Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi was often referred to as the spiritual father of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The hard-line group he led, the Endurance Front, was one of Iran’s rising political parties and premier contenders in the 2012 parliamentary elections. But since his falling out with the former president and his preferred candidate in the 2013 presidential election withdrew due to hard-line pressure, Reformist newspaper Armand Daily is wondering if one of the most hard-line clerics in Iran has left his political party and been sidelined from the political scene.
Presidential candidate Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei made several public statements at a mourning ceremony for Imam Hadi today. On claims that he would attempt to change Iran’s constitution, Mashaei said that “these claims have been made by the Zionist and English media and they are baseless.”
Prominent Tehran MP, Ismail Kowsari, has made a number of interesting comments relating to the neoconservative group close to hardline Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi, the Endurance Front for the Islamic Revolution, and its relationship with the Ahmadinejad government, as reported by the Reformist daily, Etemaad.
“The Endurance Front have separated from the government and are now counted amongst those excluded from government. In truth, for those who toiled for the government, they expected the government to be the same government of 2005 [i.e., when Ahmadinejad was first elected into office]. In this regard I think it doubtful they will form a coalition with a candidate from the government.”
Kowsari also speculated on the Endurance Front’s possible backing of Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, saying, “it still is not clear whether Saeed Jalili will become a candidate in the election, so we can’t say whether the Endurance Front will support him or not.”
It had previously been speculated that the Endurance Front might back Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, who ran on the front’s list in the last Majles elections. He is both head of the Majles’ minority Principalist faction and a close ally and in-law of the Supreme Leader. But this week the head of Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi’s office, Hojjat al-Islam Jalili, made a number of highly critical statements vis-à-vis Haddad Adel. No doubt due to his formation of a coalition with Principalists, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf and Ali Akbar Velayati, but also others such as Mostafa Pourmohammadi [a staunch Ahmadinejad government critic], who diverge from the Endurance Front on a number of issues and are generally seen as “moderate” by comparison. The comment which really stuck out was when Jalili forthrightly compared Haddad Adel to “edible and delicious water,” which had entered a “salty brook” and is as a result “useless.”
The chairman of the Endurance Front, Hojjat al-Islam Morteza Aqa-Tehrani, has also seemed to back off from previous comments that the Endurance Front would consider a coalition with Ahmadinejad’s favored candidate, stating, “what I said is clear, I said the engagement between the Majles and government is something on which [Ayatollah Khamenei] has spoken and he is still saying the same.” Aqa-Tehrani then named [Saeed] Jalili, [Parviz] Fattah and [Kamran Baqeri] Lankarani as prospective candidates the Endurance Front might put forward for the presidential contest.
Raja News reports on the speech of the spokesman of the hardline Endurance Front (Jebhe-ye Paidari), Kamran Baqeri Lankarani. Baqeri Lankarani, also a former Minister of Health during Ahmadinejad’s first term, began his talk by stating, “when the Supreme Leader says “in a time without Martyr [Morteza] Motahhari and Martyr [Mohammad] Beheshti, great men like the learned Mesbah [Yazdi] fill the vacuum, because in life we must always judge individuals with respect to religious knowledge”.
Motahhari was one of the founding ideologues of the Islamic state, and Mohammad Beheshti was founder of the Islamic Republican Party and one of the Islamist clergy’s most acute political operators. Both were senior disciples of the theocratic state’s founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, and assassinated in the early years of the revolution. Ayatollah Khamenei has long sought to portray the right wing cleric and director of the Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute in Qom, Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, as the inheritor of Ayatollah Motahhari’s mantle, as the most esteemed and officially sanctioned theoretician and ideologue of the Islamic state.