The Corner

Iranian Presidential Campaign Round-Up

Presidential Elections: General

E’temad-e Melli says Ahmadinejad is leading the poll, followed by Mehdi Karrubi, Mir-Hossein Mousavi

E’temad-e Melli’s panel discusses election impartiality — or lack thereof — of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting

o Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Director General Ezzatollah Zarghami says that “The Supreme Leader, during a private meeting with me, stressed that the Voice and Vision [of the Islamic Republic] maintains its impartiality in elections.”

• Reformist theoretician Mohsen Armin barred from speaking at Isfahan University.

Presidential Elections: Ahmadinejad

• Ali-Akbar Javanfekr, media advisor to Ahmadinejad, says the people who deliver petitions to the Iranian president during his provincial trips are not given cash handouts.

• Rumors that Ahmadinejad will announce that Karaj will become its own province during a campaign rally there.

• Mohammad-Ali Ramin, German-born senior advisor to Ahmadinejad, speaking at the Student Basij at Ferdowsi University of Mashhad: ” [T]he fifth step is the one towards an Islamic world, that we invite the world to [embrace] Islam and justice and this phase serves the purpose of removing obstacles to emergence of the Imam of the Era since we believe in emergence of the just savior and we can’t remain neutral in this waiting. Therefore we must move towards it and if one does not take such a step one is not awaiting [the coming of the Imam of the Era.]…”

• Ramin criticizes all previous Islamic Republic governments and attacks Ahmadinejad’s rivals: “If the gentlemen claim Ahmadinejad is directing the country into the abyss, what does Mousavi intend to do? What is his program for annihilation of Israel? The Imam’s first word was that of annihilation of Israel. If he [Mousavi] does not want to do so, he must say so.” 

Presidential Elections: Mousavi

• As Mir-Hossein Mousavi and his wife appear at San’at Square of Shahrak-e Gharb in Tehran to speak at the Tehran branch of the Azad University, they are greeted by a young crowd singing Yar-e Dabestani-ye Man [My Schoolmate] which has become the signature of 1999 student uprisings in Iran, green bandanas and wrist bands — a reference to Mousavi being a descendant of the Prophet Mohammad. Mousavi’s wife Zahra Rahnavard expressed hope that “one day — God willing — the political prisons will be closed.”

 • Former President Mohammad Khatami criticizes the management style prevalent in Iran over the past four years and says “defeat of the candidate of the reformists is defeat for the people.” Khatami also makes it clear that he considers Mousavi to be the best candidate.

• Mohsen Rashid, former IRCG commander and former head of the Revolutionary Guard’s War Research Institute, says “many war veterans from the Sacred Defense [the Iran/Iraq war] are inclined towards Mr. Mousavi.” 

Presidential Elections: Karrubi

• Razi University students thank Mehdi Karrubi for his efforts to release imprisoned students.

o Karrubi, speaking in Ilam, attacks Ahmadinejad for looking for internal enemies and defends campaign manager Gholam-Hossein Karbaschi: “I’m a clear and straightforward person. I am the same Mehdi Karrubi following the line of the Imam and will still remain a reformist and I love this line… If we want to alienate everyone with all sorts of excuses – by calling one enemy Zionist, one day calling one the mouthpiece of the enemy, it is not right. Making up enemies is hardly an art. We must see to it that everyone who lives in this country is assembled under the same roof. For us, the principle is the country and the regime. We have come to attract, not to exclude. Mr. Karbaschi is an able executive.”

o Following declaration of support from religious innovator Abd al-Karim Soroush to the Karrubi campaign, Karrubi stresses that there are certain issues in which he disagrees with Soroush but that he welcomes academic and scholarly endorsement of his campaign, expresses grief about Soroush not being in Iran.

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