Has Iran’s presidential election begun on Facebook?

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Facebook Rezaei

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.

Facebook Qalibaf

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.

Facebook Jalili

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.

Facebook Haddad Adel

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.

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Former Head of the Revolutionary Guards: We will enter the area if we sense a threat

Commander Yahya Rahim Safavi, former Revolutionary Guards chief and advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Iran’s joint chiefs of staff, in the course of a meeting of ex-servicemen in Tehran has warned of the prospect of a “new sedition from some inside [the country]” and also ominously stated that if “we sense a danger to the regime, we will enter the arena.”

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Hardline MP: Two Groups don’t want Ahmadinejad to finish his term

Controversial hardline parliamentarian, Ruhollah Hosseinian, has told Mehr News that two groups are trying their utmost to ensure that President Ahmadinejad’s government comes to an end before his second term officially ends. The two groups in question, according to Hosseinian are the “seditionists”, which is a broad reference for the Green Movement and its Reformist sympathisers, but also “those inside the regime who support the seditionists”, sometimes referred to as the “silent seditionists”, which are said to include Majles Speaker Ali Larijani and his Deputy, Mohammadreza Bahonar, two Principalist politicians who were reported to have congratulated opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi for winning the 2009 presidential election. Other Conservative politicians who are deemed to not have condemned the uprising of 2009 with sufficient severity also fall into this category. He stressed that Ahmadinejad’s opponents endeavour to anger the president, so  as to provoke and “abuse” his main “weakness”, his “bad temper” and “stubbornness”, which is not expedient for the country.

Hosseinian also expressed his disagreement with the President being summoned before parliament to answer questions on his government’s role in the on-going economic crisis.

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