May 16, 2021
Qalibaf: Candidates Should Not Destroy Each Other
Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, the speaker of the Majles and a high-profile Principalist, said during a public meeting about Israel’s attacks on the Palestinians, that candidates in this election should be “careful in observing religious and moral standards, and refrain from destroying each other or making unfair claims against rivals”. Qalibaf added that this election was “an opportunity to build a strong Iran” which some have interpreted as being an endorsement of Ebrahim Raisi, whose campaign slogan is “a people’s government for a strong Iran”. Qalibaf was expected to nominate for the Presidency this year, but did not, as it is rumoured he told his faction he would not run if Ebrahim Raisi nominated.
May 1, 2021
Qalibaf Announces Candidacy…Almost
A post on Instagram by Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, the Speaker of the Parliament, has led to speculation that he has implicitly declared his candidacy. In the post, Qalibaf promotes a visit he made to the opening of a wrestling centre, and spoke of values of courage and heroicness. At the end of the post he invokes the help of Ali, the First Imam of Shi’ism, both in his closing comment and hashtags. It is this invocation which commentators are interpreting as indicating he will run for president.
April 20, 2021
Coalition Council: Qalibaf Did Not Send Us Three Conditions
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.
April 19, 2021
Qalibaf lists Three Conditions for Running for President
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.
April 14, 2021
Zibakalam: Who will Ultimately be the Principalist Candidate
Esteemed political scientist, Prof Sadegh Zibakalam of the University of Tehran, outlined his analysis on the four main Principalist candidates: Ebrahim Raisi, Mohsen Rezaei, Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf and Saeed Jalili. Zibakalam argued that Raisi would be a clear favourite as he is the candidate most likely to win at this stage, however it is not clear if he will accept an invitation from the two prominent Princpalist organisations, the Coalition Council and the Unity Council, to run. In Zibakalam’s view, the Principalist choice is between Raisi and Qalibaf at the moment, and other candidates like Saeed Mohammad, Ali Nikzad, Ezzatollah Zarghami and Amir-Hossein Ghazizadeh, stand no chance of being supported by the Principalist bloc. For Saeed Mohammad, the problem is that he is too much like a young Ahmadinejad, and the Principalist camp of 2021 is not going to make the same choice as the did in 2005. However, Zibakalam added that if Raisi does not run, Saeed Mohammad would still pose a threat to whomever the Princpalists chose, effectively splitting the conservative vote.
March 26, 2021
Rafiqdoust: Ahmadinejad is a Political Outcaste
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.