Iranian news agency Mehr and the country’s state-run TV are reporting that the Guardian Council has barred Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani from running in the upcoming presidential election.
Rafsanjani is a founding father of Iran’s Islamic revolution and has previously served as president of the Islamic Republic, the speaker of Majlis and the de facto commander-in-chief of armed services during the eight-year war with Iraq. Last year, Supreme Leader Ali Khamanei reappointed him to chair the country’s Expediency Council.
The reasons behind the decision of the Guardian Council are not published yet. But the reports say it was made because of Rafsanjani’s age and health. The late Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic revolution, was actually older at the time of the victory of the revolution than Rafsanjani is today, and he ran the country during the war for another decade. The current supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, is only five years younger than Rafsanjani and has had health issues since being injured in a bomb attack before assuming his current responsibilities in 1989.
The scandalous decision by the Guardian Council would be widely regarded as a political move by the ultraconservative majority of the Council against a pragmatic leader, undermining the legitimacy of the electoral process during the upcoming vote. Ayatollah Khamenei could still override the Council’s decision and allow Rafsanjani to run in the election.
File photo: Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (Reuters)