» Where will Qabilaf’s voices go?
An editorial in Wednesday’s “Sharq” newspaper concerns the recent withdrawal of the candidacy of former hardline presidential candidate Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf from Iran’s presidential race, with the election set to take place on Friday. The writer questions the fate of those votes which would otherwise have gone to Qalibaf, suggesting that he may have killed two birds with one stone through his withdrawal and asserting that the election is supposed to be going to a second round after his unexpected move. The news of Qalibaf’s withdrawal was the most important political news on Monday, with the candidate, currently the mayor of Tehran, failing once again to reach the presidency on this, his third attempt.
Ebrahem Raisi, another fundamentalist candidate, has promised to take advantage of Qalibaf’s capabilities in his government. The editorialist states that there are two possible analyses of this withdrawal. The first possible reading is that the fundamentalists will try to explain this withdrawal offer as an attempt to preserve the unity of the fundamentalist ranks and to win the first round. The second possibility is that Qalibaf chose to kill two birds with one stone, being aware of the declining number of votes he was likely to get according to opinion polls, and withdrawing in order to avoid the humiliation of publicly facing a third failed campaign in the face of an expected defeat for the fundamentalists. The writer adds that concerning Qabilaf’s fate, there’s likely to be a repeat of the events in the 2013 elections when reformist candidate Mohamed Reza Aref withdrew in order to strengthen the support for fellow reformist and current president Hassan Rouhani, this time with the similar tactical maneuvering concerning the fundamentalist candidates. The writer poses the question of whether the conservative Qalibaf’s votes will now go to his fellow fundamentalist Ebrahem Raisi, before dismissing this suggestion, saying, “The supporters of Qalibaf are different from the supporters of Ebrahem Raisi as they are a diverse mix of different sections of society. They are not rooted in fundamentalism like Ebrahem Raisi. The reason that the result of the 2013 elections went in favor of Rouhani was the cohesion of the reformist body between the grassroots and the senior hierarchy of leaders.” The writer suggests, therefore, that a significant number of the votes that would have gone to Qalibaf will now instead be cast for Rouhani.
An Editorial in Sharq Newspaper on Tuesday, May 16, 2017
» “Boycott of Elections”
An editorial in Wednesday’s Hamdali newspaper concerns the calls by some groups in Iran for a boycott of Friday’s presidential election, arguing that any such boycott would be in the interest of fundamentalists.
“In every election, there are a number of people talking about boycotting the elections, but the result of such thinking [led to] a loss to society after the 2005 elections when some did not vote for Rafsanjani, and the result was eight years of tragic [Ahmadinejad] government for Iran,” the editorial states.
The writer suggests that the experience of events after the 2005 election should be sufficient to prevent any repetition or return of those like Ahmadinejad and his supporters who consider any critics to be evil, and who employ slogans such as “Death to my opponents.” The editorialist asserts that public participation in elections is necessary to “strengthen the reformist front”
The writer further states: “The emergence of the reformist movement supported by the community shows that in order to prevent the gradual death of this trend, voting for the candidate of the reformist movement with insight and wisdom can work to stabilize the foundations of reformist thought in society gradually, and ensure that it appears on the political scene as a force, and free society from the scourge of “one-opinion”.
The editorialist insists that any boycott of elections acts in favour of fundamentalists who believe that the voice of the people should not be involved in determining the fate of the state since the opinion of the people is contrary to their opinion. He cites another example to support his argument, stating, “The boycott of municipal elections in 2003 paved the way for Mehdi Chamran to take over the municipal leadership, which in turn paved the way for Ahmadinejad’s arrival as mayor of Tehran. Two years later [in 2005], the boycotters abandoned Mustafa Maeen and Hashemi Rafsanjani, leading to Ahmadinejad’s victory in the presidential elections. ”
An Editorial in Hamdali Newspaper on Tuesday, May 16, 2017
» Radio and Television should not Claim Neutrality
Jihan Sanaat handled the bias of the national Radio and Television in favor of the hardliner candidate Ebrahem Raisi, while this national organization has to be impartial and fair with all candidates. The editorial sees that this policy has been adopted by the organization a long time ago such as the elections of 2005 that resulted in the winning of Ahmadinejad. The editorial says, “After the withdrawal of Qalibaf in favor of Ebrahem Raisi, the job of Radio and Television has become easier. This organization claims itself national, but its critics believe it is biased and state that there is no need for experts to analyze the news programs and the reports of the many channels in order to promote for Ebrahem Raisi. Even ordinary people notice that Raisi is being propagated more than the other candidates through meetings and promoting the positive characteristics and goals of him on more than one channel.”
