Iran Hopes

A Weblog on Iranian Affairs (Formerly Iran Votes 2005)

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Watch out Mr. Rafsanjani, too much love will kill you!!

more photos on Gooya

"See that face on the billboard? That man is me!"

Today, as the "third phase of advertising campaign" begins, the candidates will be seen on the billboards across a number of major cities in Iran. So we now must see the charismatic faces of the cadidates on the big screen too. This means that all those posters and advertisements were not enough to convey their messages. But I wonder what is left that could not be said in newspapers, TV and radio interviews etc. What does the regime trying to prove by all these gestures? That this is a free election? "Jesus he knows me, he knows I'm right"...

Lebanon first round polls results

A low turn out despite the first free election in the country.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Mr.President! Where are you?!

Last saturday, a 20 year old boy was shot dead by a police officer who is a Mullah as well (what a nice combination isn't it?). This occured in Karaj subway (20 Km west of Tehran). Obviously, the officer had seen the boy 'verbally harassing' a girl, so he goes towards him and after exchanging a few words, BANG! He kills the boy!
Well, this is not directly relevant to the elections. Or perhaps it is? Wasn't it Rafsanjani who just recently said that people should feel secure in their daily lives? Or wasn't it General Ghalibaf who said that Iranian police officers are totally and whole-heartedly at the service of the people? Hasn't this appalling incident moved Mr. Larijani, who is travelling around these days to let people know about his 'government of hope'?
No reaction. Silence. Ignorance. They are too busy elsewhere. These are our would-be presidents. These are who publish manifesta promising prosperity for the youngsters. I for one am overwhelmed by how secure and prosperous I feel as I read the news on the murder of Ali Ahmadi Pour in Karaj, an incident which so far has failed to generate the smallest reaction from the actual and potential presidents of my country.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Rafsanjani announces his manifesto

The highlights of 'Rafsanjani's manifesto' was published in Shargh newspaper today. It is said that this agenda was prepared with the collaboration of a number of academics under the supervision of Mohamad Ali Najafi a former cabinet minister during Rafsanjani's presidency.
However, the manifesto does not contain anything significantly radical. It reflects a number of facts about the society and its needs and expectations. But there is nothing to suggest that Rafsanjani has made a pledge to respond to those needs and demands that he acknowledges in his manifesto. For instance, there is a section on 'social development, security, and peace of mind [sic]'. It tells us that "it is the task of the state to create peace, satisfaction, and secuirty in the society and to furnish the citizens of a situation in which they feel prosperous and take pride living in the country." I wonder how much research those academics have conducted to reach to this 'finding'! Moreover, now that Rafsanjani has at last understood that people need to feel secure, one might ask how he would guarantee that his government will not act in any way to violate people's sense of security. The manifesto says that "Hashemi believes that a crucial strategy in social development is to avoid interfering in people's private and family life [sic] and to support promoting social and civil institutions." Again, this merely reflects a belief and does not sound like that Rafsanjani is making a promise as to guaranteeing that if he gets into power, his government will no longer put its nose in every area of peoples' lives. Furthermore, it would have been very helpful if Rafsanjani had clearly defined his understanding of the 'private' and its boundaries.

Iran's accession to WTO still not a key campaign issue!

Last week, the WTO finally voted to start membership talks with Iran after the United States lifted its long-standing opposition to Tehran's bid. It is still doubtful whether the candidates have realized the significance of the WTO decision and the difficult road ahead for Iran. Many still see accession to the WTO as a sheer economic process which, according to this perception, will entail repercussions for the country's economy only. For instance, Larijani, one of the contenders, while approving Iran's move to join the WTO, has warned against the consequences of accession for domestic industry. Therefore, he has suggested that before full accession, "it is essential that the context for accession be ready". In his view, the context for accession is ready when "the quality and types of our products" meet world standards. What seems to have escaped Mr. Larijani is that the rules of the WTO are not limited to those that govern the quality of the goods or those that regulate tariffs. In fact, by acceding to the WTO, Iran will give consent to become part of a system which is increasingly moving towards a harmonized and uniform system of global regulations and structures. Thus, Iran will no longer be free to lay down whatever trade rules it wishes. Gloabl system narrows the range of policy options available to states both in trade law and human rights. In other words, the WTO is representative of a global economic structure where the power of trade is used to advance critical non-economic objectives. Then, given its record of human rights as well as the existence of practices which threaten the rule of law, will Iran be ready to become part of this system in the near future? What polciy mechanisms will be put in place to ensure that Iran will meet the criteria to become part of the gloabl economic system? These are crucial issues that unfortunately seem to be left out of the candidates' agenda.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Let's be patient this time!

