The Reformist daily Etemaad has reported that three well-known Reformist politicians have met with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The politicians were former MP and vice president for Legal affairs and Parliamentary Affairs, Hojjat al-Islam Majid Ansari, Hojjat al-Islam Abdol Vahed Mousavi Lari, a former Interior Minister and Eshaq Jahangiri, a former Minister of the Industry. It has also been speculated that Jahangiri could be a potential presidential candidate put forward by the Reformists.
According to Etemaad the last official meeting between members of the Reformist camp and the Supreme Leader was 16 June 2009 when representatives of the presidential candidates attended a meeting in order to convey the latter’s views on key issues. Moreover, it is claimed that since that day there have been no reports of meetings between the Supreme Leader and the Reformists.
Ansari, who is also a member of the Reformist Assembly of Combatant Clergy, described the meeting as “very good” and added that a number of the major issues facing the country were discussed. Details however, were not forthcoming. But apparently the upcoming presidential election was not addressed in the course of the meeting.
The meeting is significant insofar as since Iran’s controversial 2009 presidential election which saw the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a considerable swathe of Reformist politicians have been jailed and pushed to the side lines of Iranian political life. Two of the major Reformist political organizations, the Organization of the Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Iran Participation Front, were also dissolved.
Hojjat al-Islam Mehdi Taeb, the head of the Ammar Strategic Base (an organization established to fight the “soft war” against the Islamic Republic of Iran), in a meeting with university student members of the Basij paramilitary force, has stated: “Syria is the 35th province [of Iran] and a strategic province for us. If the enemy attacks us and wants to appropriate either Syria or Khuzestan (in southern Iran), the priority is that we keep Syria.”
Taeb added: “If we keep Syria, we can get Khuzestan back too, but if we lose Syria, we cannot keep Tehran … Syria had an army, but did not have the ability to manage a war inside Syria’s cities. It is for this reason the Iranian government suggested that “in order to manage an urban war you must form a Basij …The Syrian Basij was formed with 60,000 [members] of the party of God [the religious and ideologically zealous] who took over the war in the streets from the army”.
Taeb also commented on the upcoming presidential election stating: “The main choices of the Reformists are [Mohammad Ali] Najafi, [Mohammad Reza] Aref, and Eshagh Jahangiri, although they still haven’t reached a conclusion on them. Hojjat al-Islam Mousavi Khoeiniha [the head of the Reformist Association of Combatant Clerics] says don’t participate in the election, but [former President Mohammad] Khatami says we will participate and his argument is that if we don’t enter [the election] we will forever be eliminated … The hit we [Taeb is now referring to himself and fellow radical Principalists] took from the last election was that Ahmadinejad was not a team player. If he stayed with the team of the ninth government [Ahmadinejad’s first term], he would have become a legend and the difficulties endured because of sanctions wouldn’t have been as much.”