May 13, 2021
Aref Declines to Run
A statement attributed to high-profile Reformist Mohammad Reza Aref is being circulated online which says he has withdrawn his candidacy. Aref served as First Vice-President in Mohammad Khatami’s government, but is rumoured to have fallen out with his former comrade over Khatami’s preference to endorse non-Reformist candidates on the Reformist ticket. Aref himself was pressured by Khatami to step aside for Rouhani in the 2013 election, which Aref did unwillingly.
May 10, 2021
Jahangiri Accepts Reformist Endorsement
First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri held a meeting today with the Reform Front to formally accept their endorsement for his campaign. Jahangiri, along with Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif, are not Reformists and it was considered unlikely that they would accept the endorsement in the current environment. Neither Zarif nor Mohammad-Reza Aref, a veteran Reformist previously believed to have fallen out with his own faction, have accepted their endorsements, although FarsNews has reported that the Reform Front will continue to endorse these candidates through the registration and vetting process, if the two men choose to nominate.
May 9, 2021
Aref, Jahangiri and Zarif have not Responded to Reformist Endorsement
Eleven of the 14 candidates endorsed by the Reform Front last week have presented their plans for the Presidency and met with the Front. However, so far, no plan has been presented by Mohammad-Reza Aref, and the two top choices, current First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri and current Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif. The Reformist veteran Aref is known to have had a falling out with the leadership, particularly former President Mohammad Khatami. Jahangiri and Zarif are not part of the Reformist faction, and may not respond for this reason.
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 26, 2021
Reformists Nominating their Own While Seeking Larijani
A spokesman from the Reform front told Tabnak that he had spoken to Gholam-Hossein Karbaschi, Masoud Pezeshkian and Mohammad-Reza Aref in recent days, and all had expressed their intentions to run for President. The Reformist movement is planning to announce several candidates for the election. However, as part of the usual horse-trading of elections, the spokesman added that they were also seeking Ali Larijani, who is not a Reformist, as a potential sympathetic high-profile candidate.
April 17, 2021
Pezeshkian: I will not step aside in favour of Larijani
Reformist candidate Masoud Pezeshkian stated in an interview that he would not step down as candidate in favour of former speaker of the Parliament, Ali Larijani. Pezeshkian’s comments reflect a controversy among Reformists about whether Reformists should stand aside to support moderate candidates. In 2013, the Reformist candidate Mohammad-Reza Aref stood down under pressure from senior Reformist who back moderate candidate Hassan Rouhani. In this election, non-Reformists like Ali Larijani and Mohammad-Javad Zarif are being considered as the Reformist choice, which has renewed the split in the movement.
April 6, 2021
Rumour that Aref has Parted Ways with Khatami
A rumour is circulating that high profile Reformist Mohammad-Reza Aref has decided to go it alone in pursuing his presidential campaign, and that he has broken with former president Mohammad-Reza Khatami and the wider Reformist Institution. An article in Mashregh news noted that in recent weeks, Aref has been campaigning with his own team and not with the help official Reformists organisations, and speculation is that he has grown sick of being side lined in Reformist institutions. Aref was the only Reformist candidate in the 2013 Election, as was bitter at the pressure placed upon him to renounce his candidacy in favour of Hassan Rouhani.
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