Since Moeen's disapproval (and the subsequent reapproval) debates are continuing as to whether he should stand or withdraw. I do not want to participate in that debate directly here. Rather what concerns me here is that these debates reflect a deep confusion among Iranians. They do not really know what they are expecting from a certain candidate, or a future president. Equally, there seems to be little understanding of boycotting the election and its probable consequences. For me, this is a historical/cultural/psychological problem.
Iranians are very good at doing something without having properly evaluated advantages or disadvantages of their action. They easily get passionate and excited about something or someone without knowing why. On the other hand, they tend to lose their hope and patience very easily. This especially happens when they get on the road towards a particular end, but the road takes longer than what they had expected. In this case, they simply tend to destroy everything that they had been building to get up to there. However, the problem is that when Iranians destroy what they have, they do it without having a reasonable idea of what could replace it.
Now, this confusion seems to be recurring in the lead up to the election. Many are talking about boycotting the election. Some have gone even further to the extreme by arguing that a boycot will guarantee the end of the regime! OK, let's assume that boycot is the best option. But do we not know that the hardliners, and those who need the election stamp in their ID will still turn up at the polls? So what will happen then? Will Ghalibaf or Rafsanjani continue on what has been gained during Khatami's time? The answer might be:"come on! what did we gain during Khatami?nothing!" Then, my answer will be, if one is just ignoring or underestimating achievments by people during Khatami's era (note, I am saying people's achievement, I am not saying Khatami's or his government's achievements) he or she is taking that destructive approach to which I already referred. Now let's go with those naives who think boycot will readily end Islamic regime in Iran. Wushsh! No Islamic Republic now? So what now? Will a democratic regime come to replace it? Where from? Or will it be created overnight? By whom? Will democracy brought to us by the so-called opposition groups abroad, who, after 27 years since the Revolution, still do not have a clear, understandable agenda for Iran? The oppositions that are stuck with their worn-out, old-fashioned, and corrupt parties?
For heaven sake! Some of us Iranians just get too bored too early. Some of us do not want to fight for our hopes. A Great Iran cannot be created overnight, nor can it be created by those who are concerned with everything but Iran and Iranians. Let's be patient this time, let's do not destroy everything again. Let's don't listen to those who just want to spread violence and hatred. Let's move on, however slowly, with what we have started and have sacrificed for it. Let's prove for once that Iranians know what they want and they know how they want it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Moeen's dilemma

The GC has finally approved Moeen. In its statement, the GC points out that it has done so, only "in obeying the Leader's administrative order (Hokm Hokumati, this is a technical term drawn from Islamic jurisprudence). Administrative orders issued by the Leader as a form of intervention outside the legal process have frequently been opposed by the 'reformists'. For instance, in 1999, when the Leader issued such an order demanding the sixth Majlis (dominated by the reformists) to withdraw a draft amendment to the laws on freedom of newspapers, the reformists MPs objected to the order as being 'illegal', on the grounds that there was no legal provision that could serve as a basis for legitimacy of such orders.
This time, however, the Leader has issued an adminstrative order beneficial to the only reformist candidate in the upcoming election. So now the question is whether Moeen will act on this order or will he dismiss it as illegal and withdraw from running for election. Some argue that if Moeen makes the decision to act on the Leader's order and run for the election, he will lose public confidence, as he and the party he represents will be regarded as hypocrtics. Others say that he should hold on to this opportunity at any cost. He must not pay any attention to the 'games' surrounding this process, but only focus on winning the election and in this way keep hardliners away from becoming the all powerful in the country. But what would happen if Moeen does so but eventually loses in the election? In fact, this is very likely. The disqualification incident must have at least helped Moeen to realize that he does not have a wide enough base among the public. The very limited reaction to his disqualification easily proves this point. This does not, however, mean that the public have less confidence in Moeen compared to other candidates. Rather, as I have said before, the issue is that Iranians, or at least the majority, are very confident that they have no confidence in NONE of these candidates. So, what will the best option be for Moeen in this situation? This is a dilimma that may not be solved easily.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Student demonstration inside Tehran University dorm (Photo: BBC Persian)

