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Iran Takes To The Polls To Elect New President

People have six candidates to choose from but women or anyone with a reformist agenda were banned from standing.Voting has begun in Iran to elect a new president as Mahmoud Ahmadinajad is replaced after serving his maximum eight years in charge.There are six candidates but Iran’s Guardian Council has restricted those who can stand, banning women or other candidates with an agenda considered to be reformist or liberal.
There are no political parties in the conventional sense – just a contest between candidates who profess absolute loyalty to the Supreme Leader the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and others who are considered slighting more reformist but by no means moderate.On the campaign trail, Iran’s nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili is seen as one of the front-runners.He has positioned himself as the most hardline of the candidates but there is speculation he may be viewed by Iran’s Supreme Leader as too much of a wild card because of his implacable attitude to the west.

His election would signal a no-change president in Iran’s posture to the outside world. Another favourite is Mohammad Ghalibaf, the current mayor of the capital Tehran, who is a conservative with strong ties to the security forces.If there is such a thing as a moderate voice amongst the conservative candidates it is Hassan Rouhani, a British-educated cleric.On the streets of Tehran, people who might count themselves amongst the opposition have been gathering to support him, because in the absence of a more reformist figure he may get their vote.

But whoever wins will have a limited mandate on nuclear policy and relations with the West.In Iran it is the hard-line supreme leader who has the say, not the president.The supreme leader spectacularly fell out with Mr Ahmadinajad in spite of backing him in 2009 during elections which critics said were rigged and led to wide-spread protests.

Sky News spoke to a participant in the demonstrations dubbed the Green Revolution.

He did not want to be identified for fear of reprisals but told us he he was held for six months and tortured.He said: „I was like an empty person, an animal. I was like a piece of meat.“If there are demonstrations during this election – and I hope there will be – and people take to the streets in Tehran they must stay out day and night.And if people get killed, injured, arrested and tortured they must persist and stay out on the streets for the government to fall. They cannot go back to the roof tops and just shout slogans.“One of the biggest issues domestically is the economy, which is in its worst state for decades with high inflation, soaring unemployment and negative growth.The value of Iran’s currency, the rial, has more than halved in a year, after a collapse blamed on government mismanagement and sanctions against Iran’s energy and banking sectors imposed by the US and EU.
The fall of the rial has led to sharp cuts in imports and raised Iran’s inflation to its highest level in 18 years.

(Sky News Foreign Affairs Correspondent Lisa Holland was refused a visa to travel to Iran to cover the election. She compiled this report in London.)

Translate from: English
إيران يخرج إلى صناديق الاقتراع لانتخاب رئيس جديد
ایران را به پای صندوقهای رای برای انتخاب رئیس جمهور جدید
Irán lleva a las urnas para elegir nuevo presidente
Irã leva às urnas para eleger novo presidente
Iran porta alle urne per eleggere il nuovo presidente
Ιράν λαμβάνει στις κάλπες για να εκλέξει νέο πρόεδρο

 

Iran’s constitutional dictatorship furthers ‚conspiracy‘

The West knows him as „the Ayatollah“, although the veracity of the religious title is debatable. So is the way the ruling system has tailored it.

Who is this so-called ayatollah? Here, we discuss his exalted position with Dr Kazem Alamdari, a sociology professor at California State University. But first, let’s look at a few facts.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Hosseini Khamenei, stands above its head of state, its judiciary and the legislature — the three foremost branches of power. A 74-year-old cleric, therefore, is the top figure… in a country that plays such an important role in the Middle East. Commander of the armed forces, he appoints all its military chiefs. The authority to declare war or call a referendum rests with him.

Khamenei succeeded Khomeini, who led the 1979 Revolution. His duties have included appointing the heads of the Judiciary and the state media apparatus, and also half the members of the Guardian Council — those overseeing Islamic jurisprudence. This Council checks new laws passed by the parliament, and vets presidential and parliamentary candidates.

Khamenei doesn’t have to charismatic, and he isn’t seen that way by the many protesters who have destroyed the top political figure’s portrait in the streets of the capital, shouting: „Down with the Dictator!“ — at the risk (women included) of being clubbed over the head by security forces wielding batons.

Iran’s leader branded the widespread protests over the result of the previous, 2009, presidential elections as „sedition“. Two of the candidates of those polls, Mirhossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karoubi, are still under house arrest.

The unwritten punishment for criticizing the leader of the Islamic Republic can include anything from temporary detention to being killed — ‚physical removal‘ is a term in vogue now.In 1997, a German court held Khamenei and then-President Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani responsible for the assassination in 1992 of three opposition member in Berlin. Khamenei describes himself as a revolutionary. He has said he is not a diplomat, but many signs point to his office as the place where all matters of supreme importance are decided, such as policy on relations with the United States and Iran’s nuclear activities.

Ali Kheradpir, euronews: „Professor Alamdari, is there any similarity in any other country to Mr Khamenei’s political and religious position as enshrined in the Iranian Constitution?“

 

Supreme Leader Blasts Foreign Plots in Vote

      On June 4, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei charged that foreign powers are plotting to discourage Iranians from voting in the upcoming presidential election. Tehran’s enemies also want to cause “sedition” after the poll “just like what they did” after the disputed 2009 election, Khamenei claimed in a televised speech. He spoke to thousands at a ceremony marking the 24th anniversary of the passing of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic. Khamenei also encouraged Iranians to vote in large numbers on June 14 to show their confidence in the political system. He warned candidates against “making impossible promises” and giving concessions to the West. The following are excerpts from Khamenei’s official Twitter account and a variety of press reports. 

