Monday, March 18, 2013

Mashaie’s Expected Candidacy Causing Political Unease in Iran

“Deeper and More Widespread Sedition” than 2009 Election - IRGC
Brig. Gen. Mohammad Ali Asoodeh, IRGC’s deputy commander for cultural and publicity affairs, has warned that the upcoming presidential election could cause “far deeper and more widespread” problems than the 2009 election.

“We face a deeper and more widespread sedition than in 2009. This year, the sedition and troublemaking will reportedly start before the election. Some say if this or that does not happen (not allowing certain candidates to run) they would not hold the election or boycott it,” Gen. Assodeh said. (Fars News Agency, 17 March)

Meanwhile, Iran’s semi-official Mehr News Agency reports that Qasem Ravanbakhsh, a member of the central committee of Jebhey-e Paydari Enghelab Eslami (“Stability Front of Islamic Revolution”) has warned that if Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, Ahmadinejad’s close aide and political confident, is not allowed to run for presidency, the president might resign or use his executive powers to stop the presidential election scheduled for June 2013. (Mehr News Agency, 18 March)

The Stability Front is a coalition of hardliners that includes a number of former senior officials in Ahmadinejad administration who broke with him politically and supported by the ultra-conservative ideologue Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi. The Stability Front is particularly against Mashaie, considering him the leader of a “deviationist” movement with nationalist and anti-Islamic views.

The Stability Front will field its own candidate for president, reportedly from a short list of three people: Saeed Jalili, currently the executive secretary of national security council and chief nuclear negotiator; Parviz Fattah, former IRGC general and minister of energy under Ahmadinejad; and Dr. Kamran Lankarani, Ahmadinejad’s former health minister. 

Ravanbakhsh, who made the comments in a political gathering in the city of Zanjan, also said if Ahmadinejad attempts to stop the election, the country’s supreme leader would use his powers to overrule him. In one scenario suggested by Ravanbakhsh, Ahmadinejad could dump his interior minister, an IRGC general on active duty who is close to Ayatollah Khamenei, and will take over the ministry to stop the election. Khamenei, Ravanbakhsh added, would then use his “supreme” powers to reinstate the interior minister.

File photo: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (left) cheering Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, his presumed handpicked candidate for president in June election. (ISNA)


Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter if Masht-Ali or Sab Zaman are "voted" in as president because Velayat is the ultimate power in Iran and he decides everything from what color the lampposts should be to national security and foreign policy.

Mark Pyruz said...

We always hear of the potential for crisis in the Islamic Republic political scene but it never comes to pass. I think it doubtful Mashaei could even come close to winning the election, given his association with Ahmadinejad (who if he could run, would likely lose) taking into account indications provided in the results of the past midterm election.

Given the national security environment in Iran today, it's remarkable they haven't suspended elections like the British did during the first half of the 1940s. But they pride themselves on the participatory element of their republic, and so the elections are held regardless.

Nader Uskowi said...

“We always hear of the potential for crisis in the Islamic Republic political scene but it never comes to pass.”
The analysis in this post comes from the current deputy director of IRGC, General Sotoodeh (he must not have read Leveretts’ Going to Tehran, you should send him a copy!)

“But they pride themselves on the participatory element of their republic, and so the elections are held regardless.”
Let’s wait until May to see if the Guardian Council would uphold “participatory” element of their republic by allowing a wide spectrum of candidates to run. Please don’t send Leveretts’ book to the Guardian Council, it might prompt them to disqualify a large number of candidates in the name of upholding the national security!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Mashaie has good credentials and qualifications for a presidential post.
However the situation will develop in that direction that if Mr. Rafsanjani will not run personally, then possible president will be chosen from the personalities which include names of Mrs. Velayati, Qalifab or Mr. Haddad...