A 'Wise' Move by Khamenei

"Iran's supreme leader has ordered the Guardian Council to reconsider a ruling barring two reformists from standing for the presidency". This latest move by the Leader is a very tactical one. It implies that he was unaware of the final list of the qualified candidates published by the GC on Sunday night. But one should be very naive to believe this was actually the case. The GC would never make such a big decision without consulting with the Leader in advance to get his approval. However, the Leader was concerned that disqualifying the only major reformist candidate might cause social and political unrest. His concerns turned out to be true: immediately after the GC's ruling on disqualifications was announced, reformists (Jebheye Mosharekat and Sazman Mojahedin Enghelab in particular) directed their attacks towards the Leader himself. In the meanwhile, there were reports Tehran University students held a meeting in TU dormitory, chanting slogans against the GC and, occasionally, against the Leader. Khamenei was ready to make the move. He issued the order, which silenced, at least temporarily, the reformists and ended the student meetings.
A close reading of Kayhan editorial confirms that Khamenei's move was planned well in advance. Hossein Shariatmadari writes: "if [those whose favourite candidate has been disqualified] believe the presence of their candidate is in [regime's] best interest, they must appeal to the Supreme Leader to resolve the problem, not to the Guardian Council whose job is not to determine what [regime's] best interest is."[i.e. Kayhan believes the Guardian Council is an impartial body]. If Jebheye Mosharekat (the so called reformist party), who have always been critical of the Leader's arbitrary and partial (hardliner) stance would appeal to the Leader as Kayhan encourages them to do, then they would explicitly acknowledge the role of the Supreme Leader as a neutral arbiter. But when neither Jebheye Mosharekat nor Moeen appealed to the Leader to play the neutral arbiter role, Kayhan and the Leader were frustrated, although not entirely. The Leader was intent to demonstrate his neutrality. Thus, Haddad Adel, the Majlis speaker who is also father-in-law to Khamenei's son was given the mission to write a letter to the Leader, asking him for his 'kind and wise' intervention.
There is another trick in the editorial as well. Throughout, it tries to give the impression that it was written before the Leader's order was issued (so the writer was totally unaware of what move the Leader was going to make). However, at the end of the editorial, the writer says: "in the last minutes of publishing this editorial, information came in that the Supreme Leader, upon a letter by the Majlis speaker, has written a letter to the GC to, while acknowledging its services,ask for reconsidering the qualification [sic] of Dr Mostafa Moeen and Eng. Mohsen Mehralizadeh. This wise decision, like always, has resolved any concern [...]". Kayhan editorial writer is right. It was a very wise move indeed. While it is very unlikely that the GC makes any change in the first ruling, the Leader will once again come out 'clean' out from a political fraud, pretending that he had no role in creating it.

The GC disqualifies Moeen

"The Guardian Council disqualifies Moeen". This is the headline of many Iranian newspapers today. However, this behaviour by the GC comes at no surprise (see my post on February 22). The GC did what it had to do: preventing opponents of the Supreme Leader from getting into the top job. But Iranians are now waiting to see how Khatami administration will react this time. Will it give in to the pressures from the Conservatives and the Sepah and run the election according to the wishes of the Leader (i.e. in the same way as it dealt with the massive disqualifications by the GC before the 7th Parliamentary elections in 2004)? Or will Khatami take this last opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to freedom, by fiercely opposing the conduct of the GC and, eventually, by stepping down from power if the GC fails to reconsider its stance? The regime, once again, has shown its zero tolerance for free elections. Let's hope Khatami will not disappoint the people, once again, by showing zero commitment to his promises.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Election Update

