Latest on the Race: Two Candidates Drop Out

Two candidates – one hardliner and one reformer  have quit Iran’s presidential race, leaving six competing in the June 14 poll. Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel, a “principlist” hardliner and ex-parliamentary speaker, dropped out on June 10. Mohammad Reza Aref, a reformist and former vice president, followed on June 11. He received a letter from former President Mohammad Khatami advising him to step down. 
One reformer, two independents and three conservatives now remain in the running. The only candidate to gain from the smaller slate of candidates is Hassan Rouhani, who is now the lone reformist candidate. Khatami and other reformist leaders have declared their support for Rouhani, a cleric and former secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. Haddad-Adel did not officially endorse any other candidate. The following are excerpts from their withdrawal statements.

Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel
       “I announce my withdrawal from the presidential race to help promote the conservative victory… I hope that the conservatives win in the first round, but if it goes to the second round, the competition will be between two conservatives.
      “With my withdrawal I ask the dear people to strictly observe the criteria of the Supreme Leader of the Revolution (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) when they vote for candidates… I advise the dear people to make a correct decision so that either a principlist wins in the first round, or if the election runs to a second round, the competition be between two principlists.”
Mohammad Reza Aref
      “At dusk on Monday… I received a letter from Mohammad Khatami… He said it would not be wise for me to remain in the race…In consideration of Mr. Khatami’s explicit opinion, and the experiences of two past presidential elections, I declare my withdrawal from the election campaign.”


Iran’s Presidential Candidates Debate Cultural Issues In New Format

Report by Radio Zamaneh; photos by Mehdi Dehghan, Jame Jam

The second round of presidential candidate debates was aired on Iranian state television on June 5 with a focus on cultural and social issues. The session opened with the moderator indicating changes in the debate format. The structure of the first debate had been widely criticized by some of the candidates as well as some media outlets.

In the second session, each candidate got a chance to present his points and later the other candidates were given a chance to critique their peers‘ statements. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Latest on the Race: Debate on Culture, Women

Garrett Nada

            Iran’s eight presidential candidates clashed on issues of culture, personal freedoms and women’s rights at the June 5 debate. Hassan Rouhani and Mohammed Reza Aref repeatedly criticized government censorship of the internet, press and academia. They argued that censorship had prevented Iranian artists from creating quality productions and led people to watch foreign television shows and movies. Rouhani and Aref opposed the confiscation of satellites dishes and interference in people’s private lives. Even two conservative candidates ―Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf (below in black) and Ali Akbar Velayati― challenged government filtering.

      But Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel and Saeed Jalili defended state social controls. Jalili claimed that movies like “Argo” and “Lincoln” have furthered U.S. policy goals. He called for the production of movies to promote the Islamic revolution.
      Candidates also took opposing positions on the rights and role of women. Rouhani (left) promised to establish a ministry of women’s affairs if elected. “We must give women equal rights and equal pay,” he said. But Jalili argued that women should fulfill their family role at home. His campaign seemed to temper his statement with a tweet pointing out that his wife, a doctor, is a working woman. The following is a rundown of remarks and points made by each candidate during the debate.

Iran News Round Up (6 JUNE 2013)

Qalibaf emphasizes Iran-Iraq War credentials to defend his image; Velayati publishes detailed cyber space platform; Iranian Telecommunications Company denies responsibility for reported internet disruptions

