Campaign Posters Capture Rivalries

by Garrett Nada

In flashy campaign art, Iran’s six presidential candidates are pulling at public heartstrings and playing on haunting moments in Iranian history to rally votes. Posters are now plastered across billboards, fences, office blocks and the sides of cars as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus accounts—some of which are actually banned in Iran. Each candidate has his own buzzwords drawing on his past as a war hero, top adviser to the supreme leader, moderate cleric or peace negotiator. 

      Jalili is a war veteran who lost a leg fighting Iraq in the 1980s—and his posters ooze with sacrifice and nationalism. His slogan, “Resistance is the key to success,” draws on imagery from a war that ended a quarter century ago but still influences politics. This poster encourages Iranians to fulfill their national duty to vote while recalling their past duty to defend the country. A hardliner, Jalili has run the most ideological campaign of the six candidates. He is currently secretary of the Supreme National Security Council and Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator. Jalili accuses other candidates of being too soft on national security issues.
      Qalibaf is a “man of action”― and his posters gush with images of him on the job. Websites and blogs by the “Lovers of Qalibaf” depict the Tehran mayor overseeing the building of bridges, highways and parks to illustrate his slogan: “Jihadi management versus capitalism.” A pragmatic conservative, Qalibaf balances his image as a manager with security credentials. Four pictures on the left are from his days as a Revolutionary Guard on the Iran-Iraq war front.

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.


Old War Haunts New Election

by Garrett Nada and Helia Ighani

A quarter century later, the Iran-Iraq War looms over Iran’s presidential election as if it happened yesterday. All six candidates participated in the grizzliest modern Middle East conflict as fighters, commanders or officials. Over the past month, the campaign has evolved into a feisty competition over who sacrificed and served the most in the eight-year war.
A leading candidate lost a leg. Another candidate commanded the Revolutionary Guards. A third liberated an oil-rich frontline city. A fourth brokered the dramatic ceasefire.

            During the final debate on June 7, candidates invoked their wartime experience during the “Holy Defense,” as it is officially dubbed in Iran, as a top credential for taking office. It clearly shaped the worldviews of all six, despite their disparate political affiliations as reformists, hardliners or independents.
            But experience during the 1980-1988 war is also emerging as an unspoken credential in facing the future, specifically a confrontation with the outside world over Iran’s controversial nuclear program. The debate resonated with language of resistance that echoed from the war, which claimed up to 1 million casualties.
            Iran’s presidential contest illustrates how the war generation is now competing to take over the leadership from the first generation of revolutionaries. Four out of the six candidates were connected to the Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s most powerful military organization. Over the past decade, the Guards have also played an increasing role in the economy and politics. Veterans won nearly a fifth of parliament’s 290 seats in 2004.
            The six candidates had vastly different roles. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

WDR2| Präsidentschaftswahl Im Iran: „Überraschungen sind nicht möglich“

Ist die bevorstehende Präsidentenwahl im Iran überhaupt eine echte Wahl? Der iranischstämmige FDP-Politiker Bijan Djir-Sarai beantwortete die Frage auf WDR 2 mit einem klaren Nein.

FDP-Bundestagsabgeordneter Bijan Djir-Sarai
Bild 1 vergrößernDer iranischstämmige Bundestagsabgeordnete Bijan Djir-Sarai


  • Audioplayer schließen:XAudio:WDR 2 Gespräch mit dem iranischstämmigen FDP-Politiker Bijan Djir-Sarai (11.06.2013)

    Bijan Djir-Sarai, FDP-MdB / Helmut Rehmsen, WDR 2

Der Neusser Bundestagsabgeordnete Bijan Djir-Sarai zeigte sich auf WDR 2 überzeugt davon, dass es bei der Präsidentenwahl am Freitag (14.06.2013) keine Überraschungen geben wird. Dafür sorgten die religiösen Führer des Landes und der Wächterrat. Gemessen an den Verhältnissen etwa in Deutschland gebe es im Iran „keine echte Wahl“. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

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

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.

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.”


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

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