Newspaper Close to Khamenei Pressures Conservatives to Unite

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Hossein Shariatmadari, the editor of Kayhan newspaper and appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has written an op-ed pleading with the remaining Principilist candidates in the presidential race to form a coalition before the election on Friday.

Various polls show Principilists Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and Saeed Jalili and moderate Hassan Rouhani as ahead. If no candidate receives 50% of the votes, there will be a runoff. Rouhani has been drawing large crowds in the last few days leading up the election, which may be a cause of concern for Principilists.

Although Shariatmadari does not mention anyone by name, the article appears to be addressed to nuclear negotiator and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council  Jalili, Tehran Mayor Ghalibaf, and Supreme Leader adviser Ali Akbar Velayati.

Shariatmadari wrote in this article full rhetorical questions highlighted by numerous exclamation points that “When the respected Principilists have more respect for themselves than for the discourse of Principilism, and with a unjustifiable lack of planning refuse to unite behind one candidate, naturally and without doubt, the roaring river of votes of the Principilists becomes a few streams, that those claiming Reformism will jump over with avarice.” Many Reformists, including former president Mohammad Khatami, have backed the moderate Rouhani in this election.

Shariatmadari recounted the story of the Qajar prince who had a hunting picture taken with a rifle in his hand and his foot on the deer. It was later revealed, according to Shariatmadari, that the killing of the deer had been done by the prince’s aids, who had brought the animal to the prince to pose with for the picture.

Shariatmadari concludes, “In this case, the Principilist candidates, whether they know it and want it or do not know it and do not want it, are playing the same role as the prince’s aids and have trapped the deer of Priniciplism and have gifted it to the Qajar prince to pose with. To understand this reality does not take a complex or deep mind; it is an obvious case.” He continued, “It is surprising — read: unfortunate — that the respected Principilist candidates pay no attention to this obvious point. What about this is doubtful or ambiguous?”

Shariatmadari continued, “Can’t you see that the traitorous American-Israeli seditionists from 2009 who claim Reformism are in their camp? And their candidate [Rouhani] takes pride in their support, the support of people who had a clear role in the 2009 sedition as a fifth column, and took orders from the Zionist George Soros, Michael Ledeen and others?”

“Maybe some Principilists, who are aware of my devotion,” wrote Shariatmadari, “might frown and be upset with what I’m saying, or have disregarded it and whispered to themselves, ‘What kind of thing is this to say?’ But you can’t deny an undeniable reality by frowning. You have entered the scene by representing Principilists, and Principilist discourse is another interpretation of Ayatollah Khomeini, the revolution and Ayatollah Khamenei. It’s been entrusted in your hands, and you know and we know that each one of you dear and honorable brothers do not own it. Is this trusteeship so that each one of you can take a point of it in your hands and go in your own direction?”

“You’ve heard of the lesson of the two mothers who both claimed to be the mother of one child,” Shariatmadari wrote. “When Imam Ali, seeing that his advice and warnings were not heeded, as a ploy — and not with intent to carry out the act — ordered that a sword be brought, and that each mother be given her own half. The real mother withdrew her complaints, and Imam Ali awarded her the child. Is this situation just a quote from books and documents for speeches and sermons? Don’t you see that by insisting on staying in the race, you’re fragmenting the numerous Principilist votes? Why don’t you decide among yourself who is the real mother? And how can that be recognized?”