The presence of Ali Fallahian, the feared former intelligence minister of Iran, at a conference in celebration of president-elect Hassan Rouhani’s campaign staff has sparked controversy in Iranian media, prompting those close to Rouhani to deny that Fallahian was ever invited.
A member of the Assembly of Experts, Ali Fallahian, formally registered today for Iran’s presidential elections. Fallahian, who is believed to be the infamous “Master Key” in Iran’s notorious “Chain Murders” of dissidents and is wanted by Interpol in connection to the Buenos Aires AMIA bombing, said to reporters after registering, “I will not retreat on any front.”
Fallahian, who was minister of intelligence under Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s presidency, added that “Rafsanjani said that he won’t run, so if he decides to run, my reason is justified because a lot of my supporters asked to me promise that I would not step aside in favor of other individuals, and no one would be happy if I don’t fulfill my oath.”
The last time Fallahian ran in the elections was in 2001. He received less than one percent of the total votes.
On foreign policy and Iran’s regional role, Fallahian said, “The arrogant powers’ politics for the region has failed and they are experiencing economic problems.” he added, “We are hopeful that Iran can play a useful part in driving out the arrogant powers and be influential in bringing about stability, security and progress for the region.”
Bahman Sharifzadeh, a cleric close to Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei told Entekhab that Mashaei will register for the presidential elections on Saturday, the final day of registration.
Sharifzadeh said that he saw “no reason for Mashaei’s disqualification” from the Guardian Council. The reporter asked why, then, did Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei write a letter objecting to Mashei’s appointment as Ahmadinejad’s vice president in the president’s second term. Sharifzadeh responded, “This is very misleading to say, that Khamenei did not want Mashaei to become vice president. First, read the letter, and did Khamenei give this letter to be published?”
After the 2009 elections, Ahmadinejad was attacked by hard-liners in Iran for his nomination of Mashaei as his top deputy. Although Ahmadinejad first resisted the criticism from his right, it ultimately took Khamenei’s intervention to persuade Ahmadinejad to give up the appointment.
Regarding Khamenei’s intervention, Sharifazdeh continued, “The contents of the letter from the supreme leader [to Ahmadinejad] was that ‘a group of your friends will be disappointed in this appointment, and it is better that this appointment not take place.’ This sentence screams that the issue was about Ahmadinejad’s friends, and not the supreme leader.” He added, “The next letter from the supreme leader, stating that appointing Mashei in other positions is not a problem, confirms that Khamenei has no issues with Mashaei.”
Hojat al-Islam Mohammad Bagher Kharrazi, the secretary-general of Hezbollah in Iran, also registered today. Kharrazi said that his four main goals would be to focus on “epic progress, calm, economic relief and health.”
Kharrazi also reiterated statements he had made previously about a “Greater Iran.” He talked about “turning Iran into our Greater Homeland and have our sacred culture reach our Greater Persian Islamic borders, which starts from China and continues unto Africa.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Serat News, a hardline outlet often critical of the president and his administration and said to be close to Kayhan, launches an attack against several of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s allies including, First Vice Minister, Mohammadreza Rahimi and Press advisor, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, who has been recently jailed. The main object of derision is their allegedly “eulogising” of political figures they turned against once they obtained high office in the Ahmadinejad government.