Iran Hopes

A Weblog on Iranian Affairs (Formerly Iran Votes 2005)

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Will the GC let Moein run for elections?

The Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF) is not yet fully certain as to whether Mostafa Moein can get through the Guardian Council filter. The head of Moein's campaign, Ali Shakouri Rad is reported as saying that "there is no reason for Moein to be disqualified by the GC". However, Moein's supporters are well aware of the fact that the GC never needs a 'reason' to disqualify a potential candidate. We have not forgotten that the GC did not offer any reason when it disqualified hundreds of 'moderates', many of whom had affiliations with the IIPF, in the last parliamentary elections. This concern is implicit in what Shakouri Rad said yesterday: "before the Leader announcing the maximum participation strategy [...], there was a suspicion [i.e. we were concerned] as to whether the GC would act in the same way as it had during the seventh parliamentary elections, but now after such a strategy has been brought up, disqualification of major candidates will be seen as a damage to that strategy". In other words, we are still concerned but at least this time we have the words of the Leader to rely on in arguing against probable disqualifications.
In fact, the message Moeins supporters want to send to the GC is that if you disqualify our candidate you would be acting against what the leader is demanding. But there are two points here: first, in the previous (Majlis) elections, President Khatami and Mr. Karoubi (then Majlis speaker) held meetings with the GC members (Ayatollah Jannati in particular) to convince 'him' that the leader was of the view that the GC should be more generous to the 'reformists' candidates. They did not succeed, as we now know. Second, it seems that Shakouri did not understand, or perhaps is deliberately misreading, the leader. By 'maximum participation' the leader doesn't mean a 'democratic' election where every group and party would be able to nominate a candidate. He is simply hoping that as many people will turn out to vote as they did in past two presidential elections, so that the regime can maintain its 'democratic face'. Thus, the IIPF has better part with its illusions. The GC will not treat their candidates any differently this time.

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