With only five days left until the Guardian Council officially announces the name of the candidates who can run for the presidential election in June, rumours have already spread that Mostafa Moeen (backed by the so-called reformists) is among those who have been disqualified by the GC. On the other hand, Abad Garan Coalition, has withdrawn its support for Ghalibaf. While Abadgaran has not yet announced its main candidate, but it seems that its members are trying to decide between Ahmadi Nejad (Tehran Mayor) and Larijani. However, reports of a recent meeting between Ahmadi Nejad and Larijani have added to the speculation that Ahmadi Nejad will soon withdraw from running for the election in favour of Larijani. Given that Mohsen Rezaee's withdrawal is very likely and in fact very imminent, observers believe that the regime wants the election to be a contest with three candidates: Rafsanjani, Ghalibaf, and Larijani. If this turns out to be true, the Islamic Republic must be prepared to face a number of consequences. These include repercussions for the legitimacy of the president's mandate, considering that it is very unlikely that any of these three possible contenders will be able to win over fifty per cent of the overall votes (of course one must add to this the probable low turn out, should these three be the only contenders). Furthermore, Moeen's disqualification by the GC will lose the regime any chance to at least be able to pretend, as a form of gesture politics, that it is running a fair and legitimate election.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Say NO to Sepahis!

Browsing some Farsi websites and blogs, I came across a number of comments arguning that there is nothing wrong with having a president with military background. They justify their point by saying that those who have served in military are in fact better able to run a country, considering that, they argue, part of the training in military is about discipline and patriotism. This could generally be the case, but what seems to be ignored is that here we are concerned with a different type of military,that is, Sepah (Iran's Revolutionary Guard).
As a matter of fact, 'patirotism' has no place in the the dominant ideological discourse in Sepah. In Sepah, as in Artesh -the other constituting force of Iranian army, there is an Office of Ideological and Political teachings (Aghidati-Siyasi). All Sepah members must attend the courses offered by this office on regular basis. Ironcially, there is no mentioning of patriotism in these courses. Instead, there are teachings about Islam. But not a tolerant or pluralistic interpretation of Isalm. Rather, the dominant ideology is based on an understanding of Islam which is nowadays refered to as 'radical Islam'.
Sepahis are thus brainwashed, under most advanced and sophisticated methods, to be prepared to 'defend Islam' by whatever means possible, even if it would take them to commit most horrendous acts agains their own compatriots. Defending Iran and Iranians is secondary to defending Islam. Therefore, if a Sepahi comes to choose between defending a Bahai Iranian and a Muslim man of another nationality, the teachings oblige him to take up the second option.
I have lots of evidence, including many from my personal experience, to back up my point here, but I guess mentioning one would suffices to establish my argument that it is very dangerous, not only for Iran but possibly for the whole region, to have a Sepahi as Iran's president. That evidence is the notorious letter, which the commanders of Sepah wrote to Khatami shortly after he had taken office in 1997. In that letter top ranking Sepahi commanders, Ghalibaf among them, warned Khatami to take action to limit the freedom people were starting to enjoy, otherwise they (i.e. Sepahis) would 'know how to handle the situation'. How many democtaric countries in the world do we know where the national army, whose responsibility is to defend people and their freedom, threatens to confront its own people? Is it not a solid evidence to prove the 'anti-patriotic' characterisitc of the dominant ideology in Sepah? Then how can we elect a Sepahi as the president of our nation?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Election update

1)According to reports, 1010 men and women have registered for the 9th presidential elections. What this implies, I think, is that many still do not really seem to understand what the term president, or head of a nation means.
There were a number of famous figures among those who registered,. Nasser Hejazi was one of them. He was Iran's goalkeeper in in 1970s, and former captain and head coach of one the two most favourite football sides in Iran, that is, the Esteqlal team of Tehran (the other being Persepolis). Obviously not many have taken his bid for candidature seriously enough, but I think if he manages to get through the GC filter, he will certainly pose a challenge to other contenders. Let's not forget he possesses many qualities that others surely lack. To mention a few, he has the charismatic character, he has the look, he is very well-known and popular, and, on top of all that, he is certainly not a "Hezbollahi" (i.e. he can hardly be see a figure with affiliations to the regime).I am certain the GC will weigh up the benefits of approving him. Among others, they might consider that Hejazi might be able to attract the youth's votes and in this way prevent those votes from going to a reformist (anti-hardliner) candidate (which has often been the case). However, they might also consider disqualifying Hejazi for his lack of 'practical belief in the 'principle of velayat faghih'or on the grounds of his probable connections with the Monarchy before the Islamic Revolution.
2)As anticipated, Rafsanjani's candidature has upset the conservative hardliners, particularly those loyal to the Leader Khamenei. Yesterday, a number of Majlis deputies fiercefully reacted to a speech by one of their colleagues, in support of Rafsanjani. Bahonar, Majlis' acting speaker who is also the head of Larijani's election headquarters, criticised that MP for making such comments in support of a candidate in the Parliament. Bahonar reminded the MP of the 'rule' made by MPs that no statement be made for or against any candidate.
3)Ebrahim Yazdi, who served as foreign minister of the first post-revolutionary cabinet, also registered to run for the election. As the head of the 'outlawed' Nehzate-e Azadi (Freedom Movement) he has little chance to get through the GC filter.
4)Despite all these recent developmnets, the mood among people has barely changed. Latest polls show that less than fifty per cent of people will cast their votes on the 17th of June. On streets, still there is no sign of excitement about the election. Recalling the mood in the lead up to the past two presidential elections in 1997 and 2001, this calm mood among people is clearly indicative of lack of trust or interest in the candidates.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Moeen on Iranians abroad