Presidential Election
            Iran’s enemies “wish for either a low turnout in the election or sedition to emerge after the poll…The enemies are seeking to portray the election as a threat to the Islamic establishment whereas the vote is in fact a great opportunity.”
            “Candidates shouldn’t make impossible promises. Speak in a way that if next year at this time you listen to a recording of yourself or people do, you won’t be ashamed. Make promises that you can deliver on so that afterwards you don’t say that they didn’t let me do this or didn’t let me do that.”
            “A vote for any of these eight candidates is a vote for the Islamic Republic and a vote of confidence in the system and our electoral process.”
            Some candidates “have the wrong analysis that by giving concessions to enemies, their anger towards Iran will be reduced. This is a mistake… In practice [they] prefer the enemies‘ interests to our national ones.“ Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

View What links here Iran: grim choices for president

by SAEED RAHNEMA

Which candidate will be in a better position to weaken the Supreme Leader? Which will be less detrimental in terms of economic mismanagement? And which candidate less dangerous than the others in terms of brazen violations of human rights and civil liberties?

The mass uprising after the electoral coup of 2009, which came to be known as the Green Movement, involved a wide-ranging array of secular, left, liberal, and moderate religious elements. It was defeated mainly because of the unbelievably brutal suppression of the activists, which included killing, maiming, and raping arrested protesters. But the movement’s leadership also played a role. Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoobi were both establishment figures; while they sought reforms, they did not want to challenge the regime in its totality. And the fact that the members of street movements failed to link up with workers and employees who had the power to shut down factories and other institutions as they had done during the Iranian Revolution of 1979, also contributed to this failure.

The situation is much worse for the democratic forces in Iran for this round of presidential elections than was the case in 2009. This is true despite the fact that the ruling cliques’ infighting has reached an unprecedented level, anddifferent groups of the “Principlists” (ultra-right religious fundamentalists) who were united against the Islamist reformists during the last elections, are now openly fighting each other. The leadership hopes to prevent the election of any candidate that would not be loyal and subservient to the Supreme Leader. The manipulation of the electoral process in the Islamic Republic is now a long-standing tradition that takes place in two stages. Firstly, candidates must be approved by the twelve member Guardianship Council (appointed by the Supreme Leader). Secondly, when the electoral process starts, they mobilize a sophisticated machinery to ensure their favoured candidates’ emerge as victors when the polls close, either by actual or fabricated votes. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Khamenei Comments I: Nuke Research as Model for Sports

In a little noticed speech, Iran’s supreme leader urged athletes to emulate the determination of the country’s nuclear scientists. The West thought that “we would not be able to produce fuel plates and fuel rods. But our youth built them,” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Olympic and Paralympic medalists on March 11. “We have managed to do things which the enemy could not even imagine… you can do this too [in sports].” The following are excerpted remarks from his speech that also covered morality in sports, female athletes, foreign coaches and competitions with Israelis.

      “…You should adopt a scientific approach towards sports – the ones which have research-based guidelines. You should improve research. As other scientific research, the research that is carried out in the world on a specific sport is not the last word. It is possible to carry out research on the basis of such research or add new things to it in order to improve or even reject it. Well, you should do such things in Iran. We have managed to make so much progress in complex scientific areas with the help of our youth. We have managed to do things which the enemy could not even imagine. It could not imagine that an Iranian individual can do such things. Therefore, you can do this too. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Join United for Iran in a Worldwide Campaign: „Elections Aren’t Free Until We Are All Free“

PLEASE SUPPORT!

 

It’s been four years since the disputed Iranian presidential elections that resulted in massive uprisings and a brutal crackdown including extra-judicial killings, torture, arbitrary arrest, and detention; and infringements of rights to freedom of assembly and expression. Today—in the lead up to the June elections—we are witnessing the largest wave of detention of journalists since 2009. Opposition candidates remain on house arrest, and at least 500 political prisoners remain behind bars. Women and religious minorities are barred from running for president. And yet, Supreme Leader Ali Khameini has said Iran’s elections are “free” and the media „shouldn’t constantly say elections must be free.”

We say that elections are not fair or free until all political prisoners in Iran are free. Elections are not fair or free until every citizen has equal opportunity to engage in the electoral process. Elections are not fair or free as long as the Iranian government vets candidates, restricts activities of political parties and forces votes from citizens. Elections are not fair and free when citizen voices are silenced.

Join us in demanding that Iranian officials allow for the conduct of genuine, democratic elections that uphold internationally accepted standards of “free and fair,” and that the Iranian government:

Release all political prisoners;
End all restrictions on media, free expression, and assembly;
Allow every citizen equal opportunity to engage in the electoral process;
Allow for independent observation of its presidential elections.
Join us in taking up the call that “Elections Aren’t Free Until We Are All Free.”

Email us if you are interested in spearheading or participating in actions around the world in the upcoming months: info@united4iran.org. More information will be coming soon!

Iran and Democracy

by Daniel Brumberg
  • The Islamic Republic of Iran has struggled with its primary political identity since the 1979 revolution: Should the state be based on religious principles mandated by God? Or should it be based on man-made laws about democratic governance and the will of the people?
  • Prominent reformists have sought to harness Islam for democratic ends. But hard-line clerics insist that Twelver Shiism vests ultimate power in theRahbar, or supreme leader, with his allies in the clerical establishment.
  • Protests after the disputed 2009 presidential election reflected the intense internal debate over the linkage between Islam and democracy.
  • A new generation of ultra-hardliners in the “New Right,” led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has sought to weaken parliament, even as they proclaimed their commitment to the will of the “people.”
  • The New Right has antagonized well-established lay political groups and the clergy who share a common interest in preventing a new Islamic despotism. But they lack a common vision of the political future and a leader with the populist allure to define such a vision.                     Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags
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