Iran’s upcoming 11th Presidential election is scheduled to be held on June 14, 2013. This will be an opportunity for Iranian voters to elect country’s 7th president for the next four year. Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the Islamic Republic has six presidents – Abolhassan Banisadr (elected on January 25, 1980 but impeached after 17 months), Mohammad Ali Rajaei (martyred on August 30, 1981 by US-Israel supported MEK terrorist group), Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei (1981-89), Ayatullah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (1989-97), Ayatullah Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005) and Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005-2013).
Iranian Constitution doesn’t allow the current president Ahmadinejad to run for the third term, but he still seems to be the most popular Iranian leader after the Spiritual Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenie. On April 8, 2013, Associated Press’ Ali Akbar Daraeni and Brian Murphy wrote an article in The Orange County Register newspaper, titled “People’s President”.
“A pro-Ahmadinejad candidate will have a good number of votes,” said Abolfazl Zahei, a pro-reform activist. “There are 2,000 villages in South Khorasan province, and most people in those villages have benefited from Ahmadinejad’s government. People care about making their ends meet and welfare, not politics.”
According to Iranian Constitution, the winning candidate must receive 50% of the total vote cast – otherwise a second ballot will be held between the winner and the runner-up, as was the case between Dr. Ahmadinejad and former president Ayatullah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani during 2005 presidential election. In the second round, Ahmadinejad received 17,248,782 votes, out of total 27,958,931 votes cast.
Nearly 500 Iranian have filled nomination papers to run for the presidential election. They’re being scrutinized by the powerful Guardian Council for not hypocrite Muslims or anti-Islamic Islamic Revolutionaries (pro-USrael). With the exception of a dozen, the rest of the candidates are expected to be weed out by the Council. Notable among the presidential hopeful are; Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, former parliament Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel, former Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, former vice president Mohammad Reza Aref and former commander of the Revolutionary Guard Mohsen Rezai. All of them have claimed that they intend to follow the Rehbar Ayatullah Ali Khameie’s foreign policy regarding the US, Israel and Palestinian resistance against the Jewish occupation. However, as a practice, Khamenie has not thrown his support behind any of the hopeful.
Ayatullah Mohammad Khatami, a “moderate” by the Zionist-controlled western media, has decided not to face Iranian voters. He, along with Reformists has thrown his support behind Rafsanjani – hoping not to face political humilation during the 2009 when Ahmadinejad was re-elected by securing 62.63% votes by defeating his main rival, Western-supported former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi. The 2009 election also marked the highest turnout (85%).
Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei is already in trouble with the Council which has lodged a legal complaint against president Ahmadinejad for accompanying Mashaei to the interior ministry to register his name.
Alex Vatanka, an Iranian expert at Washington-based Middle East Institute, a neocon think tank, headed by former US ambassador in Pakistan, Wendy J. Chamberlin, in an article posted at Lobe Log, has claimed that Rafsanjani’s victory in the upcoming presidential election would be good for both the US and Israel.
“Rafsanjani has already started with a bomb. Last week, he effectively impugned Tehran’s stance on Israel and offered the view that Iran should not be in the business of confronting Israel. “If the Arabs end up in a war with Israel, Iran can provide material support to the Arabs”, but that is it and no more. In other words, Ayatollah Rafsanjani, who has for a long time argued for better relations between Iran and the US, is raising the ante and even challenging the regime’s long-held immovable enmity toward Israel,” wrote Vatanka.
Ali Mamouri at pro-Israel Jewish website, Al-Monitor (May 13), also bet on Rafsanjani’s victory.
“To the West, Rafsanjani represents a broad team of liberal technocrats who want civil freedoms domestically and a policy of relieving tensions abroad, prioritizing economic progress, contrary to the Islamic Republic’s ideological goals; especially since he has lately focused on issues of abstaining from adventurism and has particularly been recalled as easing tensions with Israel. Moreover, the Arab countries of the region, particularly Saudi Arabia, have had a good experience with him in confidence-building with the Arab world, and some of the Arab leaders, such as Jordanian King Abdullah, have a relationship of relative personal friendship with him,” he wrote.
Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-born Jewish “ME expert” at the Inter-Disciplinary Centre, an Israeli advocacy group says that due his loathing for Ahmadinejad and support for the West-supported Green Movement, Rafsanjani, is quite popular within the Reformists group and the Jewish lobby groups.
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, no doubt is the richest Iranian political leader. He is worth US$1.5 billion, according to some western sources.
Some insiders, believe that the Conservative-majority Majlis (parliament) would prefer Saeed Jalili, an Islamist who leads Iran’s negotiations with the Zionist-occupied West, as the next President of the Islamic Republic of Iran.