In my previous post, I said that none of the candidates had shown any interest in discussing the situation of the Iranians living outside the country. Browsing Moeen's website, I came across his comments on this issue so it seems that at least one of the candidates is in fact interested.
He was asked about his agenda "to invite Iranians living abroad to invest in Iran". In reply, he had this to say:
"Iranians as persons are more important than their money. People who are standing on the best intellectual levels of Western countries [sic] and they are much more valuable to us than their money. In order to have them back in the country, we must first promote the social and economic status of our intellectual elites and management so that we can make sure no [Iranian citizen] would ever prefer to live away from home rather than to live in their home country".
Moeen's comments may be music to the ears of some of his supporters. However, one must not forget that Moeen served as Minister of Higher Education (the title of the Ministry later changed to Science, Research, and Technology) for almost seven years. During this time, there was no major improvement in higher education. Universities offer minimum service to students. University of Tehran, the top Iranian university, has no dormitory of its own. Non-Tehrani students who can not afford to pay expensive rents in Tehran have to stay in Uni dorms, where they will have to share their room with at least 4 (sometimes 8)other students.
Academic situation is not any better. Particularly in human sciences, including politics and law, research remains very limited due to 'sensitivity' of issues involved. Faculties are not producing updated knowledge. At Tehran Law School, for example, some professors still rely on outdated notes from 1970s when discussing new issues. Access to foreign language journals is also minimal and very limited.
As the Minister for Higher eduacation, Moeen surely had enough time to improve this appalling status of higher education. But he basically did nothing.
Furthermore, Moeen must be reminded that the term "Iranians abroad" does not only inculde the rich or academic Iranians. As I mentioned elsewhere, refugees, asylum seekers, Iranian prisoners abroad, political exiles are also the responsibility of Iranian government. This responsibility has often been left unfulfilled and seemingly there is little to indicate that the future governments will be willing to change this trend.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The election and Iranians abroad

Dear Visitors,

I have an idea but I'm not sure how far it can travel. I need your help. I am interested in getting some idea about what Iranians living abroad may think about the upcoming election.
As it stands, none of the so-called candidates shows any interest in talking about thousands of Iranians living abroad (as if they were not Iranian!), their difficutlties, the status of Iranian refugees, asylum seekers, students, etc. But what does this silence indicate? I think it is a meaninful silence.
I think this can open up the door for discussing some other issues: hopes and disappointments, trust, future, etc.
So I would like to ask you to please let me know what you think about these issues. For example, do you realy have any hope in any of these candidates to change the situation in Iran in a way that you might consider returning to Iran? Or, another question, do you think any of these contenders has the capacity and resources to change the image of Iran internationally?
I hope this can provide us (you and myself) with an opportunity to discuss the elections from a different perpective.

Looking forward to hearing from you

Rafsanjani: not ready, not steady, but still go!

As anticipitated, Rafsanjani officially announced his candidature for the presidential elections. Khamenei and buddies, on...your...feet!

Ghalibaf stripped of his title(s)!