The editorial believes that this organization is trying to mobilize the public opinion for Raisi openly. On the other hand, what is being broadcasted about Rouhani is sometimes against him and deterring for electors to vote for the current president. The editorial also refers to similar cases such as the elections of 2005 when this organization broadcasted statements of some interlocutors that publically announced the unwillingness of people to elect the Reform candidate at that time Hashemi Rafsanjani. “This organization that is financed from “Bait Almal” (the budget) showed that it favors certain candidates over the others,” the editorial added. “No wonder that a governmental media organization like Radio and Television be under the control of the senior regime officials and propagate a candidate it believes he has connections with these officials. Neutrality in Radio and Television is a joke and no one can believe it, so it cannot be biased and at the same time claims the opposite.”
An Editorial in “Jihan Sanaat” on Wednesday, May 17, 2017
» President of the Republic must not be Counterfeit
This editorial handled president Rouhani’s breaking of laws. It mentioned several cases at which Rouhani broke the law such as plagiarism of his Ph.D. theses and covering up the other fake Ph.D. qualifications of some ministers in his cabinet and others. The editorial says, “Breaking the law is prevalent in all aspects in Iran; political, economic, and cultural. However, it is practiced more by those in power. In the developed societies senior officials’ defiance of laws is being taken seriously in order not to become a model for the lower class of the regime’s officials. So, we ask you to allocate little time and read the educational profile of President Hassan Rouhani before you vote.”
The editorial also says that Rouhani has plagiarized his Ph.D. theses. Some media means handled this issue before the elections of 2013. However, this issue was ignored by the Ministry of Higher Education officials and sealed Rouhani’s file with the National Security seal after his inauguration. The editorial also refers to the counterfeit certificates of some Reformer officials from the University of Hawaii such as Murtaza Hajji who was appointed Minister of Education at Mohammed Khatami’s cabinet and now heading Rouhani’s campaign in Tehran.
The editorial also sees that Rouhani minister’s membership in private companies cannot be let go, which means that Rouhani’s statements about fighting corruption are incredible. It concluded, “In summary, Iran’s president must not be a crook and supporter of racism and economic corruption.”
An Editorial in “Watan Emroz” on Wednesday, May 17, 2017
♦ Iran’s imprisoned Green Movement leaders vote for Rouhani
Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahrah Rahnavrd, leaders of Iran’s 2009 protest movement, have said they would vote for Rouhani, according to Kaleme Website, which is affiliated with Mousavi. Rahnavard and Mousavi, under house arrest since 2011, have requested a moving ballot box to participate in May 19 presidential election. Mousavi has also said that Iran state TV propaganda “made it clear” that one should definitely vote for Rouhani, says Kaleme Website.
♦ Continuation of Rouhani’s government worsens economic conditions
Economic pundits and lawmakers expressed their worries over undesirable economic conditions in Iran, warning that reelection of Rouhani’s government will worsen the conditions. Abdulmajid Sheikhi, economist and author of Economy and Planning, said that even from the beginning Rouhani did not have any plans for solving the country’s problems. Sheikhi added that increasing cash flow in Iran’s economy and unprecedented rise in unemployment are outcomes of the 11th government wrong policies. According to this economist, IMF has announced in its recent report that debts of Rouhani’s government has increased 5 times, while its spending has doubled.
♦ Iran official: UENESCO 2030 Document is nonbinding
Mohammad Bagher Nobakht, Iranian government’s spokesperson, has pointed out that UNESCO 2030 Education Document has no binding force for any country. Following Iran’s supreme leader Khamenei’s remarks, this document up was put on hold until further clarification of details, added Nobakht. Government’s spokesperson also said some are trying to “misuse” this issue to advance their own goals, while appropriating supreme leader’s policies for themselves.
UNESCO 2030 document is a part of United Nations’ project for “sustainable development” of member countries until 2030. While supporters of this document in Iran see this as using international experience for development and modernization of education in the country, fundamentalist media call it a “conspiracy” document. Recently, Khamenei criticized the “silent” implementation of this document, saying, “Islamic Republic will not surrender to UNESCO 2030 Document.”
♦ Raisi gets closer to victory, says NBC news
NBC news reports of favorable conditions for Ebrahim Raisi to win Iran’s upcoming presidential vote. This American media wrote it is fair to say that Raisi will gain the majority of Ghalibaf’s votes. NBC added that with Ghalibaf’s dropping out of presidential race, Raisi’s supporters are now more hopeful for defeating Hassan Rouhani in the election held this Friday. In the meantime, many Iranians are frustrated with unfulfilled economic promises of the current president, and unemployment and recession have put many families under pressure.
