Tuesday, May 24, 2005

SBS - The ultra-conservatives are happier living with a powerless reformist (Mr Mo’ein) rather than Rafsanjani

SBS - The World News: "REFORMIST CANDIDATES ALLOWED
25.5.2005. 09:16:50



RELATED STORIES
- Iranian reformers banned
- Iranian stalwart contests poll

Iran’s powerful hardline Council of Guardians has reversed its ban on two reformist candidates seeking to run in the upcoming presidential election.

The change came less than 48 hours after the council announced its original selection of six hopefuls to stand in the June 17 poll.

Pressure from the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, saw the approval of Mostafa Mo’ein, the preferred choice of Iran’s main reformist party – the Participation Front – and independent candidate Mohsen Mehralizadeh.

The addition of the pair may assuage calls for a boycott of the election.

Iran has prided itself on its typically high voter turnouts, often far higher than those of Europe’s democracies.

A boycott would deal a severe blow to the legitimacy of Iran’s electoral process, particularly at a time when Tehran is under increasing pressure from Europe and the US over its uranium enrichment programme.

Washington responded dismissively to the news of the increased candidate list.

“It really doesn’t change our essential view that this is a process that has been shaped and distorted by the decisions of some unelected leaders,” US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

The Guardians Council is comprised of appointed conservative clerics and judges and is answerable only to the ayatollah.

Analysts consider the inclusion of Mostafa Mo’ein, an outspoken reformist who has promised to tackle human rights abuses, as a tactic to sap support from the leading candidate, Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Mr Rafsanjani served two presidential terms from 1989 to 1997, and is seen as supportive of economic liberalisation and closer ties with the West.

He currently heads Iran’s Expediency Council, the nation’s top political arbitration body, and is widely regarded as the regime’s de facto number two.

“It could be that the ultra-conservatives are happier living with a powerless reformist (Mr Mo’ein) rather than Rafsanjani,” a political analyst told the Agence France Presse news service.

After eight years of rule by pro-reformist President Mohammad Khatami, major confrontations with conservative-controlled courts, the parliament, armed forces and political oversight bodies have produced serious ructions in Iranian politics.

Analysts say balancing the need to satisfy voters’ choice of their preferred candidate with ensuring a more harmonious relationship between elected and unelected officials will prove a real challenge in the June poll."

RADIO FREE EUROPE/ Iran: Pre-Campaign Campaigning Under Way

RADIO FREE EUROPE/ RADIO LIBERTY: "Iran: Pre-Campaign Campaigning Under Way
By Bill Samii

The big issue in Iranian politics this week is the vetting of candidates for the 17 June presidential election by the Guardians Council -- an unelected body of six clerics and six lawyers. The council announced on 22 May that only six out of the 1,014 prospective candidates were eligible to compete in the election. That is less than 1 percent -- an impressively small figure.

It can be argued with some justification that not all applicants are eligible. Indeed, Guardians Council spokesman Gholam Hussein Elham said on 13 May that among the applicants were 81 unemployed people, 19 teenagers, and 250 people without a secondary-school diploma, Radio Farda reported. During the 15 May legislative session, furthermore, Tabriz parliamentary representative Seyyed Mohammad Reza Mir-Tajedini called on the Interior Ministry to prevent the registration of people who do not meet the minimum qualifications, "Resalat" reported on 16 May.

'Approbatory Supervision'

The Guardians Council's vetting of candidates for elected office has been a controversial issue since the parliamentary elections of 1988. This is part of the council's constitutionally mandated responsibility to supervise elections -- termed approbatory supervision or "nizarat-i estisvabi." Yet the controversy over the council's actions does not end with its disapproval of candidates that it does not care for. The council has taken its powers up a notch by overturning results after election day, which it did after parliamentary elections in February 2000 and in February 2004. There is no question that, as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reported in September 2000, the council is "a major obstacle to the further development of democracy" in Iran.

Nobody reasonably expected approval of all 1,014 applicants this time, but the mass rejection that included individuals who have previously served in government elicited an outraged reaction from Iranian political elites. Following intervention by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on 23 May, two more applicants -- former Minister of Education and Training Mustafa Moin and Vice President for Physical Training Mohsen Mehralizadeh -- were reinstated.Supreme Leader Khamenei said in a 24 May speech in Tehran that candidates should avoid creating a "tense and antagonistic climate."

They join Tehran Mayor Mahmud Ahmadinejad, former state broadcasting chief Ali Ardeshir-Larijani, Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen Rezai, former police chief Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, former Speaker of Parliament Hojatoleslam Mehdi Karrubi, and Expediency Council chairman Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani.

Campaign Already Under Way

Officially, these candidates can campaign from 27 May until 24 hours before election day. In fact they began campaigning months earlier, by paying visits to the provinces, meeting their supporters, and trying to gain new ones by making vague promises. After prospective candidates registered, the campaigning took on a new tone, and Hashemi-Rafsanjani became a lightening rod. This is probably because other candidates see the two-time former president as the frontrunner and their main rival.

One day after Hashemi-Rafsanjani registered, on 11 May, a commentary in the hard-line "Ya-Lisarat al-Hussein" weekly said the growing gap between rich and poor, injustice, and economic discrimination, as well as the resulting cultural and social difficulties, can be traced to his administration. His registration, the commentary continued, obstructs the circulation of elites and is indicative of an excessive desire for power. It is an insult to the nation to suggest that nobody else is qualified to be president 25 years after the revolution. The commentary suggested that a Hashemi-Rafsanjani presidency would open the way to foreign interference in the country's affairs, it would allow members of the reformist 2nd of Khordad Front to remain unaccountable, and it would allow them to retain power.

Hashemi-Rafsanjani's rival, Karrubi, criticized the candidate in a letter that was published in the 19 May "Aftab-i Yazd." Karrubi noted that Hashemi-Rafsanjani previously said he would only compete in the election if there is no acceptable or competent candidate. If that is the case, Karrubi wrote, the seeds for such a situation were sown during Hashemi-Rafsanjani's presidency.

As for the alienation and isolation of revolutionary forces that Hashemi-Rafsanjani referred to when he announced his candidacy, that can be traced to the fourth parliamentary election in 1992, when the Guardians Council disqualified many dedicated public servants. Karrubi also wrote of the abuses committed by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security and the police during Hashemi-Rafsanjani's presidency, as well as the Intelligence Ministry's extensive involvement in economic activities.

