Mehr News Leaks Unconfirmed List of Candidates

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Mehr News has published an unconfirmed list of approved candidates leaked from the Interior Ministry. The Guardian Council presented their list of approved candidates today to the minister of interior, who will make the official announcement tomorrow. Although the list is still unofficial, it was re-published by other sites and shared widely on social media.

According to the Mehr report, a list of eight candidates have been approved. They are Gholamali Haddad Adel, top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, Secretary-General of the Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei, former nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani, former vice president under Mohammad Khatami Mohammad Reza Aref, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, Foreign-Policy Adviser to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati and former minister under Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani Mohammad Gharazi.

The list excludes two notable candidates: Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei.

Newspaper Close to Khamenei Says Rafsanjani ‘Encouraged’ to Run by ‘Seditionists’

The editor of Kayhan newspaper, which is close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, believes that Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani “submitted” to the encouragement of “seditionists” around him to run for the presidency.

Hussein Shariatmadari, the editor of Kayhan, wrote that “a few months ago,” Rafsanjani said, “My age is such that I don’t have the required ability to perform the heavy responsibility of the presidency and administrate the country’s affairs, and I believe my presidency is against religious laws and detrimental to the system.” Shariatmadari believes, however, this was before Rafsanjani “was encouraged to become a candidate by the traitorous seditions of 2009 and some American and European officials and centers.”

The article refers to a report by the “US National Security Council” on Oct. 6, 2012, in which their “inclination for Rafsanjani’s candidacy” was expressed. As stated in the report, “Rafsanjani, as a moderate individual, is the best choice for the West.” It is after this report that Shariatmadari believes that “the seditionists, including former president Mohammad Khatami … and imprisoned seditionists and refugees in America and Europe began to convince Rafsanjani to run” because the “outcast seditionists” see it as their “last chance” and “final opportunity.”

Shariatmadari writes that Rafsanjani “with the verdict of the Supreme Leader, is the head of the Expediency Council and therefore he is not outside of the system.” He continued, “The Expediency Council is an advisory center and Rafsanjani can use his several decades of experience as the head of this council, but the presidency is a heavy burden … for someone his age” to take up. Rafsanjani is 78 years old, and his age has become a topic of controversy among his critics.

The article states that “several groups” began visiting Rafsanjani and told him that “the people are ready for his presidency” and that “they want him to enter the scene as a savior.” Shariatmadari said “Rafsanjani was encouraged” by “the foreign media and continuous analysis and interpretations about the delusion that the setting is ready for his candidacy and eventual victory.”