“In the West, to acquire your vote they will do anything,” said influential cleric Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi. “But,” he added at a meeting with the conservative Islamic Coalition Party, “we should not do anything to acquire the votes of a deviant group.”
Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi continued that “in the arena of our elections, our culture should not be like the West’s culture, with empty promises and demagoguery. The principals of Islam must be followed for [campaign] commercials and programs.”
The live televised debates of Iran’s 2009 elections saw perhaps the contentious and entertaining debates in Iranian election history. This year, live debates have been cancelled. However, the candidates have already began to use their respective websites and news outlets to promote themselves and attack their political opponents.
Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi also took aim at President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in his speech. He said, “Now there are many cultural problems in the country and everyone knows that the administration has not shown any sensitivity to these cultural issues.”
Of the cultural issues facing Iran, Ayatollah Shiraz pointed to the “rates of divorce in the immediate months of after marriage, which shows that the foundation of the family is unstable.” He also said that the “decrease in age of those afflicted with addictions and financial corruption should be a warning to all of us.” Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi also blamed “foreign media for the spread of moral corruption.”
At a meeting with the managers and the head of the Medical Sciences department in the city of Qom for the “Week of Health,” Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi said that “imitating the West has given Muslims illnesses. A prime example of this is unhealthy and non-useful food.” He said that the naming of “Health and Hygiene Week” was an important step because “a human deals first with his health and security.” He continued, “there are five blessings in life and no one but God has the power to grant these; health is the first blessing which causes a human to have the power to follow divine commands.”
Ahmadinejad is “delusional” and “unstable”
Presidential candidate and deputy speaker of parliament Mohamad Reza Bahonar was asked by the Aria news website to name three problems of President Ahmadinejad and his administration. Bahonar replied that “although one shouldn’t ignore his positive aspects or of his administration, since you asked about his negative traits, three serious problems I see are that he is inclined toward illusions, his management is unstable and he has poor manners.”
“As far as his delusions,” Bahonar said, “we saw this from him and the people surrounding him from the very first days.” As president, Ahmadinejad has casually made repeated references about the return of the messiah. In a widely circulated video, Ahmadinejad is also seen talking about a UN speech in which he saw a halo around his head.
In regard to his management style, Bahonar said that “changes without appropriate justification have taken away both the initiative of the ministers and the ability to conduct serious planning.” Banohar also said that “the poor manners and even adventurism both domestically and outside the country cost the country and the administration greatly.” During his two terms, the president has made controversial remarks about Israel, homosexuals and 9/11, and domestically he has often resorted to name calling, most controversially after the 2009 elections, when he called the opposition protesters “dirt and dust.”