Karrubi concluded his letter with a threat, referring to "unsaid points that I will have no choice but to disclose if the former methods and the humiliation of other candidates should continue."

Supreme Leader Khamenei said in a 24 May speech in Tehran that candidates should avoid creating a "tense and antagonistic climate," state radio reported. He also criticized those who create tension in the print and broadcast media.

The trading of insults and accusations is an increasingly common, albeit unfortunate, aspect of political campaigns throughout the world. Resulting tensions are therefore unavoidable. In Iran, the interference of the Guardians Council is responsible for much greater problems. That body answers only to the supreme leader, who is ultimately responsible for much of the current political strain in Iran."

RFL Karrubi is such a Weak Candidate be Stoops to Mud Slinging Despite What The Supreme Leader Said!

RADIO FREE EUROPE/ RADIO LIBERTY: "Hashemi-Rafsanjani's rival, Karrubi, criticized the candidate in a letter that was published in the 19 May "Aftab-i Yazd." Karrubi noted that Hashemi-Rafsanjani previously said he would only compete in the election if there is no acceptable or competent candidate. If that is the case, Karrubi wrote, the seeds for such a situation were sown during Hashemi-Rafsanjani's presidency.

As for the alienation and isolation of revolutionary forces that Hashemi-Rafsanjani referred to when he announced his candidacy, that can be traced to the fourth parliamentary election in 1992, when the Guardians Council disqualified many dedicated public servants. Karrubi also wrote of the abuses committed by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security and the police during Hashemi-Rafsanjani's presidency, as well as the Intelligence Ministry's extensive involvement in economic activities.

Karrubi concluded his letter with a threat, referring to "unsaid points that I will have no choice but to disclose if the former methods and the humiliation of other candidates should continue."

Supreme Leader Khamenei said in a 24 May speech in Tehran that candidates should avoid creating a "tense and antagonistic climate," state radio reported. He also criticized those who create tension in the print and broadcast media.

The trading of insults and accusations is an increasingly common, albeit unfortunate, aspect of political campaigns throughout the world. Resulting tensions are therefore unavoidable. In Iran, the interference of the Guardians Council is responsible for much greater problems. That body answers only to the supreme leader, who is ultimately responsible for much of the current political strain in Iran."

Interior Ministry thanks Leader for order to review candidates' qualifications

Interior Ministry thanks Leader for order to review candidates� qualifications: "Interior Ministry thanks Leader for order to review candidates’ qualifications
TEHRAN, May 24 (MNA) -- The Interior Ministry issued a statement on Tuesday thanking Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei for his wise order to the Guardian Council to reconsider the qualifications of two reformist presidential candidates, Mostafa Moin and Mohsen Mehralizadeh.
The statement reads: “The upcoming ninth presidential election is one of the main rubrics of national unity, and so any kind of decision in this regard would have to face the judgment of both the Iranian nation and history.

“A massive turnout, upon which all Iranian officials, and particularly the Leader, had emphasized, had always been one of the main strategies (necessary) to achieve the objectives of the Islamic Revolution and the freedoms specified in the Constitution.

“Nevertheless, the announcement of the first decision of the Guardian Council on the disqualification of some candidates almost threatened (to influence) the people’s turnout, which would have resulted in damage to both the government and the country. Fortunately, however, the wise suggestion of Ayatollah Khamenei paved the way for holding an enthusiastic presidential election.

“Alongside other organizations in the country, the Interior Ministry feels duty bound to provide better conditions for the election and hereby expresses its gratitude to the Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, for his prudent measure.”

CCIRFC trying to unite conservatives: Bahonar

Majlis Vice Speaker Mohammad Reza Bahonar said in Qom on Monday that the well-known candidates may be on top in the recent opinion polls, but added that the situation would change as the election approaches.

Bahonar told reporters that the Coordination Council for the Islamic Revolution Forces Committee (CCIRFC) has endeavored to unite the conservatives, but, despite the existence of an absolute majority in the CCIRFC, some still believe that it is too early to make a decision.

Nevertheless, the CCIRFC will spare no effort to unite the conservatives, he added.

Pointing to the fact that people were reluctant to witness a repeat of past experiences, he said that the CCIRFC decided that “Fresh Air” would be its main slogan since society is in need some fresh air.

Bahonar also noted that the possibility of Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani withdrawing has not been completely rejected, adding that if the conservatives move toward an appropriate unity which satisfies Rafsanjani, it can hold some negotiations with him in this regard.

Tehran mayor says Leader’s wise act will increase enthusiasm for election

Presidential hopeful Mahmud Ahmadinejad said here on Tuesday that the recent order of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei to the Guardian Council to reconsider the qualifications of two reformist presidential candidates, Mostafa Moin and Mohsen Mehralizadeh, will certainly liven up the election.

The Tehran mayor called the Leader’s order a significant manifestation of the government’s strength and capacity to safeguard public interests.

He also noted that the flexibility of the Iranian government and the open political atmosphere in the country have provided a unique framework for holding an enthusiastic presidential election.

Alami questions decision barring him from presidential election

MP Akbar Alami, who was disqualified by the Guardian Council as a candidate for Iran’s ninth presidential election, on Tuesday criticized Majlis Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel for not appealing to the oversight body, saying he expected the speaker to defend parliament’s dignity and prestige.

The Majlis deputy representing Tabriz said, “I was excluded from the list of qualified nominees while I have won a seat in the past two parliamentary elections and served on the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee as a member. I have chaired the Iran-Europe Parliamentary Friendship Group and represented the country in negotiations with the Europeans. I have been the chairman of a council which supervised the activities of state radio and TV. I have written at least 500 political essays.

“Now, the GC has not recognized me as a man of politics (rajol).”

In response, Haddad Adel said that he had not named any candidates in his letter to Ayatollah Khamenei, but had only called for an increase in the number of presidential hopefuls approved to run."

