Blog-Archive

Who Is Hassan Rouhani ?

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In April 2006, Rouhani was caught on tape, boasting that while talks [on Iran’s nuclear program] were taking place, Iran was able to complete installing equipment for the conversion of yellowcake — a key stage in the nuclear fuel process — but at the same tine convince the Europeans that nothing was afoot.

by Banafsheh Zand

The eleventh Iranian elections are over but were not really open and fair. No election can be fair when the candidates have been handpicked and propped up by one man: the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. The entire event, mostly a show for international consumption, was orchestrated within a police state. „I recently heard,“ Khamenei said, „that someone at the U.S. National Security Council said, ‚We do not accept this election in Iran.‘ We do not give a damn.“

Khamenei has often said, „Any vote that is cast for the candidates who have been picked, is a vote for the Islamic Republic. In fact all voting is a vote of trust and support for the regime.“ Iranians who voted were not electing a president but validating the Velayat’eh Faqih (the absolute mandate of jurists).

Iranian media and the internet are totally censored; the actions of the regime’s elite never reach the people inside. Additionally, both foreign and domestic media have been banned, with the exception of CNN, who sent American reporters. Part of that coercive measure has included the imprisonment of various Iranian journalists.

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Hassan Rouhani, the only cleric among the candidates, is a relic from the early days of the Revolution. His birth name is Hassan Feridoon — a more Persian name then his Muslim name, Rouhani, meaning spiritual. Since the government takeover of the Islamic Revolution, Rouhani has held multiple positions, including Secretary and Representative of the National Security Council, member of the Assembly of Experts, member of the Expediency Council, President of the Center for Strategic Research, and various positions in the Iranian Parliament. In the early days of the revolution he was put in the position of Military Coordinator where he purged the existing military and replaced them with Khomeini loyalists. During the Iran-Iraq war, he served as Rafsanjani’s right hand man. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Rouhani: Rival Constituencies

Alireza Nader

Hassan Rouhani now faces the hard part. Iran’s president-elect won a decisive and surprising victory because he appealed to three conflicting constituencies— conservatives, reformists exiled from the political system, and Iranians dissatisfied with the status quo. Now his ability to govern will depend on satisfying disparate factions. Each has its own set of expectations—and each is also intent on coming out on top.
      Rouhani may be able to deliver results precisely because he is an insider. Since the 1979 revolution, he has served in some of the Islamic Republic’s highest positions. Before his 2013 election, Rouhani was Iran’s national security advisor for 16 years and then head of a government think tank. So he has close ties to Iran’s military and national security establishment. Rouhani has also been a deputy speaker of parliament and a member of the Assembly of Experts ― the only constitutional body with the authority to appoint and dismiss the supreme leader. Among 686 candidates who registered, he was one of only eight allowed to run for the presidency. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Iran: election 2009/ 2013 – مستند «بیست و چندم خرداد…»

 
با گذشت چهار سال از انتخابات بحث‌برانگیز ریاست جمهوری سال ۱۳۸۸ در ایران، کماکان نقاط مبهم فراوانی در مورد پشت پرده این انتخابات وجود دارد. «بیست و چندم خرداد…» مستندی است که به بخشی از ناگفته‌هایی در این باره می‌پردازد. از دیدار محرمانه میرحسین موسوی و آیت‌الله خامنه‌ای گرفته تا جزئیاتی از چگونگی انتشار اولین بیانه اعتراضی مهدی کروبی پس از انتخابات.

 

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.”

 

