Deputy chairman of the Principalist Coalition Council, Mehdi Chamran, today denied the report in the Saazandegi newspaper that the Speaker of the Parliament, Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, sent a list of three conditions for him running for president to the major Principalist organisations. In particular, Chamran denied that Qalibaf had ever asked for his organisation to be dismissive of the corruption charges made against Isa Sharifi, who served as deputy mayor of Tehran under Qalibaf.
Saazandegi Daily today reported that the Speaker of the Parliament, Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, has sent a message to the main Principalist organisations setting out three conditions for him to run for President: Ebrahim Raisi will not run; an official announcement must be made stating that Qalibaf is in no way connected to the corruption case of Isa Sharifi; Principalists will also support Qalibaf’s candidacy in the next Presidium elections for the Parliament.
Controversial candidate Saeed Mohammad said on Sunday that he will stand aside and support senior Principalist Ebrahim Raisi if he chooses to run. In a sign that Mohammad is trying to play down his maverick image and present himself as a team player, he said that he had been in conversations with one of the two main Principalist organisations on the issue, the Unity Council, and was waiting to hear from the other group, the Coalition Council. Regardless, he said that he was committed to a unified platform that would not split the conservative vote. Raisi is the preferred candidate of the Principalists but has resisted nominating himself so far.
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Conservative candidate Ezzatollah Zarghami announced his campaign would be “bread, housing and freedom”. Zarghami added that he was not a “cover candidate” for anyone else, and he would be campaigning in his own right. He also expressed his interest in the Argentine-Cuban Revolutionary, Che Guevara.
Manouchehr Mottaki, the former foreign minister and current spokesperson for the Unity Council of Principalists, stated that Ebrahim Raisi was still the preferred candidate for the Principalist faction. Mottaki added that his organisation, the Unity Council, was also in talks with several other declared candidates in order to judge their ideological suitability. Raisi is yet to announce his candidacy and has previously stated that he would not run.
Hossein Marashi, the head of the Reformist Executives of Construction Party, told IRNA that Ali Larijani would not be a suitable candidate for the Reformists as “we do not have a right wing”. Marashi was speaking in the context of speculation that the Reformists would back a popular non-Reformist candidate like Larijani or Mohammad-Javad Zarif. Marashi added that the Reformists will wait until the Guardian Council announces the approved candidates before backing a candidate.
Mohsen Kouhkan, a prominent Principalist parliamentarian, likened the electoral victories of Rouhani, Ahmadinejad and Khatami to an unwanted pregnancy, using the analogy to mean that all three Presidents approach the elections only to win and had no plans for how to run their administrations.
Prominent IRGC officer and economic liberal politician Mohsen Rafiqdoust stated that Ahmadinejad will not be allowed to run in this year’s election as he is a “political outcaste”. Rafiqdoust also expressed hope that Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf will not nominate as he is doing a good job as Parliamentary Speaker.