Mossad's Richard Perle Maintains Close Ties With Iran's Ahmad Batebi - May 24, 2005 - The New York Sun - NY Newspaper

Rice Tells Mullahs That Democracy On the Way to Iran - May 24, 2005 - The New York Sun - NY Newspaper:

Mossad Spy Richard Perle bragged at the AIPAC gathering that he was in close contact with Iranian radical Ahmad Batebi. A prominent leader in the Anti-Islamic student riots of 1999 Batebi has recently been released from prison. It may be that Perle is trying to get Batebi jailed or killed so that he can be used by Mossad as a martyr. There is little else that makes sense that would cause a prominent Israeli Intelligence operative to "Burn" a contact to the press. Interestingly enough Eli Gold broke the story and Gold acts more like one of Israeli Intelligence's Press Agents that a reporter. Odds are that Israel sees Batabi worth more dead than alive. JBOC


"Rice Tells Mullahs That Democracy On the Way to Iran

BY ELI LAKE - Staff Reporter of the Sun
May 24, 2005
WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Rice yesterday warned Iran's "unelected leaders" that the day will come when their people will demand the same rights and liberties recently sought by Iraqis and Lebanese.

Speaking at the annual policy conference for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Ms. Rice said to thunderous applause, "Ladies and gentlemen, the Middle East is changing and even the unelected leaders in Tehran must recognize this fact. They must know that the energy of reform that is building all around them will one day inspire Iran's citizens to demand their liberty and their rights. The United States stands with the people of Iran."

Ms. Rice's remarks could signal that the Bush administration is growing impatient with the stalled European-led negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. Only three months ago, Ms. Rice said that America would consider lifting its objections to Iran joining the World Trade Organization and the sale of airplane parts to the Islamic Republic in exchange for good-faith efforts to end its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Her predecessor, Colin Powell, in 2003 pledged that America would not interfere in the internal affairs of Iranian politics, which he referred to as a "family fight."

At the conference Ms. Rice played to the crowd. In her opening lines she said, "judging by how many students I see in the audience today, I know that Aipac's future is clearly going to be bright." The line was a subtle vote of confidence for an organization that has been dogged by allegations that two of its former employees are targets of an FBI probe into mishandled classified information and possible espionage. On Sunday, Aipac's executive director said his organization is not a formal target of the bureau's investigation.

In her remarks yesterday, the secretary of state also called Prime Minister Sharon's plan to remove Jewish settlers from Gaza an "unprecedented and incredibly delicate opportunity" for peace. She also touted reform efforts in the Middle East. "I speak to these reform efforts because the United States looks to a future and has a vision of a day when Israel is no longer the sole democracy in the Middle East," she said to loud applause.

But her warning to Iran's mullahs represented the most potentially significant policy shift for the administration. In the last two months, some State Department officials and European diplomats have suggested that nuclear negotiations would resume when Iranians elected a new president on June 17. But the process leading up to those elections has not met Western standards. Over the weekend, Iran's Guardian council disqualified all but six of the hopefuls for the post to be vacated by Iran's outgoing president, Mohammed Khatami. The Associated Press yesterday quoted the council's chief, Ayatollah Ahmad Janati, as saying, "Thoughts of the president have to be in line with the thoughts of the supreme leader."

The State Department is now reviewing whether to grant money set aside by Congress to pro-democracy groups inside Iran. If these grants go through, it would mark the first time such public funds would be given to organizations inside the country since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and 1981 Algiers Accord, an agreement Iran has said requires America to refrain from meddling in its internal affairs.

The threat posed by Iran was a hot topic yesterday at Aipac, which set up an extensive interactive presentation on the history of the country's nuclear program. When the group's activists take to Capitol Hill today to lobby their representatives, one of the top pieces of legislation will be new sanctions against Iran linked to its nuclear program.

After Ms. Rice's remarks, Rep. Jane Harman, a Democrat from California, suggested in a public discussion that America work through the U.N. Security Council to entice the Iranians to abandon their nuclear ambitions. For this suggestion she was booed by the pro-Israel activists in attendance. When her discussion partner, American Enterprise Institute scholar Richard Perle, suggested that America work to support the grass roots opposition in Iran, he met applause. Ms. Harman, who is the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, concurred with Mr. Perle's recommendation.

Mr. Perle then told the lunchtime crowd at the Washington Hilton that he was about to contact one of the leaders of the July 9, 1999, demonstrations in Tehran. The leaders are honored each year by the opposition. At the event, he said he would tell Ahmad Batebi, who has recently been released from Evin Prison, that Ms. Harman too supported his cause to unseat the unelected regime in his country. Mr. Batebi was imprisoned after he appeared holding up a bloody T-shirt on a 1999 cover of the Economist. Since then, the photo has graced many opposition posters and Web sites.

During a later interview, Mr. Perle said that he had spoken five times with Mr. Batebi, who has contacted him through intermediaries, for months. Mr. Perle did not make the phone call yesterday, he said, after realizing that Iranian intelligence operatives may trace the call after monitoring his remarks at the Aipac conference.

Mr. Perle said that through his conversations with Mr. Batebi, he is persuaded that the opposition in Iran yearns to hear the kind of words Ms. Rice said yesterday. "They are hoping to get a message through to the administration, they need moral support, there has been no suggestion that they want military intervention or anything like that. They want Americans to know they have been deprived of basic human rights and want Americans to support them," Mr. Perle said."

The Daily Star - Politics - Iran U-turn allows reformists to run

The Daily Star - Politics - Iran U-turn allows reformists to run: "Iran U-turn allows reformists to run
Threat of election boycott prompts volte face by hard-line Council of Guardians

Compiled by Daily Star staff
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Iranian hard-liners agreed to allow two reformists to stand in next month's presidential election amid fears their disqualification could provoke a mass public boycott of the polls.

The U-turn by the Council of Guardians, a powerful political watchdog, came in response to a demand from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and warnings the 26-year-old Islamic regime was facing a crisis of legitimacy.

The head of the Council of Guardians, Ayatollah Ahmad Janati, was quoted as writing to Khamenei that "as you consider it desirable that all people in the country from different interests have the opportunity to take part, the competence of Mr. Moin and Mr. Mehr-Alizadeh is recognized."

Mustafa Moin was the candidate chosen by the main reformist party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front, and is seen as the only credible pro-reform figure trying to run for president on June 17.

Mohsen Mehr-Alizadeh is a vice president in incumbent reformist President Mohammad Khatami's Cabinet, and is running as an independent.

Their addition to the ballot sheet brings to eight the number of candidates approved to stand.

Khamenei's intervention put Moin in a difficult position. He has frequently criticized Khamenei's power to override the decisions of other state bodies and some of his supporters urged him not to run.

