Iran Hopes

A Weblog on Iranian Affairs (Formerly Iran Votes 2005)

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Larijani: one step closer to the job

Shargh reports that the Council for Co-ordinating revolutionaries (CCR) (Shoraye Hamahangiye Niroo Haye Enghelab) has finally reached an agreement by pronouncing Ali Larijani as its favourite candidate for presidency. This does not come as surprise, however. During the past few months, the CCR had signaled on a number of occasions that it was increasingly leaning towards Larijani as its best choice for the election. But the CCR was simultaneously trying to find a way in which all its members would be in agreement with the decision that Larijani should be the sole candidate of the conservatives' camp. The hope to reach such a consensus faded soon with Velayati, Rezaee, and later Ghalibaf and Ahmadi Nejad keeping distance from the CCR by pronouncing themselves as independent contenders.

Who is Larijani? He was born in 1957 in Najaf, Iraq. He was born to a very religious family: his father was the grand Ayatollah Hashem Amoli. He is son-in-law of Ayatollah Motahari, one of the greatest religious theorists of Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979. Larijani holds degrees in computer sciences as well as in philosophy.

Larijani is a member of Sepah (Iran's revolutionary guards). He has served in Sepah as advisor, deputy, and acting commander during the Iran-Iraq war. In 1992, he was appointed by Ayatollah Ali Khamnei, Iran's supreme leader, as the head of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting organisation (IRIB). He remained in office until 2004. Now he serves as a member of the expediency Council - again appointed by the leader.

Larijani is a soldier, and like any other soldier, he follows orders. His commander in chief is Ayatollah Khamnei and on a number of occasions Larijani has made it quite explicit how sincere he is in following orders of his commander: one occasion that Iranians have hardly forgotten was when he authorised the broadcast of a footage taken from a conference in Berlin in 2000. There, a number of Iranian political activists were speaking at a conference held by the German Heinrich Boll Foundation. During the speeches, the crowd started to chant anti Islamic regime slogans. A woman got totally naked - obviously in protest to the regime. Airing this footage resulted in a number of arrests. Akbar Ganji, a most prominent political activist who was among speakers in Berlin, was arrested immediately upon his return to Iran. He is still serving his prison and yesterday the Rapporteures Sans Frontiers expressed their concerns over his health condition. Larijani still has "a job to do". He is running for the office, because he has an order to do so. If anyone from among Rezaee, Ghalibaf, and even Ahmadi Nejad, wins the election, given their military background, an era of absolute militarism will dominate Iran. However, if Larijani is elected - a hope which many hardliners are keen to materialise - Iran will face a revival of Islamic fundamentalism. And will that, eventually, lead to the end of Islamic Iran?

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