Ahmadinejad Asked for Khamenei’s Intervention in Elections



The supreme leader’s deputy representative to Sepah (Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps) said last night that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had asked Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on three separate occasions to intervene in the elections.

Hojat al-Islam Haj Sadeghi, speaking in a conference at Qom University, said, “The president went to the supreme leader three times for a government decree and tried to bargain with him, but the supreme leader did not accept his demands.” A “government decree” is a edict by which only the supreme leader can overrule decisions made by other institutions in the government.

The Guardian Council, which vets candidates who registered to run in the election, disqualified Ahmadinejad’s longtime aid Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei from running for the presidency. It was reported that Mashaei had written a letter to the supreme leader in response to his disqualification.

According to Sadeghi, “Before the Guardian Council announced their decision, the supreme leader said to Friday prayer leaders in the provinces that ‘I have not said anything to the Guardian Council, nor will I.’” However, it was reported that “an intelligence official” had met with the Guardian Council before the announcements. In response to accusations of interference, a Guardian Council spokesman said that they “meet with many institutions” before making their final decision.

Mehr News reported that “[President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad wanted to become a national champion, but he took the wrong path.” Sadeghi said “the president should have stopped some of his actions in order to reach this goal.” Sadeghi said that he asked Ahmadinejad in a recent meeting,“You entered the scene with a revolutionary discourse and Hezbollah supported you. Why did you change your discourse?”

Despite having run on a platform of populism and traditional revolutionary ideals in his first term, during Ahmadinejad’s second term, he often invoked Iran’s pre-Islamic past in an attempt to appeal to voters. This move, and his battles with the supreme leader, ultimately caused him to drop out of favor with the supreme leader, hard-liners and traditional conservatives (many of whom only supported him for the sake of unity against Reformists). Unlike previous years, this year, the Principilists failed to unite, paving the way for the landslide victory of moderate Hassan Rouhani in the presidential election.

Sadeghi, in attempt to show that that Principilists have not necessarily lost their way, said, “We cannot attribute some of the extremism of some managers within the administration to Principilism. We do not defend Principilists, we support Principilism. And we know Principilism to be the literature of the Islamic revolution.”

Sadeghi said that the president elect “will have regional, domestic and international challenges.” He stressed that “We do not want the new president to fail. Maybe some of us, based on the positions that were presented, would have wanted someone else to be elected. But today we congratulate him … and with all of our strength are ready to help him.”