The other six candidates are powerful former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, four hard-liners - Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, Ali Larijani, Mahmoud Ahmadi Nejad and Mohsen Rezai - and the moderate former Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karoubi.

Rafsanjani has been promoting himself as a moderate and had been seen as the front-runner, although the scandal surrounding the initial blocking of Moin may now give the reformists a boost.

The Council of Guardians had announced their initial approved list on Sunday, immediately drawing claims it was carrying out a "coup d'Žtat" by limiting voter choice.

The European Union and Tehran's arch-enemy Washington also voiced their concern over the disqualifications.

In a statement carried by official media, Khamenei himself asserted that "people's participation in the elections will make the enemies disappointed," and called on the candidates "not to resort to animosity and keep the brotherly atmosphere."


Khatami also signaled that he feared political violence by calling on the police, the army, the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij militia to "abide by the country's laws and refrain from any type of moves that might be interpreted as interference in any phase of the election."

Concerns have mounted over a militarization of the regime - given that four out of the six candidates who were initially approved to stand are Revolutionary Guards veterans.

The eliminations revived

memories of tense February 2004 parliamentary elections when almost all reformist candidates were blocked from standing. The assembly is now controlled by hard-liners.

With voters in general frustrated by reforms and with hard-liners still holding onto most institutions - therefore limiting the power of a future president - the regime may still have a tough time getting people out to vote.

Iranian human rights lawyer and Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi said she would not be voting because of her objection to the entire candidate vetting procedure.

"I do not see these elections as free. It is not a free one because not all the candidates get approved and a number of them are disqualified. I will not take part in this elections," she told U.S.-funded Radio Farda.

"And as long as there is supervision [to select candidates], I will not take part in any elections," Radio Farda's Web site quoted Ebadi, currently on a tour of the U.S., as saying.

Public reaction to the crisis has so far been limited, although students at Tehran University held their first demonstration overnight Tuesday against the disqualifications.

Witnesses said some 300 students left their dormitories to take part in a protest march, shouting slogans against the blocking of Moin's candidacy, but they were stopped by police without incident. Official media said police had been ordered not to use force. The main pro-reform student group, the Office to Consolidate Unity, urged Moin not to accept his sudden qualification. - Reuters, AFP"

Scoop: Fabricating Intelligence as Justification for War

Scoop: Fabricating Intelligence as Justification for War: "Fabricating Intelligence as Justification for War
Tuesday, 24 May 2005, 2:32 pm
Opinion: Michel Chossudovsky

www.globalresearch.ca
Centre for Research on Globalisation
Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation

Fabricating Intelligence as a Justification for War

"The Intelligence and Facts were fixed around the Policy"
Selected articles and essays
Michel Chossudovsky, Editor
Global Research E-Monograph and Reports Series, No. 4, May 2005

To access the complete collection of 60 articles, intel documents,
transcripts and reports:
http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO505C.htmlPREFACE

Phony intelligence was created and fed into the news chain with a view to justifying the invasion of Iraq.

The balance-sheet of lies and fabricated intelligence presented in this selection of articles provides detailed and overwhelming evidence.

We have included news reports dating back to 2002, background analysis, commentary, leaked intelligence documents and transcripts, secret memos and the reports by weapons inspectors.

The collection which is intended to provide key references, also addresses a number of important issues, which have been shoved under the carpet, including the circumstances of David Kelly's death, plagiarism in the drafting of intelligence documents, the fabricated biochemical terror threats, etc.

War Criminal in High Office

The implications are far-reaching: those in high office who ordered "the intelligence and facts [to be] fixed around the policy" are responsible for war crimes under national and international law.

Despite the public outcry, particularly in Britain, there has been no visible shift in the war and national security agendas. Quite the opposite: both President Bush and Prime Minister Blair have been re-elected to high office under the stamp of parliamentary democracy. The war agenda has remained unscathed, with more than 400 billion dollars allocated in the US to defense. Moreover, the United Nations is directly collaborating with the US-led occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, in blatant violation of its own charter.


In fact, most of the major political actors, behind the fake intelligence dossier, including George W. Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Tony Blair, Jack Straw, John Negroponte, Condoleeza Rice, etc. are still in high office.

Critical Juncture in Our History

We are at a critical juncture in our history. Duly elected war criminals legitimately occupy positions of authority which enable them to decide "who are the criminals", when in fact they are the criminals.

This fake legitimacy gives them carte blanche. It enables them to proceed without encroachment to the next phase of the war in the Middle East.

It also provides them with a mandate to redefine the contours of the judicial system and the process of law enforcement under the guise of Homeland Security.

In other words, what we are dealing with is the criminalization of the State and its various institutions including the criminalization of Justice.

The truth is twisted and turned upside down. State propaganda builds a consensus within the Executive, the US Congress and the Military. This consensus is then ratified by the Judicial, through a process of outright legal manipulation.

Putting the War Criminal behind Bars

The evidence detailed in this collection of articles and documents would be sufficient to put the war criminals behind bars.

Yet in the eyes of a large section of US public opinion, the issue of fake intelligence is casually dismissed: "it was all for a good cause", which consisted in fighting the "war on terrorism" and ensuring the security of Americans.

Acts of war are heralded as "humanitarian interventions". Military occupation and the killing of civilians are presented as "peace-keeping". In the US, a de facto consensus in favor of war crimes permeates the US Congress and the Judicial. The consensus is also endorsed by the corporate establishment.

In turn, supported by the mainstream media, war crimes are no longer recognized as such. They have been re-categorized as a means to fighting "evil terrorists" in what is described as a "clash of civilizations". Western public opinion has thus become accustomed to dismissing the lies and war crimes as inconsequential.

War criminals occupy positions of authority. The citizenry is galvanized into supporting the rulers, who are "committed to their safety and well-being".

War is given a humanitarian mandate. Media disinformation has instilled within the consciousness of Americans, that somehow the lies are acceptable and that the issue of phony intelligence regarding WMD can be disregarded.

The use of torture, the existence of concentration camps, extra judicial assassinations, all of which are happening, are no longer being concealed. Quite the opposite they are presented as "acceptable" and perfectly "legit" in the context of an effective war on "Islamic terrorists".

Under these circumstances, war criminals in high office within the State and the Military no longer need to camouflage their crimes.

Realities are turned upside down. The derogation of civil liberties --in the context of the so-called "anti-terrorist legislation"-- is portrayed as a means to providing "domestic security" and upholding civil liberties.

