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April 30, 2021

Aref Criticises Disqualification of Reformists

Reformist candidate Mohammad-Reza Aref took to Instagram yesterday to criticise the widespread disqualification of Reformist candidates in local council elections, due to take place concurrently with the Presidential election. In comments that can easily be interpreted as relevant to the Presidential election, Aref said that disqualifying candidates simply because they do not adhere to a specific faction is “an oppression of citizens, expresses disregard for the citizenship rights of candidates and, in a word, is an obstacle.

April 30, 2021

Fallout from Zarif Files Continues

In a continuation of the leaked Zarif files saga, a senior advisor to President Rouhani and the head of the Centre for Presidential Strategic Studies, Hesamuddin Ashna, has resigned after a number of media outlets identified him as the source of the leak. Ashna has denied he was responsible, and has since made cryptic comments referring to the 1972 comedy film Hakim Bashi, and vaguely adding that the authorities were following a line of inquiry other than him. A number of media outlets have speculated that the authorities were investigating 15-20 people regarding the theft and leaking of the audio.

Read more on BBC Persian

April 30, 2021

Consensus is for Raisi in the Unity Council

Manouchehr Mottaki, who heads the Unity Council, a powerful Principalist umbrella group, said that there was a consensus in the organisation in supporting Ebrahim Raisi. Mottaki acknowledged that Raisi has not yet nominated, and may not, in which case the Unity Council will make a decision from the other pool of candidates. However, Mottaki added that “if we apply the model of 2013, our defeat is certain”, while the model of 2017 worked better. This is most likely a reference to the large field of Principalist candidates in the 2013 election splitting the conservative vote. 

Read more on IRIB

April 29, 2021

Syria Invites Iran to Monitor Elections

The parliament of Syria has invited the parliament of Iran to provide monitors for their upcoming President election on May 26. In addition to Iran, Syria has invited twelve other “friendly and brotherly countries” for the same purpose, including Russia, China, Belarus, Cuba and Venezuela. Bashar Al-Assad is expected to win. 

Read more on Tasnim

April 29, 2021

Jahangiri: Rejecting Candidates for Political Reasons Decreases Voter Turnout

First Vice President and rumoured candidate Eshaq Jahangiri told a meeting of governors and village leaders that they should not reject nominations from candidates for political reasons, as it “reduces the people’s choices and their motivation [to participate] in the elections”. Although speaking in the context of the local council elections, Jahangiri’s comments could also be interpreted as alluding to the Presidential election, which will take place on the same day. Jahangiri also spruiked his administration’s investment in rural economic programs, and the importance of village life to Iran, as one third of Iranians live in villages. 

Read more on ILNA

April 29, 2021

Pezeshkian: “I Will Withdraw if Public Opinion Demands It”

Masoud Pezeshkian told a gathering of university students from the Student Basij Organisation that he would withdraw from the election if public opinion demands it, or at the request of the Supreme Leader, but he would not withdraw for factional reasons. Pezeshkian, a Reformist who is popular with some conservative elements of Iranian society (particularly in Iranian Azerbaijan), told the students that he opposes “the view that sees the people as either good or bad. Anyone who works for the growth of this country is a basiji”, adding that his motto was that “knowledge, collectivity and faith are a triangle that moves mountains”. 

Read more at Donya-e-Eqtesad

April 29, 2021

Raisi is Likely to Nominate

Manouchehr Mottaki of the Unity Council, a large Principalist organisation, said in an interview that Ebrahim Raisi is showing more signs that he will nominate than he did a month ago. Raisi, the Chief Justice of Iran, is considered the Principalist’s preferred candidate, although the clerical faction have also sought Raisi as their candidate. Raisi to date has rejected claims that he will run. 

Read the interview on ISNA

April 28, 2021

Heshmatian Announces Candidacy

Moderate candidate Qodrat-Ali Heshmatian announced that he was running for President. Heshmatian promised to end corruption if election, and broaden power sharing in the country. Heshmatian represented the multiethnic constituency of Sonqor in the Parliament in the 1990s. 

Read more on IRNA

April 28, 2021

Abbasi Announces Candidacy

Conservative parliamentarian and nuclear scientist Fereydoun Abbasi today announced that he will nominate for President, with the slogan of “Elite Government”. Although associated with the Principalist faction, Abbasi announced he was running as an independent. Abbasi served as the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, and narrowly escaped assassination in 2010. 

Read more at IRNA

April 28, 2021

Motahari: If I am Not Qualified, I Don’t Know Who Is

Controversial candidate Ali Motahari told Fararu today that he expects his candidacy to be approved by the Guardian Council, saying “If I am not a rajol-e siasi [political person], I don’t know who is”. Motahari’s comments were in response to a question regarding his previous disqualification for running for parliament, and referenced the constitutional term believed to have been used in the past to exclude women. In the same interview, Motahari said that he expected the nuclear issue to be resolved soon, after which the situation in Iran should improve. 

Read the interview at Fararu