PARIS-TEHRAN, 24 May (IPS) The intervention of Iran’s leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i in favour of two reformist candidates disqualified by the Council of the Guardians proves, if proof was needed, that elections are not free in the Islamic Republic, political analysts said.
On Sunday, the guardians announced that out of the 1014 people who had registered for the position of presidency it had disqualified 1008 of them, keeping 6 hopefuls only, all but one affiliated to different factions of the ruling conservatives
On Monday 23 May 2005, after a letter he received from Mr. Qolam’ali Haddad Adel, the Speaker of the conservatives-controlled Majles calling on him to intervene with the GC in favour of the rejected candidates, Ayatollah Khameneh’i ordered the 12-members Council of the Guardians he controls to “review” the case of Mr. Mostafa Mo’in, the leading candidate of the reformers and Mohsen Mehr Alizadeh, an independent, both barred by the Council from running for the presidency, due on 17 June 2005.
To anyone who says elections are not free in Iran, sun come proof of the sun.
“In order to allow different political tastes and provide the occasion to different personalities to be present in the great examination, it is necessary to review the cases of Mr. Mo’in and Mr. Mehr Alizadeh”, the leader wrote to Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the Secretary of the CG, the organ in charge of vetting all candidates in all Iranian elections.
And on Tuesday 24 May, the Council, in a laconic statement said “obliging the wishes of the leader”; it has confirmed the credentials of the two men.
“It would have been better for the Council of the Guardians to care more for the higher interests of the nation and the regime before the leader’s intervention”, regretted Hojjatoleslam Majid Ansari, a lawmaker from the reformist minority of the Majles.
He was, indirectly, referring to the regime’s great efforts to encourage people to vote, as, according to an official, latest opinion polls conducted secretly for the Interior Ministry shows that les than 30 people say they could vote.
“Ayatollah Khameneh’i might have realised the scope of the damages the Guardians he names and controls have dealt to the elections, but at the same time he placed a dynamite right in the middle of the reformist’s bastion”, an Iranian journalist told Iran Press Service on condition of anonymity, adding that the leader’s intervention in the controversial elections also demonstrates that elections in Iran “are nothing but farces”.
“To anyone who says elections are not free in Iran, sun come proof of the sun. All those who wants fault us on human rights and other issues such freedom, the best thing they can do for their cause is this decision of the Council of the Guardians”, commented Dr. Sadeq Ziba Kalam, a university professor who said he would not vote.
“If the Council has acted legally in rejecting Mr. Mo’in and Mr. Mehr Alizadeh and the others, how can the leader swim against laws and if not, then one can cast doubt on the decisions of the Council for this as well as all previous elections in Iran”, the journalist said.
Although the Islamic Iran Participation Front has welcomed the leader’s decision, but Mr. Mo’in has not yet decided weather he would run or not.
“While disqualification of Mr. Mo’in would certainly turn away from the polls many reformist voters, his rehabilitation on orders of Mr. Khameneh’i would provoke the anger of reformist voters”, observed another analyst.
Ebrahim Yazdi, the nominee of the outlawed Iran Freedom Movement, also disqualified, as well as some prominent personalities and students groups advised Mr. Mo’in to stay out of the race and by doing so, help Iranians get rid of the so-called Special Rights, the one that the CG has bestowed on itself rejecting the credentials of any candidates they do not consider fit, without providing any explanation.
It was under this Right that the CG barred 804 people from the last presidential elections and more than 2000 reformist candidates from the last Legislative race.
It is interesting to note that on that occasion, Mr. Khameneh’i had, on suggestion from President Mohammad Khatami, also advised the Guardians to review the cases of the reformist candidates barred from electoral process, but he was not heard.
One has to wait for another decision and another mistake from the Council of the Guardians.
In its first reaction, an outraged IIPF immediately denounced the move, describing the disqualification of candidates as an “illegal act that will turn the elections into a vote which is not free, unjust, and uncompetitive and ... a sham".
"The participation of Mr. Mo’in is our red light”, the party, which is led by Dr. Mohammad Reza Khatami, the outgoing President’s younger brother IIPF said in a statement, hinting that if the Guardians decision is not reversed, it will not participate in these elections.
Mr. Akbar A’lami, a lawmaker from Tabriz, the capital city of the Eastern Azarbaijan menaced the Guardians of telling the people “all the truth behind the decision, including the aqazadeh’s (sons of leading clerics) pressures and interventions” if they fail to state openly the reasons of his disqualification.
While the bulk of the nation stayed indifferent and none of the qualified runners except Hojjatoleslam Mehdi Karroubi stood up in support of the rejected candidates, the Office for the Consolidation Unity, Iranian student’s largest organization called on Monday on Mr. Mo’in not to accept the leader’s gift.
“In several of your speeches and conferences, you said you would never bow to decisions that have the character of a State Decree (that can be issued only by the leader of the Islamic Republic). Don’t go against your pronouncements. Don’t validate illegality”, the OCU told the former Higher Education minister.
“No matter that despite the humiliation the reformists suffered during the eight years of Khatami’s presidency, an experience that should have made them understand that reforming this system is impossible, the reformers repeated their mistake and although that the OCU chose a different path, but this does not mean our categorical condemnation of CG’s decision”, the OCU said, criticizing the reformists for taking part in the elections.
Same kind of warning came from the Union of Iranian Republicans, telling the reformers that the decision of the CG must “open their eyes, serving as a lesson understanding that their hope of reforming the Islamic Republic from within is a dream pipe”.
The Union also calls on all nations and international human rights organization not to recognize the elections and urges the Iranians not go to vote, noting that whatever the results, “the gap between the people and the system would grow and the legitimacy of the regime weakened.
“Among the disqualified, there were also others than Mr. Mo’in or Mr. Mehr Alizadeh, like women whom, because of a wrong interpretation of the expression of religious-political person” were rejected and by the same token, the right of women who represents half of the nation to the presidency was ignored’, wrote Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Ali abtahi on his website.
“It would have been much better than the Council of the Guardians did not indulge in such a big mistake, costing this nation a heavy price internally and internationally. But one has to wait for another decision and another mistake”, he concluded. ENDS IRAN ELECTIONS 24505