And underlying these manipulated realties, "Osama bin Laden" and "Weapons of Mass Destruction" statements, which continue to circulate profusely in the news chain, are upheld as the basis for an understanding of World events.

In other words, the legitimacy of the war criminals is no longer questioned. A sense of righteousness prevails.

America's global war agenda is firmly established, beyond the premises of the pre-emptive war doctrine as a means to spreading democracy and the "free market".

New National Defense Strategy: From "Rogue States" to "Unstable Nations"

In March 2005, the Pentagon released a major document, entitled "The National Defense Strategy of the United States of America" which broadly sketches Washington's agenda for global military domination. http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Mar2005/d20050318nds2.pdf
While the NDS follows in the footsteps of the administration's "preemptive" war doctrine as outlined in the Project of the New American Century (PNAC), it goes much further in setting the contours of Washington's global military agenda.

Whereas the preemptive war doctrine envisages military action as a means of "self defense" against countries categorized as "hostile" to the US, the new Pentagon doctrine has gone one step further. It now envisages the possibility of military intervention against countries, which do not visibly constitute a threat to the security of the American homeland.

It calls for a more "proactive" approach to warfare, beyond the weaker notion of "preemptive" and "defensive" actions, where military operations are launched against a "declared enemy" with a view to "preserving the peace" and "defending America". The document explicitly acknowledges America's global military mandate, beyond regional war theaters. This mandate also includes military operations directed against so-called "failed states" or "unstable nations", which are not hostile to the US. Needless to say, that in the case of an unstable nation, fake intelligence on WMD will no longer be required to demonstrate that a country constitutes a threat. A military operation can be launched if the country is categorized by Washington as an "unstable nation. And already, a list of 25 unstable nations or failed states has been drawn up by the newly created Office of Reconstruction and Stabilisation .

The 2005 National Defense Strategy (NDS) consists in "enhancing U.S. influence around the world", through increased troop deployments and a massive buildup of America's advanced weapons systems. From a broad military and foreign policy perspective, it constitutes an imperial design, which supports US corporate interests Worldwide.

The Next Phase of the War

The existence of fake intelligence to justify US-UK war plans, has not weakened the war agenda. Nor does it ensure that disinformation will not used by politicians to justify the next phase of the war.

In fact, fake intelligence has already been created and fed into the news chain to justify the bombing of Iran which is slated to be implemented as a joint US-Israeli operation.

Meanwhile, in the US, Britain and Canada, the Homeland Security apparatus is being further developed, leading to the militarisation of civilian institutions and the derogation of Constitutional government.

The World is at an important crossroads.

The Bush Administration has embarked upon a military adventure which threatens the future of humanity.

Iran is the next military target. The planned military operation, which is by no means limited to punitive strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities, is part of a project of World domination, a military roadmap, launched at the end of the Cold War.

Military action against Iran would directly involve Israel's participation, which in turn is likely to trigger a broader war throughout the Middle East, not to mention an implosion in the Palestinian occupied territories. Turkey is closely associated with the proposed aerial attacks.

Reversing the Tide of War

High ranking officials of the Bush administration, members of the military and the US Congress have been granted the authority to uphold an illegal war agenda.

One can therefore expect that war criminals in high office will repress any form of dissent which questions the legitimacy of the war in Iraq and/or its extension into Iran. In this regard, the anti terrorist legislation is eventually intended to be used in a cohesive way against the anti-war and civil rights movements.

Reversing the tide of war cannot be achieved through a narrow process of regime change in America.

It is not sufficient to unseat elected politicians and elect a new government. Those in the seat of political authority are instruments, they are power brokers, on behalf of the oil companies, the military industrial complex and the Wall Street financial establishment, which ultimately call the shots on US foreign policy.

Antiwar sentiment does not dismantle a war agenda. What is required is a grass roots network, a mass movement at national and international levels, which challenges not only the legitimacy of the main military and political actors, but the broad structures of the New World Order.

To reverse the tide of war, military bases must be closed down, the war machine (namely the production of advanced weapons systems) must be stopped and the burgeoning police state must be dismantled.

The corporate sponsors of war and war crimes must also be targeted including the oil companies, the defense contractors, the financial institutions and the corporate media, which has become an integral part of the war propaganda machine.

- Michel Chossudovsky, 22 May 2005."

Iran's religious watchdog bows to reformists - World - smh.com.au

Iran's religious watchdog bows to reformists - World - smh.com.au: "Iran's religious watchdog bows to reformists
By Robert Tait in Tehran
May 25, 2005

Iran's powerful religious watchdog, the Guardian Council, yesterday reversed its exclusion of two reformist candidates from presidential elections on June 17, defusing a row that had sparked calls for a boycott of the vote.

The reinstatement of the former education minister Mostafa Mo'ein and the Vice-President, Mohsen Mehralizadeh, was revealed in a letter from the head of the Guardian Council, Ahmad Jannati, to the country's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei.

Ayatollah Khamenei made a dramatic intervention on Monday in the election by ordering the council to reassess its disqualification of Mr Mo'ein and Mr Mehralizadeh.

The move followed threats of a poll boycott by reformists furious at the decision by the council, an unelected body of conservative clerics and judges, to disqualify all but six of 1014 aspiring candidates, including 89 women.

The council approved only the candidacies of the former president Hojatolesam Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, four hardline former revolutionary guard commanders and a cleric who was a close ally of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, who led Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.

But in a decree issued on state television on Monday, Ayatollah Khamenei, himself a hardliner, had questioned the wisdom of the decision. "It is appropriate that all individuals in the country be given the choice from various political tendencies," he said. "Therefore, it seems that [the] qualification of Mr Mo'ein and Mr Mehralizadeh [should] be reconsidered."

Ayatollah Khamenei's unexpected concession to reformists is almost certainly dictated by fears of a damagingly low voter turnout, leaving the clerical regime open to the charge that it lacks democratic legitimacy. It may also be calculated to reduce the electoral strength of Mr Rafsanjani, the frontrunner, whose candidacy Ayatollah Khamenei opposes. Despite calls for a boycott, many reform-minded voters were expected to vote for Mr Rafsanjani to prevent a hardliner being elected.

Ayatollah Khamenei is ideologically opposed to the candidacy of Mr Mo'ein, who has promised to release political prisoners and said he would consider suspending Iran's nuclear program. He also regards Ayatollah Rafsanjani as a potential rival.

