Revolutionary Guards won’t interfere in election, but are not indifferent

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Hojjat al-Islam Ali Saeidi, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s representative in the Revolutionary Guards, has told the news agency for the Revolutionary Guards in Kerman that “the Revolutionary Guards will not interfere at all in the [June 2012 presidential] election, but they will not be indifferent with respect to who will become president; we will explain the criteria and standards for the Basiji and Guards.”

Saeidi added, “The Revolutionary Guards were and are an institution dependent on the regime. The Revolutionary Guards obey the Supreme Leader and try not to diverge from the orders of the Leader; though it is not correct that the Revolutionary Guards support a specific person or party.”

“The Revolutionary Guards are not indifferent to the election. The Guards have a basket of votes and must state the criteria and standards. We want a president who is loyal to the Guardian Jurist [i.e., Ayatollah Khamenei] and who executes well the plans of the Leader. We explain the criteria of [revolutionary] values, loyalty to the Guardian Jurist and able management for the Guards and Basijis.”

In other news

Mohammad Ali Najafi, a member of the Executives for Reconstruction party close to former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and an individual who many thought a likely candidate in the June 2013 presidential election, has suffered a heart attack. Najafi was quickly transferred to Shahid Rajai hospital in Tehran and is currently in recovery.

The office of Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, the mayor of Tehran, had denied claims that he has met with former Presidents Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mohammad Khatami and the Islamic Republic’s founder, Ruhollah Khomeini’s grandson, Hassan Khomeini. The statement by his office was unequivocal and also rejected rumours that Qalibaf had met with the hardline Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi: “The same media outlet a while ago had published a baseless story about Mr. Qalibaf’s meeting with Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi. Unfortunately some of the online media in order to ascertain greater visitors or [entertain] the delusion of imagined enemies, [publish baseless rumours] contrary to the explicit order of the Leader of the Revolution which emphasized that we ought not construe our electoral rival[s] as the great enemy.”

Rafsanjani, Khatami and Khomeini, are all regarded as dissatisfied with the status quo in the aftermath of the 2009 presidential election, which returned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power. Given that Qalibaf himself has presidential ambitions, it would most likely be ill-advised, based on the tacit need for the Supreme Leader’s blessing, along with formal Guardian Council approval, to be identified with such anti-status quo politicians, with a loosely Reformist bent.

Ahmad Amirabadi, a parliamentarian of the Isagaran (Self-sacrificing) faction for the city of Qom, Iran’s main centre of religious learning, has criticized the Ahmadinejad government for the marked decrease in budget allocations for cultural institutions. A number of prominent religious and scholarly institutions such as the Office for Islamic Propagation have suffered as a result of pressure brought about by sanctions.

Foreign Affairs

Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA, has told the Boards of Governors at the IAEA that “in the event of an attack against Iran’s nuclear installations, this country will leave the NPT,” reports Khabar Online.

Friday Prayer Leader, Kazem Sediqi has lauded the “Palestinian resistance” while addressing the congregation at Tehran University today, adding that, “When the Zionists attacked Gaza and were met by the Palestinian resistance groups’ missile defense, their Iron Dome was shattered and they once again realized that no power can protect itself against the will of God.”

Khabar Online, has posted an article covering Majles Speaker Ali Larijani’s trip to Iraq where he met with numerous Iraqi officials and Shi’ite clergymen, including Grand Ayatollahs’ Sistani, Fayyad, Bashir Najafi, and Hakim. Larijani also met with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maleki and Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari in the course of his visit.

Upon Larijani’s return to Tehran today he suggested that Iraq should host the Asian Conference, though details were sketchy in Mehr’s coverage.

Some interesting pictures from Larijani’s trip and his meeting with the Grand Ayatollahs can be viewed here and here.

The hardline Mashreq News has done a spread on the life and work of Dr. Norman Finkelstein, an American Jewish academic and vociferous critic of Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza, but also author of the controversial book, The Holocaust Industry. Both of Finkelstein’s parents survived the Nazi death camps in the course of the Second World War. The article is entitled, “How the Holocaust Industry Came to Serve the Benefits of the Zionists.”

Image of Hojjat al-Islam Ali Saeidi via yjc.ir and image of Ali Larijani alongside Grand Ayatollah Bashir Najafi via Khabar Online.