Mehr-Alizadeh Heckled at Polling Station

Mohsen Mehr-Alizadeh, the Reformist candidate who resigned on Wednesday, arrived at the Jamaran Hosseiniyeh (where Ayatollah Khomeini once lived and taught) in the northern part of Tehran to vote at 11:30am. His visit was marred by heckling at the polling station, with several people reportedly shouting “marg bar zed-e velayat-e faqih [death to the opponents of the Guardianship of Jurists]” at the candidate. The Guardianship of the Jurists is the official system of government in Iran where clerics have juridical and political oversight over government, and the chant is popular among devoted supporters of the Supreme Leader. The chant indicates the hostility of hard-line conservatives who see Reformists as subversive.

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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.

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Pezeshkian Criticises “Extremists” on JCPOA

Candidate Masoud Pezeshkian criticised “extremists” for arguing for a delay in negotiations on the JCPOA until after the election, saying that these Iranian extremists were the same as Israeli and American opponents to the nuclear deal. Pezeshkian added that these extremists believe if the new deal is signed before the election then the Reformists will win the Presidency, and therefore their approach to the nuclear negotiations is through self-interest, not the national interest.

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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.

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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.

Read more on Mashregh News

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Larijani More Suitable for Principalists than Reformists

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.

Watch the Interview on Islamic Republic News Agency

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Reformists are Supporting Zarif in Place of their Own Candidates

Reports are circulating that the Reformist movement is placing their hope in the candidacy of Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif, as they do not believe any of their own candidates will be approved to run by the Guardian Council. Zarif has stated on several occasions that he will not participate in this election, although there is much speculation that he will change his mind.

Read more on Khabarban News

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