Latest on the Race: Foreign Policy Split

Garrett Nada

            Iran’s third and final presidential debate on June 7 was by far the most heated. In often fiery exchanges, all eight candidates lashed out at their rivals, raising their voices and charging opponents with failing the revolution. The debate exposed deep divisions on how Iran should deal with the international community, economic sanctions, Syria, and nuclear policy. The candidates include two reformists, four “principlist” hardliners, and two independents.
     The third debate was technically about foreign policy. But the two reformists kept bringing the discussion back to basic freedoms—or lack of them. “Freedom of speech is my first goal in domestic policy,” said Hassan Rouhani. Mohammad Reza Aref blamed the principlist camp for virtually all of Iran’s problems. He admonished the conservative candidates for standing by current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his early years in office. Both men also repeatedly endorsed the achievements of former Mohammad Khatami, a reformer who was president from 1997 to 2005.
            The United States came up often in the debate. Rouhani credited himself with preventing a possible U.S. attack after 9/11. He served as Supreme National Security Council secretary and chief nuclear negotiator from 1989 to 2005. He was particularly tough on current negotiator and candidate Saeed Jalili for failing to do a deal with the international community. Jalili countercharged that Rouhani’s weakness had forced Iran to temporarily suspend uranium enrichment in 2003.
      Even the principlists― Mohammad Gharazi, Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel, Saeed Jalili, Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, Ali Akbar Velayati ― took shots at each other. Qalibaf (far left), a former Revolutionary Guards officer, highlighted his battlefield role during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War. He accused Velayati, a former foreign minister, of sipping coffee with ex-French President Francois Mitterrand while Qalibaf was being shot at on the front.
            Jalili and Velayati, who are both widely considered close to the supreme leader, clashed over diplomatic strategy in one particularly unusual exchange. Jalili accused Velayati of being too conciliatory on Iran’s nuclear energy program. Velayati countered that Jalili had failed to get sanctions lifted or protect Iran’s rights under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. “Diplomacy is not a philosophy class,” charged Velayati. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Iran Today: Is US Pressing for Regime Change?

 

 

While Iranians are preoccupied with the Presidential campaign, including Wednesday’s second debate among the eight candidates, another story — one likely to have impact far beyond the June ballot — has been taking shape.

In the last 10 days, the US Government has expanded sanctions against Tehran on four occasions. Those measures have not only reinforced existing restrictions on the energy and shipping sectors; they have extended into areas far removed from Iran’s nuclear programme. Among the new steps, confirmed by President Obama’s executive orders, are sanctions against the automobile and petrochemical industries.

Even more significant is the ratcheting-up of measures designed to cripple Iran’s financial transactions. One of Obama’s orders this week threatens punishment of any firm trading in Iranian Rials or even holding Rial accounts — the step is no less than an attempt to collapse the currency, which fell 70% last year.

All of this is taking place as Iran’s oil exports continue to fall to historic lows. In April, the Islamic Republic exported only 741,000 barrels per day, a 30% decline from March and less than 1/3 the amount sold in 2011.

Meanwhile, the US, Israel, and European allies are banging the drum loudly over Tehran’s purported nuclear threats. Over the last week, there has been a series of „leaks“ to compliant journalists, recycling old stories as new menaces — notable among these have been stories about Iran’s developing heavy-water reactor at Arak, converted in the articles to a producer of plutonium for a Bomb.

All of this begs the question: is Washington going beyond pressure on Iran to the pursuit of regime change, through the cracking of the economy? If so, does the US have a vision of who and what might succeed the downfall of the current system? 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.

The Crying Game Comes To Iran’s Election

By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL

Archive footage of the announcement of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s death is rolling. Somber music is playing in the background. And the eyes of a presidential candidate are welling up with tears.


Sobbing gently, Ali Akbar Velayati views black-and-white slides from his days as foreign minister.

The memory of the 1989 death of the Islamic republic’s founder is a painful one for many Iranians, and tears roll freely down candidate Ali Akbar Velayati’s cheek as he watches grainy images of people beating their chests and wailing in mourning. Sobbing gently, Velayati views black-and-white slides from his days as foreign minister before he exits slowly under dimmed theater lights. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Iran Tightens Information Stream Ahead of Vote

By Jeff Seldin, VOA

With less than two weeks until Iranians head to the polls, access to news and opinion has become an issue for voters, especially those hoping to go online.

 

Four years ago when the election results were announced in Iran, the world of social media was abuzz, with cell phone video pouring out of the country – the reformist Green Movement showing its discontent over what it saw as a fraudulent win by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Iran Today: Presidential Election — Censoring An Iranian Campaign Story

Presidential candidate Hassan Rouhani criticises State broadcaster IRIB

 


Mehr News reports this morning that the Electoral Campaign Regulatory Body has censored parts of Presidential candidate Saeed Jalili’s latest campaign video:

The news is the latest apparent incident of state censorship of candidates — either directly by blocking websites or editing footage of speeches — since campaigning began. The censorship has affected principlist candidates loyal to the Supreme Leader — notably Jalili but also former IRGC commander Mohsen Rezaei — as well as moderate candidate Rouhani.

Moderate candidate Hassan Rouhani has spoken out against Iran’s State broadcaster IRIB, which he said prevented candidates from presenting their policies and opinions properly.

Presidential candidate Rezaei complained that his website was temporary blocked and that parts of a televised campaign speech — specifically, a story he told about a man whose family was affected by unemployment — was edited out.

The televised speech of Reformist candidate Mohammad-Reza Aref was similarly censored. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

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