Senior government figures have acknowledged that a high turnout is vital to reinforce the regime's democratic credentials in the face of US and European pressure for it to abandon its nuclear aspirations.

The exclusion of reformists risked deepening voter disillusionment, already widespread because of hardliners' systematic obstruction of the reform-minded program of the outgoing president, Mohammed Khatami.

Since the revolution, turnout for a presidential election has never fallen below 50 per cent. But in the current climate, analysts have forecast that fewer than half of the 48 million eligible voters could take part.

Claims that the country's leaders lack legitimacy strengthen the hand of critics in the US who have pushed for "regime change" in Iran. The US State Department spokesman, Richard Boucher, said on Monday that Iranians deserved to determine for themselves what kind of government they had and to choose their own leaders.

"As always, the United States believes the Iranian people deserve to shape the governance of their country and to choose their own leaders. The hopes and dreams of the Iranian people have gone, sadly, unfulfilled but their aspirations for a better and freer Iran remain."

One analyst said that although the exclusion of Mr Mo'ein could have reduced turnout by up to 10 per cent, the reformists would have backed away from their boycott threat.

"Without Mo'ein, the reformists would have secretly supported a Rafsanjani presidency," the analyst said. "They know a low turnout will only help the hardliners. They will discourage people from remaining passive and apathetic about a hardline, militarist presidency."

Ayatollah Rafsanjani, 70, president from 1989 to 1997, is a pragmatist who insists he has entered the race reluctantly to bridge the gulf between reformists and hardliners.

Recent opinion polls show he was a strong lead. The main threat is believed to come from Mohammad Baqher Qalibaf, 43, a hardline former national police chief and air force commander.

Among the candidates is Mehdi Karroubi, an elderly cleric who has vowed to pay every Iranian $A72 a week if elected.

The Guardian, Bloomberg"

Aljazeera.Net - Two hardliners join Iran poll race

Aljazeera.Net - Two hardliners join Iran poll race: "Two hardliners join Iran poll race

Friday 13 May 2005, 16:14 Makka Time, 13:14 GMT
Qalibaf, a former police chief, is seen as a favourite

Two more prominent Iranian hardliners signed up to contest the 17 June presidential election, leaving the right-wing camp divided in its battle to prevent a comeback by more moderate conservative cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Former national police chief Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf told reporters he had the best chance of beating Rafsanjani - widely seen as the favorite to succeed incumbent reformist President Mohammad Khatami.

Also turning up at the Interior Ministry to register as a candidate was Tehran's mayor Mahmood Ahmadinejad, bringing to three the number of prominent hardliners bidding for the country's second-highest post.

'Immoral campaigning'

Dressed in a casual white suit - a change from his more familiar uniform or dark three-piece - Qalibaf complained that the hardline camp had failed to respect an understanding that opinion polls would decide the nomination of a single candidate.

Some observers say Qalibaf is a favourite of Khamenei

And despite his background as a top commander in the powerful Revolutionary Guards, Qalibaf dismissed suggestions that he would install a military-style government as "immoral campaigning".

"I will observe ethics in the campaign," a jovial-looking Qalibaf told reporters as he released a three-page campaign declaration entitled An Iranian deserves a good life.

His statement said Iranians did not have an adequate quality of life, which to him included the "social and spiritual dimensions".

Khamenei favourite

Qalibaf, 44, quit as police chief last month in order to contest in the elections, and some analysts have painted him as a favorite of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

But Qalibaf said he was "not a part of any political party or group".

Rafsanjani has pledged to save the country from extremists

Although Ahmadinejad also registered on Friday, many believe he may later be forced to withdraw in favour of Qalibaf. The same is expected of Mohsen Rezai, a former head of the Revolutionary Guards, who registered his candidacy on Wednesday.

Another top conservative candidate, former state television boss and Khamenei adviser Ali Larajani, has also yet to register. He had been selected as the conservative's sole contender, but has been placed far behind Qalibaf.

Rafsanjani pledge

Former foreign minister and another Khamenei adviser Ali Akbar Velayati, has not registered yet amid expectations he will pull out in favour of Rafsanjani.

Moin risks being disqualified by the Guardians Council

Rafsanjani, a pragmatic conservative who served as Iran's president from 1989 to 1997, has been placed by a string of informal opinion polls as a clear frontrunner.

Seen as a figure who favours closer ties with the West and economic liberalization, the 70-year-old cleric and regime veteran opened his campaign by pledging to save the country from "extremists".

The reformist camp, increasingly isolated after being ousted from parliament last year in polls that saw most of their candidates disqualified by hardliners, are lacking a strong candidate.

Screening process

Their main candidate is Mustafa Moin, a former higher education minister.

After registering, would-be candidates will go through a tough screening process overseen by the Guardians Council - an unelected hardline-controlled body that has the power to decide whose names can go on the ballot sheet.

Moin has in the past been at odds with the Guardians Council and risks being disqualified.

The registration period closes late on Saturday, after which the vetting process commences."

Aljazeera.Net - Iran makes U-turn over reformists

Aljazeera.Net - Iran makes U-turn over reformists: "Iran makes U-turn over reformists

Tuesday 24 May 2005, 13:17 Makka Time, 10:17 GMT
Moin was the candidate chosen by the main reformist party

Iran's political watchdog, the Guardians Council, has agreed to allow reformists Mostafa Moin and Mohsen Mehr-Alizadeh to stand in next month's presidential election.

Tuesday's U-turn was made in response to a demand from supreme leader Ayat Allah Ali Khamenei amid fears that the disqualification of reformers would prompt voters to boycott the poll and present the 26-year-old Islamic government with a crisis of legitimacy, state media reported.

The head of the Guardians Council, Ayat Allah Ahmad Janati, was quoted as writing to Khamenei that "as you consider it desirable that all people in the country from different interests have the opportunity to take part ... the competence of Mr Moin and Mr Mehr-Alizadeh is recognised".

Moin was the candidate chosen by the main reformist party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), and seen as the only credible pro-reform figure trying to run for president.

Mehr-Alizadeh is currently a vice-president in Khatami's cabinet, and was running as an independent."