♦ Hadi Khamenei: Comparing Raisi with Beheshti is exaggeration
Hadi Khamenei, brother of Iran’s supreme leader and a political reformist activist, said with anyone other than the current president [Hassan Rouhani], there will be no guarantee about future. He emphasized that gray votes will naturally move towards the reformists, because in debates, “reformists had the upper hand and their explanations were more transparent.”
As for fundamentalists comparing Ebrahem Raisi with Mohammad Beheshti, considered as the primary architect of Iran’s post-revolution constitution, Hadi Khamenei said “Mr. Beheshti was a great human being and jurist, who could have been one of the highest religious authorities, had he not been martyred.” He added comparing Raisi with Beheshti is just “exaggeration.”
♦ Raisi’s election headquarter in Shiraz attacked
Seyyed Mohiuddin Taheri, head of Ebrahim Raisi’s election campaign in Fars Province, said there has been an attack against this candidate’s election headquarter in Shiraz, in which some of the campaign staffs were injured. He added that police forced did not fulfill their duties in confronting those who disrupted public order and security.
♦ Iranian activists, former political prisoners endorse Rouhani
A number of activists and former political prisoners in Iran have issued a statement, calling on people to vote for Hassan Rouhani in Iran’s presidential election on May 19. Signed by 26, the statement says a landslide victory for Rouhani would “consolidate the country’s comprehensive, balanced, and permanent development.” The statement also focuses on Iran’s City and Village Council elections which will be held on May 19 as well, endorsing reformists whose names are on “List of Omid [Hope]”, regardless of the fact that this is “neither the perfect, nor the best list.”
♦ Government’s rivals acted unethically in presidential debates, says politician
Mostafa Moin, a reformist political activist, pointed out to presidential debates, particularly the third one, saying that this debate was for people to know about the candidates’ plans, because without plans, promises will be “empty and false”. However, Moin emphasized, no plans were presented in debates and speeches of the government’s rivals. He added that Rouhani’s rivals acted unethically and aggressively, making accusations, slanders, and threats to put the government on defensive in the debates.
♦ Association of Combatant Clerics backs Rouhani
The Central Council of Association of Combatant Clerics held a meeting on presidential election as well as City and Village Council election, asking Iranian people to vote decisively for Hassan Rouhani, and prepare the ground for more “growth and prosperity” in the country. They announced that “given the critical situation in the region and Iran’s significant place, many internal and external problems can be solved by relying on moderation and rationality.”
♦ Makarem Shirazi: Thugs and hooligans are after agitating election
Nasser Makarem Shirazi, a Shi’a marja, has named “counter-revolutionaries and enemy’s agents” as two groups that are after disrupting the election. The religious authority added that these groups try to use “thugs and hooligans to agitate the election atmosphere,” asking the “Iranian Muslim youths” not to allow the “enemy” to do so.
Makarem Shirazi emphasized that election in Iran has been always “safe and peaceful”, hoping that people can still find the chance to take part in it without any difficulties.
♦ Khatami’s video message supporting Rouhani removed by prosecutor’s order
A few hours after former President Mohammad Khatami published a video in support of Hassan Rouhani for May 19 election, Tehran Prosecutor ordered its removal. In his video message, published on Telegram channels, Khatami had asked people to vote for Rouhani again in Iran’s upcoming presidential election. Tehran Prosecutor, however, issued an order in which he pointed to prohibition of publishing Khatami’s messages or images in Iran media, demanding its removal. Khatami’s video has had more than 2 million views in less than 12 hours.
♦ Detained leader of Iran’s Green Movement endorses Hassan Rouhani
Mehdi Karroubi, one of the leaders of Iran’s Green Movement, who has been under house arrest since 2011, announced his support for Hassan Rouhani in Iran’s May 19 presidential vote. Karroubi, in a meeting with his family, said that he would “definitely” vote for Rouhani. He also referred to fraud in Iran’s 2009 presidential election, saying “we all saw the outcome of not recognizing people’s rights.”
♦ Judiciary spokesperson criticizes Rouhani’s remarks about “executions” in Iran
Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, Iranian first deputy of Chief of Justice and judiciary spokesperson reacted to Hassan Rouhani’s remarks about issuing execution and imprisonment sentences during the past 38 years. Mohseni-Ejei, without naming Rouhani, said that “some who are trying to gain people’s votes forget their own past with regard to executing people in the public.”