  • Former Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf heavily criticized opponents who label him as a technocrat and said, “I do not have the time to answer some people’s claims, but I believe that a person is a technocrat [if they have] not seen the color of the front [during the Iran-Iraq war].”
  • Presidential candidate Gholam Ali Haddad Adel said, “Their eight year militarily imposed war [Iran-Iraq war] did not achieve any results; therefore, it is possible that they have planned an eight-year imposed economic war. Our path is that just as the nation resisted in the Imposed War, economic resistance will maintain the country in the economically imposed war. We have no other way except this [path].” Haddad Adel also revealed that his cyber space platform is to follow the strategic directives of the Supreme Cyber Space Council.
  • Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezai said he would alleviate international concerns regarding the nuclear program but would not abandon “national interests and the values of the revolution.” He added that he would form a 5+3 international group to politically resolve the Syrian crisis. The group would consist of Syrian neighbors Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon, in addition to Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
  • Ali Akbar Velayati’s Cyber Space Committee Headquarters published the candidate’s platform regarding cyber space. The three main points are: “An opportunistic perspective instead of a threatened [perspective] towards cyber space; Ethics and partial immunity instead of limitation in cyber space, and; alignment with the Supreme Leader’s policies in establishing the Supreme Cyber Space Council.” His proposed policies also include establishing security operation centers in all sensitive parts of the country and supporting the indigenous development and construction of internet infrastructures.
  • According to Kurdistan Press Agency, two Ahl-e Haq religious minority Kurds, Hassan Razavi and Nikmard Taheri, self-immolated to protest Islamic Republic security forces arrest and abuse of coreligionist Kiumars Tamnak and his religious beliefs during an interrogation.
  • Alef News Agency reports that the Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance sent an approximately 120 member group to Lebanon two weeks ago without any official announcements. The article questions the reasons and the financier of the trip, since the minister is reportedly known to be frugal regarding international travel and the ministry has recently had to cancel cultural events due to budget constraints. The group reportedly consisted of artists, poets and cultural officials, and the article notes that it used a conservative estimation based on oral reports so the group may have included as many as 200 individuals. The author attributed the trip to potential government abuse and waste. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Iran Special: The 2nd Presidential Debate

Photo: Mehdi Dehghan/AP

We stopped live coverage at the end of the first half of the debate.

Radio Free Europe offers this live summary of the second half.

Links to Persian transcripts of the debate from ISNA and Mehr News.

Live Coverage of the 2nd Presidential debate on Wednesday, covering society and culture: Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Latest on the Race: Furor at First Debate

      At the first presidential debate on May 31, Iran’s eight presidential candidates spent more time arguing over the quiz show format than debating each other. Tensions erupted when the moderator asked yes-or-no and multiple choice questions. “I’m not answering these questions,” said Mohammad Reza Aref (left). “I answered test questions 40 or 50 years ago.” Hassan Rouhani scolded the moderator, warning that the public also probably found the format “offensive.” The television station should have consulted with each candidate’s staff beforehand, said the cleric. Mohsen Rezai complained that the program did not allow candidates to engage directly with each another. Saeed Jalili and Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel refused to answer the questions. The moderator gave up after question eight, reportedly leaving 16 questions unasked.



      The debate— nearly four hours on the economy —had other unique aspects, including set-up. Candidates appeared caught off guard when asked to react to a series of pictures. One photo of a patient after surgery led to discussion about Iran’s health care system—and the need for various improvements. Shown a picture of cars stuck in traffic, candidates argued over how much carbon monoxide contributed to pollution. The moderator also showed pictures of a cargo ship, tractors in a field, an empty mine, a clock and a bazaar. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Iran Presidential Elections: Reformist candidate Aref says will not form coalition with Rohani

Source: Press TV

Iranian Reformist presidential candidate Mohammad Reza Aref says he has no intention of forming a coalition with rival candidate Hassan Rohani for the June 14 vote. In an interview with the Mehr New Agency on Sunday, Aref said he would stay in the presidential race „to the end.“

Iranian presidential candidates Mohammad Reza Aref (L) and Hassan Rohani
Source: Sharqh daily

„If elected president, I will form working groups and interact with the elite in various sectors in the country and announce my plans,“ Aref, a former first vice president, said.

Stating that a million job opportunities need to be created in Iran every year, the reformist candidate underlined the importance of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the process of job creation.

„ICT should create some 200,000 direct job opportunities in the country [annually],“ the presidential candidate said.

