All Heavyweights among 500 Presidential Hopefuls in Iran Elections
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc),- The Iranian FARS News Agency reports that more than 500 candidates have registered for Iran´s presidential elections, including all of Iran´s political heavyweights. The most prominent of the candidates are former President Akhbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Supreme Leader´s top-aide Ali Akhbar Velayati, Iran´s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and President Ahmedinejad´s aide Esfandyar Rahim Mashyee. The registration for the elections closed Saturday afternoon.
After the registration process the Iranian Guardian Council is vetting the 500 plus candidates to approve or reject their eligibility according to the Iranian constitution. Among the more than 500 registered candidates are the First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, President Ahmadinejad’s Adviser Ali Akbar Javanfekr, president’s elder brother Davoud Ahmadinejad, Agricultural Jihad Minister Sadeq Khalilian, three former ministers of Ahmadinejad’s cabinet Mohammad Mehdi Zahedi, Manouchehr Mottaki and Parviz Kazzemi, former Commerce Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast and former Central Bank chief Tahmasb Mazaheri. Also the pro-reform activists Ebrahim Asqarzadeh and Javad Eta’at also signed up.
According to FARS News agency, the list of prominent presidential hopefuls also includes the reformist former vice-president Mohammad Reza Aref, former Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Chief Mohsen Rezaei, lawmaker Ali Reza Zakani, senior lawmaker and advisor to Supreme Leader Gholam Ali Haddad Adel and former Education Minister Alireza Ali-Ahmadi.
Furthermore, FARS reports that former Iranian Intelligence Minister Ali Fallahian and former Telecommunication Minister Mohammad Qarazi signed up for the upcoming presidential race at the election headquarters of Iran’s Interior Ministry in Tehran on Thursday. Also registered for the elections have the moderate cleric Hassan Rohani, a former nuclear negotiator under reformist president Mohammad Khatami and several other reformists, including former member of the parliament Mostafa Kavakebian and MP Massoud Pezeshkian.
Two other Principlists, Vice-Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabi-Fard and former health minister Kamran Baqeri Lankarani, are also running.
The election will take place on 14 June 2013 and registration began on 7 May. It is the 11th presidential election in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iranian Presidents are elected for a four-year term in a national elections. The Guardian Council is vetting the candidates according to the nation´s constitution.
Although many of the more than 500 presidential hopefuls will not stand much of a chance against some of the heavyweights in Iran´s politics, and even though the one or the other may not be approved on constitutional grounds, the large number of presidential hopefuls is is sign for a participatory democracy more healthy and more based in the will of the people of Iran, than most western mainstream media and policymakers care to admit.
After the arrest of US Green Party Candidate at the last presidential elections in the USA, while she was protesting a lockout from nationwide televised “Presidential Debate”, a presidential election with more than two candidates may indeed sound “revolutionary” for many US or European citizens.