Judiciary spokesperson was pointing out to Rouhani’s remarks in 1980 about “Nojeh coup plot” in which, according to Fars news agency, Hassan Rouhani had called for execution of those related to the coup in public.
♦ Iranian people’s hopelessness regarding JCPOA endangers Rouhani’s destiny
EU Foreign Relations Council’s website in an analysis urged that election competitions in Iran are very much focused on economic policies, and fighting existing unemployment and injustice. Hassan Rouhani’s rivals have criticized his government for failing in improving economic-political conditions, despite reaching the nuclear agreement and lifting of sanctions.
Unemployment rate in Iran has increased to 12.7%, while the youths’ unemployment rate has risen from 24% to 30%. It has become clear that international companies are in doubt about extensive investment in Iran, because of which the nuclear deal did not end up in the expected investment flow and creating jobs in Iran.
♦ Rafsanjani’s daughter: Rouhani’s successful government must be repeated
Fatemeh Hashemi, daughter of late Rafsanjani, said that “in presidential election campaigns, we are witnessing many lies from Dr. Rouhani’s opponents, which is why it is our duty to stand against these lies and illuminate people’s minds.” She added that in the last election, people elected Rouhani who “could drive away the shadow of war from Iran.”
Fatemeh Hashemi emphasized that “since Rouhani’s government had a successful performance, it must be an 8-year government to complete its projects and bring them to fruition at the end of the second term.”
♦ Jahangiri backed Rouhani among Tehran’s Sunnis
Eshaq Jahangiri, presidential candidate and first vice president of Hassan Rouhani, attended the gathering of Tehran’s Sunnis to support Hassan Rouhani. In this gathering, Jahangiri said Iranian ethnicities are in safe places, and no one should have a security outlook towards these regions.
Pointing out to Sunnis’ presence in government positions, Rouhani’s vice president said: “We have opened the door for Sunnis to enter diplomacy, and have appointed the first Sunni ambassador.” Eshaq Jahangiri added that for the first time, a Sunni governor, a Sunni female governor and a deputy governor were assigned to these positions by the government, urging that “I am sure the government will insist on implementing the Charter of Citizens’ Rights.”
Jahangiri added as Kurdish and Azeri languages began to be used at schools and universities, the same will happen to Baluchi language in near future, stressing that no Iranian ethnic group is superior to others.
♦ Russian pundits: Rouhani’s victory in presidential election necessary
In an event entitled “Iran on verge of presidential election” held in Moscow, Russian scholars stressed that Hassan Rouhani’s second term would strengthen Iran-Russia relations, reported ISNA. Vladimir Sazhin, senior research fellow of the Department of Near and Middle East at the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said Iran’s political stability is very significant for Moscow. Iran and Russia have friendly relations and any Iranian president will try to consolidate it, he said. However, a Russian professor of political sciences maintained that Rouhani’s second term would be necessary for Iran’s “strategic partnership” with Russia.
♦ Raisi: They charge us of ‘building walls’
Iranian presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi has criticized Rouhani’s government of “underestimating people’s intelligence.” Raisi said the authorities have accused him of building walls in order to project their problems on others. He then advised the government to clarify about imports and exports, loans received and different contracts, “because our people do not want a private government.”
During a campaign speech to his supporters last week, Hassan Rouhani said “if you stay at home [on election day], know that they will build walls in our sidewalks.” He added “once in a meeting they decided to build walls in Tehran sidewalks to segregate women and men, just the way they issued orders for gender segregation at workplaces.”
♦ Motahari backs Rouhani for presidency
Ali Motahari, deputy speaker of Iran’s parliament, said Hassan Rouhani is the competent candidate in the 12th presidential election. In his Telegram channel, he wrote that giving the country’s administrative affairs to someone who has never had any experience in ministry or the parliament is a risk: “with electing Mr. Rouhani, our country will not become as good as Switzerland in terms of material wellfare, but with not electing him, it is possible for the country to become like Venezuela.”
Motahari held that given the JCPOA, new developments in Middle East, and new U.S. administration, it is in the interest of the country if Rouhani’s presidency continue, adding that “some do not care if JCPOA fails, so that they drag the country to an unwanted war for maintaining a revolutionary pose.”
♦ IRGC Navy Commander: Impossible to compare Iran’s preemptive power with past
Revolutionary Guards Navy Commander Ali Fadavi said during years after the victory of Iranian revolution, Iran’s defense capability has been constantly increasing, and its preventive power today cannot be compared with the past.
He emphasized that U.S.-Iran conflict is over truth and falsehood, urging that in so far as one persists on its rightful ideals and goals and the other keeps following its own wrong path, this confrontation will not come to an end.