June 14, 2021
Mottaki Pressures Candidates to Resign for Raisi
Manouchehr Mottaki, spokesman for the Unity Council, one of the main Principalist organisations, has joined the chorus of conservative voices calling for the four conservative candidates (Ghazizadeh, Jalili, Rezaei and Zakani) to stand aside for the consensus candidate, Ebrahim Raisi. Mottaki reminded the candidates of the 2013 election, where the large number of conservative candidates on election day split the conservative vote, resulting in the victory of Moderate candidate Hassan Rouhani. Mottaki did not name any names, but only encourage “the five candidates of the Revolutionary Front” to come together and choose a “consensus”.
June 14, 2021
Ghazizadeh Indicates Willingness to Resign
Amir-Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi showed some willingness to resign in favour of Ebrahim Raisi, tweeting that he would definitely not cause the loss of the Revolutionary Front, meaning the conservative movement in Iran. Ghazizadeh’s comments come one day after he declared that he would be there on election day as a candidate.
June 13, 2021
Shariatmadari: Failure to Stand Aside for Raisi is a Sin
Hossein Shariatmadari, editor of Kayhan newspaper which is close to the Supreme Leader, today wrote that refusal of four candidates endorsed by the Revolutionary Front in favour of the fifth candidate is a mistake, the consequences of which will be an unforgivable sin. Shariatmadari was referring to the agreement that Amir-Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi, Saeed Jalili, Mohsen Rezaei and Ali-Reza Zakani would have had to have made to be endorsed by the Principalist organisations, that they would stand aside for Ebrahim Raisi before election day so as not to split the conservative vote.
June 6, 2021
Ghazizadeh Capitalises on Debate Performance
Amir-Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi appeared on television today to reiterate his plans for government after his well-received performance in the electoral debate the night before. Ghazizadeh covered economic, social and political problems, stating that he believed in a rule of law and felt close to the people of Iran. On the issue of factionalism, he stated that “Iran’s main problem is not about being Principalist or Reformist, the problem is in the approach [to government]; there must be a transformation in the government”.
May 26, 2021
Hemmati: I am a Voice for those Protesting
Abdol-Nasser Hemmati said that he aimed to be “the voice of the majority of people protesting against the current situation”, adding that he had an achievable plan to fix the economic situation. Hemmati described himself as a “third voice”, neither Reformist nor Principalist. Hemmati’s comments tread a fine line in Iran, which has experienced two large waves of protest which were violently suppressed over the past four years.
May 26, 2021
Motahari Criticises Disqualifications
On Twitter, Ali Motahari criticised the Guardian Council for its widespread disqualification of presidential candidates, saying that “system of the Republic is in danger”. Motahari, who was himself disqualified, added that the Principalists should be more vocal, since while the disqualifications favour them, at some point in the future the system will turn on them. Motahari’s account has since been suspended by Twitter.
May 25, 2021
Raisi’s Intercession on Disqualifications
Abdullah Ganji, the editor of the Principalist Javan newspaper, wrote that Ebrahim Raisi is speaking to both the Guardian Council and to other “elders” of the government in the endeavour to get them to reconsider the disqualification of several candidates, including Ali Larijani. Later in the day, Raisi told reporters that he was hoping for a reconsideration of the list, so that it is more “competitive and participatory”.
May 21, 2021
Fereydoun Abbasi on Raisi and Ahmadinejad
Conservative technocrat candidate, Fereydoun Abbasi, a nuclear scientist who was the target of an assassination attempt in 2010, made a number of telling remarks about the motivations of rival candidates in this election. Abbasi rhetorically asked why certain senior Principalists were always moving between senior roles rather than staying in one position and doing a better job in that one role. Abbasi was making reference to Raisi’s move from the head of the Imam Reza Foundation to the Chief Justice role to becoming a presidential candidate, all within the past five years. Abbasi added that Ahmadinejad has all the necessary qualifications and experience, so he wouldn’t see a problem if the Guardian Council approved his candidacy.
May 21, 2021
Afshar: Don’t Underestimate the Reformists
Ali-Reza Afshar, the most high-profile regular army (non-IRGC) candidate, said in an interview with IRNA that the conservative Principalist faction should not underestimate the Reformists in this election. Afshar said “the Reformists are masters of duality, they direct the people to issues that have no effect on their livelihood or economic situation”. Afshar disputed the idea that larger turnouts favour the Reformists, adding that the election season should not descend into insults: “while striving for victory, we must be aware of immorality and espionage; we should speak of facts and not try to shape public opinion through deceit.
May 20, 2021
Larijani: I am neither Reformist nor Principalist
Ali Larijani, in his first Clubhouse appearance, said that he considered himself neither a Principalist nor a Reformist, but rather is close to the intellectual traditions of the early years of the Revolution, particularly Ayatollah Motahari and Ayatollah Beheshti. The Clubhouse session was attended by more than 3000 people, and well known journalists from the New York Times and the BBC were permitted to ask questions.