I just love reading Kayhan. I am not a hardliner and I know that most of the times, it is full of lies and accusations. But, what I like about it is that it always has a bared truth in it as well. The truth about how Kayhanis think, how they see the world, how they see people, etc. It easily, without any complication whatsoever, reflects the ideas of those who run it.
Only until a few days ago, Kayhan used to use the title "Dr" when referring to Ghalibaf (Ghalibaf has a PhD in Geography). But, it is not using that title any longer! Why? Maybe Kayhan does not think Ghalibaf deserves 'respect' anymore?
A simple analysis of the events in past few days proves that this is in fact the case. Last week, Ghalibaf was asked by students about what would happen if him and the Supreme Leader are in disagreement on a certain issue. Would he act upon what he sees the best or would he just follow the Leader's order? Ghalibaf replied by explaining that the scope and limits of the Leader's responsibilities are defined in the Constitution (so the Leader must not go beyond those limits). But, what surprised many was Ghalibaf's "boldness" in saying that if finds the Leader's opinion confliction with his, he would follow the Leader only if he (i.e. Ghalibaf) comes to the conclusion that the Leader has a point - other wise "the Leader opinion must change". That boldness, however, did not impress those who believe that Ayatollah Khamenei has been appointed by God as the "Guardian of Muslims"(Vali). "how dares Ghalibaf challenge the God's representative on earth?" They must have asked.
But this is not the end of story. Ghalibaf crossed over another red-line yesterday, when he praised Reza Shah (the founder of Pahlavi dynasti) as an authoritarian figure, who, by using his absolute authority, maintained order in the Iranian society. He even went as far as calling himself a "hezbollahi Reza Shah". Considering how much the ruling clerics and "hezbollahis" detest Reza Shah, it should not be too hard to imagine how much uproar his view generated.
Ghalibaf, however, was quick to reject making any such comments. He even threatened that "appropriate action" would be taken against those who "attributed" such things to him. But his afforts have so far been to no avail. Kayhan is not happy. For Kayhan, a good president is the one who never questions the Leader on anything. He (there will be no female president in Islamic Republic) must understand that what the Leader says and does is the right thing, and the president's duty is simply to obey. Besides, a good president never says good things about the people that the Leader does not like. Be it Reza Shah, or Mossadegh, or anyone else. It does not matter whether they did anything good for Iran. You must not like someone whom your Leader dislikes, even if you are a president of a nation (who do say good things about those whom the Leader dislikes).
Ghalibaf soon realized that his comments made the Leader upset. He tried to make up for those comments - or to apologize. But Kayhan is frank: apology not accepted. No more Dr. Ghalibaf, no more General Ghalibaf. Titles have been erased. And be careful! One more such mistakes, Ghalibaf will be erased too!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

No one to trust!

This week nothing of significance has happened about the election in Iran. However, a speech by Ayatollah Shahroudi (Iran's head of judiciary)raised some debate. In his speech, Shahroudi criticised judicial officials (prosecutors and investigators) as well the police for their 'miconducts'. Some commentators argue that Shahroudi's criticism of the police was in fact aimed at undermining Ghalibaf's position. Ghalibaf claims he is a 'reformist' since, he argues, during his time in office as head of the Iranian police, he managed to bring about reform within the body under his control. In the same way, he has promised to bring about major changes in the government if he becomes a president. Shahroudi's comments on the other hand disclose that Ghalibaf's claims are just lies.
But do Iranians really need Shahroudi to remind them that what Ghablibaf is claiming is unfounded? Iranians deal with the police almost everyday: tickets for driving offences are issued by the police, passports are issued by the police, vehicle registration is processed by the police, many public places are guarded by the police, social behvaiour and social activities are monitored by the police. So the police are hugely present in Iranians daily life, which makes the police and their conduct so readily exposed to public judgement. The public does not need Mr Shahroudi to remind them of the fact that they are not feeling safe in their daily life, that the crime rate has gone up dramatically in past few years -and the police is unable to contain it, that there is nowhere that people can take their complaints of the police misconduct and expect action, that the police are as corrupted, if not more so, as other public institutions.
Besides, who is Shahroudi to criticise the police? The situation in the judiciary is far worse than what we see in the police. Corruption is widespread, there's no justice but justice denied in Iranian judiciary. People have taken justice in their own hands. Besides, the police infringments upon the rights of the people is not without the judiciary's tolerance, ignorance, or support. In fact, as Shahroudi himslef admitted, in most of the cases they do so with previous permission from a judge or prosecutor.

Thus, I do not see any significance in Shahroudi's speech. He just repeated what we all already knew. His speech did not make Ghalibaf's status any worse than what it had already been. Ghalibaf's past is known to the public. Same is true about other candidates. In fact, as we get closer to the election, the task for Iranians in not to decide which candidate they trust the most. Rather, they are having a hard time deciding whom they can be mistrustful of the least.