Asia Times Online : Theocracy meets democracy in Iran

Asia Times Online :: Middle East News, Iraq, Iran current affairs: "THE ROVING EYE
Theocracy meets democracy in Iran
By Pepe Escobar

The Iranian reformist newspaper Mardomsalari nailed it: "These June 17 [presidential] elections are the most important since the beginning of the Islamic republic in 1979. Iranians have the choice of handing victory to former president Ali Akbar Heshemi Rafsanjani, vote for a reformist candidate to pursue the reforms, or allow conservative radicals to take power in all branches of government."

The Iranian election campaign started this week amid major turmoil after the unelected, conservative Guardians Council rejected all but six out of more than 1,000 presidential hopefuls.

The Guardians Council, composed of six ayatollahs and six lawyers, was conceived by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini - leader of the Islamic revolution - to supposedly represent the best interests of Iranian public opinion and the constitution. This past weekend the council vetoed all but one reformist candidate, as well as 89 women candidates. The official reason: "Non-respect of Islamic values." The six candidates approved included the favorite, Rafsanjani, a centrist; mild reformer Mehdi Karrubi, a former parliamentary spokesman; and four conservatives (a former chief of police, a former commander of the Guardians of the Revolution, the mayor of Tehran and a former head of the national radio and TV network).

The reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front, whose main candidate was vetoed, immediately threatened to boycott the election. The Guardians Council did the same thing in early 2004, disqualifying more than 2,000 candidates from legislative elections. A widespread election boycott led to conservative control of the majlis (parliament). Voting participation in the February 2004 elections was only 50.57% - the lowest in the country's history.

This week, though, came a bomb - or the system trying to save itself. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sent a decree to Guardians Council leader Ayatollah Ahmad Janati asking him to review the decision to disqualify popular reformist Mostafa Moin, a former higher education minister, and Vice President Mohsen Mehralizadeh. Moin is in the center of the furor. He is the leading candidate of the reformists, running for the Islamic Iran Participation Front, the largest pro-reform political party, led by Mohammad Reza Khatami, the younger brother of outgoing President Mohammad Khatami, who is barred from serving a third term. The Supreme Leader and the conservative ayatollahs around him sensed they might be defeated by a powerful weapon: absenteeism. Americans may consider a president chosen by roughly half the electorate as a legitimate one. Not the Iranians.

Polarization
The importance of these elections cannot be overstated. They mix with the outcome of the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the so-called EU-3, the foreign ministers of European Union members France, Britain and Germany; Washington's impatience to drag Iran's regime to the United Nations Security Council so it can be slapped with sanctions; and insistent rumors of an Israeli air strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. Rafsanjani is in favor of an "accommodation" with the US, but he is no favorite with Washington's hawks.

Among the candidates, accepted or rejected, Moin is the only one in favor of continued suspension of uranium enrichment by Iran, so a political/economic agreement can be reached with the EU-3. Iran's top negotiator, Hassan Rowhani, and the EU-3 ministers are back at the negotiating table for emergency talks this Tuesday in Brussels and this Wednesday in Geneva. If the talks fail, Tehran has warned it will restart uranium reprocessing - which it is entitled to anyway in terms of its nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty rights.

Although Rafsanjani departs with an early lead, polls in Tehran suggest none of the candidates will get more than 50% of the vote, and thus preclude a run-off between the top two. Departing president Khatami, the man who coined the "dialogue among civilizations", tried everything in his two consecutive four-year terms to reform the system. But he was ultimately defeated: his two crucial bills to increase presidential powers were repelled by the conservatives.

Safa Haeri of the Paris-based Iranian Press Service (and contributor to Asia Times Online) confirms that "except for personal interference by Khamenei in favor of a certain candidate, namely Ali Larijani, now the leader's personal representative at the Supreme Council for National Security, Rafsanjani, the chairman of the influential and powerful Expediency Council, is likely to reoccupy the seat he held from 1989 to 1997, if not in the first round, but certainly in the second tour of balloting". As chairman of the Expediency Council, Rafsanjani is already the de facto No 2 in Iran. The council was established by Khomeini in 1988 to mediate between parliament and the Guardians Council. Above it there's only Supreme Leader Khamenei.

As far as the elections are concerned, polarization is the name of the game. The online opposition paper IranEmrooz, edited by Iranian exiles in Germany, denounces "Islamists trying to legitimate their presence by ... ritual elections that are everything but democratic". Another newspaper close to the reformists says that "in a democratic system, it makes no sense that the Guardians Council may disqualify this or that candidate". On the other side of the fence, government spokesman Abdullah Ramezanzadeh recently said that "thanks to the Imam [Khomeini], Iran could progress economically and become independent from foreign powers". Jomhouri Islami, a newspaper close to the clerics, insists that to vote "is a religious obligation". Independent newspaper Shargh gets closer to the mark than anyone: "The government must not prepare itself for a sweeping conservative victory, but most of all for massive abstention." It's fair to argue that the ayatollahs gave post-Shah Iran two major assets - education for all and elections. All Iranians have been to school, so they are able to judge things for themselves, much more than under the Shah. As for elections, the ayatollahs had to notice that they were not able to have a democracy by remote control. Khatami's first victory in 1997 led to a double-headed structure of power: theocracy meets democracy.

Khatami's reforms may have ultimately failed - critics say the system is anti-democratic and impervious to any improvement - but Iranians at the same time discovered the power of absenteeism. Today, the majority of the population - young, less than 25 years old, and having lived all their lives under the ayatollahs - wants total separation of Shi'ite religion and the state. Moreover, in this last quarter of a century, Iran has lost half of its gross national product, due not only to the endless Iran-Iraq war that raged for nearly a decade in the 1980s, but to the predominance of a bureaucracy preventing the flourishing of foreign trade.

Iranian society is arguably the most dynamic, the most advanced and the most critical in the Muslim world - light years ahead of the youth in the Arab world or in Pakistan, for instance. There is a cultural revolution going on in Iran - against theocracy. The die is cast, and if reformers like Moin are not in the ballot, these elections could yet represent the triumph of civil disobedience."

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Khamenei orders election ban rethink

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Khamenei orders election ban rethink: "Khamenei orders election ban rethink

Robert Tait in Tehran
Tuesday May 24, 2005
The Guardian
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, last night made a dramatic intervention in next month's presidential election by ordering a powerful religious watchdog to re-assess its decision to bar more than 1,000 candidates, including leading reformers.
The move followed threats of a boycott of the June 17 poll by reformists furious at the decision by the council of guardians, an unelected body of conservative clerics and judges, to disqualify all but six of 1,014 aspiring candidates.

