Election: Stunning Results and Videos

Hassan Rouhani, the lone reformist candidate, won Iran’s presidential election with 50.7 percent of the vote. The cleric avoided the need for a run-off by securing more than half of the nearly 37 million votes. Mohammad Baqer-Qalibaf, the mayor of Tehran, came in at a distant second with less than 17 percent, followed by Saeed Jalili, Mohsen Rezaei, Ali Akbar Velayati and Mohammad Gharazi. The interior ministry reported a high turnout of about 73 percent and declared about 1.2 million ballots invalid. The following chart reflects the final results.

  Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Latest on the Race: Final Polls – and Shifts

Iranian elections are highly unpredictable due to the number of candidates and short campaigns. Polls for the 2013 presidential race were initially all over the map. But some polls now indicate that the two leading candidates are Hassan Rouhani and Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf. The other four are Mohammad Gharazi, Saeed Jalili, Mohsen Rezaei and Ali Akbar Velayati. Not all of the polls conducted in Iran are uniform in methodology. These are sample polls taken during the last two weeks of the campaign by Mehr News Agency in Iran and the U.S.-based Information and Public Opinion Solutions. About 50 million Iranians are eligible to vote on June 14.

IPOS: Rouhani Soars, Voters Begin to Decide

Mehr: Qalibaf Slips



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’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

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

Persian Press on the Race: June 6

June 6, 2013

  • During the televised presidential debate on culture last night, candidate Mohammed Reza Aref criticized the current government for wasting an important cultural opportunity when Asghar Farhadi, the director of the Oscar-winning film “A Separation,” gave his acceptance speech as a message of peace to the world. “We weren’t able to use this opportunity or its potential for cultural diplomacy with the world,” said Aref.
  • An op-ed in Jahan News highly criticizes candidate Mohammed Reza Aref and asks, “Mr. Aref, how well do you know your cultural figures?” During the presidential debate on culture, Aref mentioned Oscar-winning director Asghar Farhadi and world-renowned Persian classical singer Mohammad Reza Shajarian. The article reveals photos of Farhadi and Shajarian shaking hands, sitting next to each other, and cheek-kissing unveiled women, which is frowned upon in the eyes of the Islamic Republic.
  • Asr-Iran has conducted it latest poll and asks its readers, “No matter who you want to vote for, after watching the second debate regarding culture and society, which candidate in your opinion sounded the most logical and practical (about culture)?” As of Thursday afternoon, over 65,000 people voted and overwhelmingly chose Hassan Rouhani as he led with 57%. Coming in second was Mohammed Reza Aref with 15%, and Mohsen Rezaei following him with 12%. All the other candidates had 5% or less.
  • Tabnak posts a set of photos of Mohsen Rezaei campaigning in the city of Shahrekord in the Bakhtiari province. Large amounts of supporters came out to hear his speech in the main square where Rezaei pledged to diversify Iran’s economy and wean it off oil revenues if elected president.
  • Campaigning for village and local city councils around Iran began today. There are over 126,000 seats up for grab around the country.
  • BBC Persian has filmed a new documentary about the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad titled, “The Man with the Spring Coat.” The documentary provides an in-depth look of all aspects of his tenure as the president of Iran, such as his populist agenda both inside and outside of Iran, Iran’s nuclear program, domestic political infighting, the disputed 2009 presidential race, and other interesting topics.
  • Fars News posts two sets of photos of ordinary Iranians campaigning in public streets for their respective candidates. Voters are passing out flyers and posters to other perspective voters in cars and on sidewalks.
  • YJC.IR (Young Journalists Club) English reports that activist Bahman Sharifzadeh is still holding out for President Ahmadinejad’s right-hand-man Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei to be allowed to run in the presidential election. Sharifzadeh said, „We will not lose hope until the last moment that Mashaei may appear on the electoral scene. As Mr. Ahmadinejad said we will not lose hope until the last moment, because there is some basis to our hope.”
  • YJC.IR News posts photos of the presidential candidates in the “green room” preparing before last night’s debate, as well as a series of photos of ordinary Iranians watching the debates on television. YJC.IR News also posted a series of photos shot around the Khorasan province of candidate Mohammed Bagher Qalibaf’s campaign promotions.
  • On a Facebook page created for Mohammed Reza Aref, a short video clip is posted that shows Aref during a television interview explaining why “he is worried and upset.” He describes his vast experience in government and says, “I am worried for the children that we had a revolution for (in 1979), I am worried about the relationship between the first and second generation of the revolution, and I am worried about the advancement of this country.”


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 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 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
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