Aref faces seven rivals: Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, President of the Center for Strategic Research of the Expediency Council Hassan Rohani, lawmaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili, Secretary of Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei, former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, and former Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Gharazi.

The president of Iran is elected for a four-year term in a national election.


Latest on the Race: How to Follow Candidates

By late May 2013, all eight presidential candidates had set up campaign websites or social media websites. Some of their campaigns even appeared to have made Twitter and Facebook accounts, both of which are blocked in Iran. The candidates’ supporters have also launched dozens of unofficial blogs, websites and social media accounts. The following is a rundown of the candidates’ websites and social media.

Saeed Jalili

Hassan Rouhani

Mohsen Rezaei


Ali Akbar Velayati

Facebook supporter page


Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel




Mohammad Gharazi





Photo Credits:
Mohsen Rezaei by درفش کاویانی (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Hassan Rouhani by Mojtaba Salimi (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0  ( )], via Wikimedia Commons


Iran’s Presidential Hopefuls to Face Off Friday

Source: VOA

​The eight men vying to become Iran’s next president are set to face off in the first of three televised debates.

Friday’s debate will be the first chance for the Iranian public to see the eight men on the same stage since campaigning began last week. So far, the candidates‘ public appearances have been limited to brief campaign stops and some short appearances on television and radio.

On Wednesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned all the candidates to be truthful and respectful during the debates.

According to remarks published on his website, he said the candidates „should refrain from tarnishing their opponents and the realities of the society just to attract votes.“

Four years ago, televised debates between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and pro-reform opponents Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi produced several heated exchanges.

Some candidates have already complained of censorship by authorities. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Iranian Conservative Bloggers: From the 2013 Election to the Economy

The western media tells us that all Iranian conservatives think the same, but this is far from the reality. There is an immense diversity of opinion amongst pro-government Iranians, and these monthly reports analyse the disparity between conservative opinion blogs in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

  1. 2013 Presidential Election

    This month, the most discussed topic amongst conservative bloggers was the presidential election slated for June of this year.

  2. One of the most interesting topics that arose was whether elections are ‘free’. Leading Reformist politicians Mohammad Khatami and Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani stated that this presidential election would only be competitive if it was held “freely”. The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, refuted this call by claiming that all presidential elections under the Islamic Republic have been free, and stating that to emphasise ‘free elections’ in this specific case meant calling into question all previous elections.
  3. Following on Ayatollah Khamenei’s reaction, his supporters began to denounce ‘free elections’ as the newest language of sedition. Seyed Mehdi Mirudoodi, on the blogNothing in a post entitled “A writing class on free elections!”, proposed a definition of ‘free elections’ from the conservatives’ point of view: “We must allow elections to happen. Afterwards, if our candidate got enough votes, then we say the election was free; if not, we announce that the election was not free!”
  4. Another vibrant, elections-related discussion centred around who the potential candidates might be. Although less than five months away, there are still no confirmed candidates for the upcoming election. The writer of Anti Mosaicism, in a post that has since been deleted, argued that Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, the former chairman of the Iranian parliament, is supporting the candidacy of Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, the former chief of police and current mayor of Tehran.
  5. The blog Mehr Javedan, in a post entitled “We shall tell the story”, predicted that Ahmadinejad would not, contrary to public opinion, support Esfandiar Rahim Mashai’s candidacy. The blog insisted that, instead, Ahmadinejad would support someone that “nobody knows but Mr Ahmadinejad”.
  6. Perhaps in the most interesting conservative blog post this month, the blog Worryput forward an intricate analysis of the potential candidates. In the writer’s opinion, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf does not stand a chance due to “the extensive documentation of his, his wife’s, and his son’s corruption, which should soon be published“. The blogger also rebuffs the chances of the current chairman of the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani, despite his “good reputation amongst the people”. Due to Larijani’s unclear position during the 2009 presidential election, the blogger posits that religious voters will not opt for him. According to Worry, none of the known potential candidates have a real chance to win the election and we will need to wait for a new person to enter the race. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags
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