Hossein Marashi, spokesman for the Agents of Construction Party, said today: “there is no ground for cooperation between Ali Larijani and the Reformists”. Marashi added that even if the Principalist Unity Council does not include Larijani among their list of candidates, Larijani and the Reformists are unlikely to work together since they do not have a history of cooperating, unlike Rouhani and the Reformists.
Saeed Mohammad gave his first press conference of the campaign today, covering a wide range of issues including the JCPOA, economic mismanagement and the sanctions. Mohammad stated that while he had been invited by the Unity Council to run as one of their candidates, he was in essence an independent. However, if another candidate, such as Ebrahim Raisi, proves more popular than him, he will stand aside. He also lashed out at those who had spread rumours about him, and challenged anyone who had any accusation to publish evidence with their claims.
Manouchehr Mottaki of the Unity Council, a major organisation of the Principalist movement, has said his organisation will definitely not select Ali Larijani as a candidate for this election. Mottaki was responding to rumours, and said with all respect to Larijani, “we in the Unity Council have reached the conclusion that [Ebrahim] Raisi is the right candidate, and we hope that he will make an announcement soon”.
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.
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.
The Secretary General of the Zainab Society, Azam Haji Abbasi, stated that the role of women in Presidential elections should not be limited to voting. She criticised the Principalist Unity Council’s decision to not nominate a woman among their candidates, stating that it was to their detriment. Abbasi added that the Guardian Council must clearly define the constitutional term “rajol-e siasi”, which has been used to exclude women candidates, and that the Guardian Council declare unambiguously whether a woman can be President or not.
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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