In a blow to campaigners pushing for an easing of Iran's strict Islamic system, the council had ruled out Mostafa Mo'ein, a former higher education minister, and Mohsen Mehralizadeh, plus other leftwingers and 89 women candidates.
It approved only the candidacies of former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, four hardline former revolutionary guard commanders and a cleric who was a close ally of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, who led Iran's Islamic revolution.

But in a decree issued through state television, Mr Khamenei - himself a hardliner - questioned the appropriateness of the decision.

"It's appropriate that all individuals in the country be given the choice from various political tendencies," he said. "Therefore, it seems that [the] qualification of Mr Mo'ein and Mr Mehralizadeh [should] be reconsidered."

Mr Khamenei's unexpected concession to reformists is almost certainly dictated by fears of a damagingly low voter turnout, leaving the clerical regime open to the charge that it lacks democratic legitimacy.

It may also be calculated to reduce the electoral strength of Mr Rafsanjani, the frontrunner, whose candidacy Mr Khamenei opposes. Despite calls for a boycott, many reform-minded voters were expected to vote for Mr Rafsanjani to prevent a hardliner being elected. Mr Khamenei is ideologically opposed to the candidacy of Mr Mo'ein, who has promised to release political prisoners and said he would consider suspending Iran's nuclear programme. He also regards Mr Rafsanjani as a potential rival.

Senior government figures have acknowledged that a high turnout is vital to reinforce the regime's democratic credentials in the face of US and European pressure for it to abandon its nuclear aspirations.

The wholesale exclusion of reformists risked deepening voter disillusionment, already widespread because of hardliners' systematic obstruction of the reform-minded programme of the outgoing president, Mohammed Khatami.

Since the revolution, turnout for a presidential election has never fallen below 50%. But in the current climate, analysts have forecast that fewer than half of Iran's 48 million eligible voters could take part.

Claims that Iran's leaders lacks legitimacy strengthen the hand of critics in the US who have pushed for "regime change" in Iran.

One analyst said last night that although the exclusion of Mr Mo'ein could have reduced turnout by up to 10%, the reformists would have backed away from their boycott threat.

"Without Mo'ein, the reformists would have secretly supported a Rafsanjani presidency," the analyst said. "They know a low turnout will only help the hardliners. They will discourage people from remaining passive and apathetic about a hardline, militarist presidency."

Mr Rafsanjani, 70, president from 1989 to 1997, is a pragmatist who insists he has entered the race reluctantly to bridge the gulf between reformists and hardliners.

Opinion polls show him with a strong lead. The main threat is believed to come from Mohammad Baqher Qalibaf, 43, a hardline former national police chief and air force commander. Favoured by Mr Khamenei, he is running a slick campaign using western-style polling methods.

The other hardline candidates are Mohsen Rezai, a former head of the revolutionary guards, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the mayor of Tehran, and Ali Larijani, former head of Iran's broadcasting authority.

The sixth candidate is Mehdi Karroubi, an elderly cleric who has vowed to pay every Iranian £30 a week if elected."

Karrubi objects to disqualifications of presidential candidates

Description of Selected News: "Karrubi objects to disqualifications of presidential candidates

Tehran Times Political Desk
TEHRAN -- Presidential hopeful Mahdi Karrubi issued a statement on Monday objecting to the disqualification of some presidential candidates and particularly the reformist candidates.

The former Majlis speaker’s statement read, “It was expected that in the current situation in our country, in order to safeguard the national interests of the Iranian nation and also to encourage people to massively turnout for the elections, which would definitely strengthen the government’s legitimacy, the Guardian Council would avoid illegal disqualifications, and refrain from repeating the experiences of the fourth and seventh Majlis (elections), but it seems that this expectation is doomed to failure. “However, it is hoped that in the remaining period of time, the people’s turnout would be given priority and the candidates would be given the opportunity to actively run for president.”

I disapprove of any move that negatively affects participation: Qalibaf

Presidential candidate Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf announced on Monday that encouraging public participation in the poll has been one of his main goals for running in the election.

Qalibaf told the Fars news agency that he would disapprove of any measure which would negatively affect a massive turnout in the June 17 presidential election.

Moin says his rejection is unfair, unreasonable

A rejected nominee of the 9th presidential election, former science minister Mostafa Moin, said on Monday he would say no word to the Guardian Council but talk only to the nation, according to IRNA.

"This move is unfair, unreasonable, and illegal," he said.

Guardian Council announced Sunday the names of six candidates, who have been allowed to stand as president in the June 17 election, rejecting the qualification of more than 1,000 who had registered to run in the race.

Experts would determine policies in Larijani cabinet: campaign spokesman

MP Mohammad Hossein Farhangi, the spokesman of Ali Larijani’s election headquarters, said here on Monday that in Larijani’s “cabinet of hope”, professional groups would determine the policies.

Farhangi, who represents Tabriz in the Majlis, added that a number of experts and professors have begun studies on both domestic and foreign policy.

Rezaii says economy should be popularized

Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaii said here on Monday that the next government should popularize the economy and provide the people with access to equal economic opportunities.

He explained that popularizing the economy means making the people the beneficiaries in the economic interests of the country.

Underlining the necessity of preventing the United States from taking advantage of the people’s frustration, Rezaii noted that the next government should focus all its energy on the people’s livelihood and the economy, and satisfy the people through supporting smaller industries.

VP protests GC decision barring him from presidential election

Iranian Vice President Mohsen Mehralizadeh here on Monday protested against the Guardian Council’s decision to reject his qualifications to be a candidate in Iran’s ninth presidential election.

Mehralizadeh immediately called for the restoration of his legal right.

On Sunday, the GC approved six candidates for the June 17 election and rejected over 1000 others who had registered to be candidates.

Mehralizadeh and Moin, whose qualifications were also rejected, are longtime allies of President Mohammad Khatami.

Mehralizadeh called his disqualification illegal, saying the people will make the correct judgment.

Addressing the people, he said, "The Guardian Council has rejected my qualifications to run in the ninth presidential election. "Since I have found the Guardian Council’s view illegal and in sharp contradiction to the absolute principles of the Constitution, I have written a letter of protest to the GC calling on them to restore my legal right."
"