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Mr Rafsanjani, who was president twice from 1989 to 1997, is seen as a pragmatic conservative, open to better ties with the West but more socially conservative than the reformists, the BBC's Tehran correspondent Frances Harrison says.

Record numbers

The Mayor of Tehran, Mahmood Ahmadinejad, and the former national police chief, Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf, are also in the running.

MAIN ASPIRING CANDIDATES
Conservatives
Former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
Tehran Mayor Mahmood Ahmadinejad
Former police chief Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf
Former Revolutionary Guard head Mohsen Rezaei
Former TV and radio chief Ali Larijani
Reformers
Mostafa Moin, Khatami ally
Former parliamentary speaker Mehdi Karroubi
Ebrahim Yazdi, dissident
Aazam Taleghani, female dissident
Several political dissidents have registered, as well as the non-political former national goalkeeper Nasser Hejazi.

The candidates range in age from a 16-year-old boy to an 86-year-old man, AP news agency says.

The number of candidates is up from the previous record of 814 in the 2001 elections.

The current President, Mohammad Khatami, is barred by the constitution from seeking a third consecutive term.

The Guardian Council now has 10 days to complete the vetting procedure.

It caused outrage during last year's parliamentary election by disqualifying some 2,000 candidates and in effect disqualifying most reformers from standing.

But correspondents say the council may be more cautious this time, fearing a low turnout could damage its legitimacy."

RADIO FREE EUROPE/ RADIO LIBERTY

RADIO FREE EUROPE/ RADIO LIBERTY: "Will Conservatives Dominate Iran's Election?
By Bill Samii

Potential candidate Hashemi-Rafsanjani has been criticized by conservatives and reformists

The men and women who wish to compete in the Iranian presidential election will begin registering on 10 May. After five days, the 12 members of the Guardians Council will begin to examine the applicants' qualifications. This is part of the Guardians Council's constitutional responsibility to supervise elections.

This has always been a controversial process. Of the more than 200 people who registered in 1997, only four candidates were accepted. And out of the more than 800 people who registered in 2001, only 10 were accepted. Among the people rejected for elected office are veterans of the Iran-Iraq War, participants in the revolutionary struggle against the monarchy, and sitting parliamentarians.

Human beings inevitably make mistakes, and it would seem that the vetting process for candidates is no different. However, the head of the Guardians Council, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, seems oblivious to this possibility. At the time of the 1998 Assembly of Experts election, Jannati said the council must only answer to the authority that appointed it -- the supreme leader -- if it made any mistakes in rejecting over half of the 396 prospective candidates. A few months later, Jannati described the people as orphans and the religious scholars as their custodians and guardians. "They are in charge of all the affairs of the people," he said.

Expecting perfection from humans is unreasonable. Expecting fairness and an absence of bias from state officials, on the other hand, is perfectly reasonable.

It is therefore not clear why Jannati is involved with the team from the conservative Coordination Council for Islamic Revolution Forces that is selecting a final candidate for president, as reported in "Etemad," "Eqbal," and "Farhang-i Ashti" on 5 May. Termed an "expediency committee" (shora-yi maslahatanji), its other members are Mohammad Reza Mahdavi-Kani, Ali Meshkini, and Mujtaba Tehrani. Guardians Council spokesman Gholam-Hussein Elham denied Jannati's involvement with the conservative group, whereas Guardians Council member Mohammad Jahromi said the regulations do not prohibit Jannati's membership ("Kayhan" and "Eqbal," 5 May 2005).

Interior Minister Abdolvahed Musavi-Lari expressed concern that involvement of the person responsible for supervising the election in a specific political movement is neither in the individual's interest nor in society's ("Etemad," 5 May 2005). The interior minister also raised questions about Jannati's impartiality.

Conservatives Divided

Jannati's alleged involvement in the Coordination Council of Islamic Revolution Forces only contributes to doubts about the Guardians Council's political inclinations. But it also shows that the conservatives are not as monolithic as some believe. The Coordination Council identified Ali Larijani as its presidential candidate in late April, but other conservative candidates have their own constituencies.

There are reports that the conservative speaker of parliament, Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, has sent a letter to other conservative candidates -- Ahmad Tavakoli, Ali Akbar Velayati, Mohsen Rezai, and Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad -- asking them to withdraw from the race ("Farhang-i Ashti" and "Etemad," 5 May 2005).

Only Tavakoli has done so. Larijani reportedly said that he would withdraw if it is necessary for maintaining unity ("Jomhuri-yi Islami," 5 May 2005). Velayati has refused to withdraw ("Sharq," 5 May 2005). Another conservative candidate, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, reportedly did not get the letter because he is doing well in opinion polls.

The presence of many candidates encourages public participation in the election, and the Iranian regime uses voter turnout figures to legitimize itself. Therefore, one would not expect conservative political organizations to discourage candidates.

In this case, however, the presence of many candidates would dilute the vote and reduce the percentage earned by the top vote-getters. This would normally not be much of a problem, but if Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani enters the race, there is a distinct possibility that he will be among the top two finishers although none of them will get the required fifty percent-plus of the votes. In that case, there is the possibility that Hashemi-Rafsanjani would win the second round.

Hashemi-Rafsanjani has a reputation for doing what is politically expedient and pragmatic, and this has annoyed some conservatives. Indeed, several seminary lecturers from Qom allegedly issued a statement in which they criticized Hashemi-Rafsanjani and said the next president does not have to be a cleric ("Siyasat-i Ruz," 5 May 2005). The conservatives see him as too willing to give way on issues they see as important, such as social affairs and international relations. The conservatives therefore oppose Hashemi-Rafsanjani, as well as the pro-reform candidates, and although they already have a stranglehold on power in Iran -- through the Supreme Leadership, the Guardians Council, and the parliament -- the conservatives want to make their domination complete by winning the presidency."