Has Iran’s presidential election begun on Facebook?

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Facebook Rezaei

Serat News reports on the various Facebook profile pages of Iranian politicians and “probable electoral candidates.” The Serat editorial states that the country’s electoral laws prohibit premature electioneering and that doing so can be interpreted as an electoral violation. Nonetheless, the article goes on, several individuals have “circumvented” the law by setting up Facebook profiles and fan pages.

Facebook Qalibaf

The article continues that while clerics who plan to compete in the presidential race such as Ali Fallahian and Mostafa Pourmohammadi, have not shown themselves particularly disposed toward “modern advertising,” laymen such as Mohsen Rezaei, Mohammad Reza Bahonar and Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf have an active presence on the social networking site, with multiple accounts bearing their names.

Facebook Jalili

Saeed Jalili, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, and Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, a member of the 2+1 presidential electoral coalition and in-law to Iran’s supreme leader, also have a presence on Facebook with pages dedicated to their online promotion. Serat does, however, admit that it is often not entirely clear who is, in fact, responsible for running these profiles and fan pages.

Facebook Haddad Adel

Serat was also sure to mention a page entitled “I hate Mashaei,” attacking President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s controversial ally, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei.

When speaking of the Reformist candidates, the article claims that their presence is less significant, only mentioning Mohammad Reza Aref and Mostafa Kavakebian. No mention is made of former President Mohammad Khatami, or Interior Minister Abdollah Nuri, who it has also been speculated could attempt to run.

In other news

Hojjat al-Islam Ali Fallahian, Iran’s infamous former Minister of Intelligence under Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has said that he will run as a candidate in Iran’s upcoming presidential election. Fallahian, a member of the Assembly of Experts, said: “The demands of the people had reached a sufficient amount and my candidacy in the 2013 election is finalized.”

Fallahian has announced his electoral slogan as “developed Islamic country.”

He added: “The stabilization of prices and calm in the bazaar by combating inflation are the priorities of my electoral programme. The creation of an electronic government and channelling the industry of the country towards the post-industrial [model] are the other programmes I am considering.” Fallahian insisted that the Principalist faction will support his campaign.

Also worthy of note is that Fallahian’s deputies, most notably Saeed Emami, were accused during the presidency of Mohammad Khatami of killing a slew of Iranian intellectuals, which has since come to be known as the “chain murders.”

Interpol has also issued an arrest warrant for Fallahian who has been accused of having a role in the 1994 Buenos Aires Jewish Center bombing. He has also been found guilty by German and Austrian courts of planning the assassination of Kurdish dissidents in Berlin in 1992.

The head of Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces, Brigadier Ismail Ahmadi Moqaddam has announced that Iran has 1 million to 1.3 million “official addicts,” 700,000 “recreational addicts” and 200,000 alcoholics.

Ahmadi Moqaddan also stated that while home laboratories manufacturing illegal drugs were previously only found in Tehran and Islamshahr (an area in southern Tehran), they have since spread across the country. He also stated that addiction to hard drugs has increased significantly in the country.

Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, Ahmadinejad’s deputy for the Supreme Council for Iranians’ Abroad, has asked the Ministry of Education and Azad University to make the necessary accommodations for the return of Iranian university students from abroad.

According to the Supreme Council for Iranians Abroad, the decrease in the value of the Iranian currency, the rial, has created numerous difficulties for Iranian students studying abroad, and is the reason why it has decided to issue an order for the transfer of students from abroad to home universities.

Mashaei has also stressed that the order was issued on the basis of the views of  Ahmadinejad.

Hojjat al-Islam Ruhollah Hosseinian, an MP for Tehran and prominent member of the Endurance Front for the Islamic Revolution, close to the hard-line Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi, appears to have threatened Ahmadinejad openly on the Majles floor, without mentioning him by name, stating: “The same sword we unsheathed in defence of the authorities, with permission we will draw against the very same person [Ahmadinejad].”

Hosseinian has been a staunch defender of the president in the past, but it appears he has increasingly begun to distance himself from the latter, with the attack by Ahmadinejad supporters against Majles Speaker Ali Larijani in Qom, acting as the proverbial straw breaking the camel’s back.

Hosseinian added: “Our relations with persons are relative to their relations to the Supreme Leader and anyone who acquires distance in this regard, we by the same measure will distance ourselves from him.”