Who Will Be on Iran’s P5+1 Negotiating Team?

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Reformist Etemaad newspaper has drawn a list of potentials for President-elect Hassan Rouhani’s new nuclear negotiating team. Yesterday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters that negotiations with the P5+1 will continue once Rouhani takes office and picks a new negotiating new team.

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Newspaper Close to Khamenei Pressures Conservatives to Unite

untitled 2 Hossein Shariatmadari, the editor of Kayhan newspaper and appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has written an op-ed pleading with the remaining Principilist candidates in the presidential race to form a coalition before the election on Friday. Continue reading

Reformism Dead, Announces Iran Media With Candidate’s Departure

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With Reformist candidate Mohammad Reza Aref pulling out of the presidential race and leaving Hassan Rouhani as the sole front-runner among the moderate candidates, the pressure now appears to be on conservatives, or Principilists, to either pull out of the race or build a coalition.

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14 Points On Saeed Jalili According to Hezbollah

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Foreign-based Persian language news site Digarban has picked up social media post by an individual who claims to be a former student of nuclear negotiator and presidential candidate Saeed Jalili. The former student from Imam Sadegh University – where many Sepah (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) have graduated from – describes Jalili as “a good man, but not for the presidency.”

According to the student, many of the 14 points on Jalili were confirmed by “research and interviews with individuals who know him from the Foreign Ministry.” Although the 14 points “are presented by a friend,” the former student adds his own observations in parenthesis. [My comments are in brackets.]

Jalili’s surprise last-minute registration and approval by the Guardian Council has caught some analysts off guard. He has presented himself as a hardliner on religious, social and foreign policy issues. Some on foreign Persian language media sites and others on social media have speculated that Jalili’s presence and position in the elections is a ploy to convince more liberal voters to turn out to vote for their own candidate to increase voter participation, something which is desired by the Iranian government. Continue reading

Jalili Says ‘Rights’ of Western Women Must Be Defended

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Iranian presidential candidate and apparent frontrunner Saeed Jalili gave a speech on Wednesday at a women’s conference in which he discussed his views on women’s role in society.

In differentiating between the Western and Islamic societies, Jalili said that “The base is with the family. And [in] the meetings and seminars conducted with the supreme leader, what shapes a society is not the individual, but the family.” He continued, “The differing views bring about different effects. Western thought says that an individual’s capacity in society must viewed from a cost-benefit approach because women are half of the population and half of the work force cannot be ignored, and they must be used to move the economy; they’ve even passed laws based on this thought. The structure of their society has taken shape based on this view.”

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15 Reasons Why Ahmadinejad Supports Jalili

Iran's chief negotiator Saeed Jalili lea

Certain Iranian media have begun to speculate that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will ultimately support presidential candidate Saeed Jalili. Ahmadinejad has long supported his ally and chief of staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei for the presidency. However, Mashaei was disqualified by the Guardian Council to run.

The Alef website, which is close to traditional conservative parliament member Ahamd Tavakoli, mentioned the support of pro-Ahmadinejad for Jalili, and their immediate denial. Muhammad Sahimi covered and analyzed in Muftah the support of websites close to Ahmadinejad of Jalili’s candidacy. The Entekhab website, which is not friendly to Ahmadinejad, quoted an article from pan-Arab Al Hayat in which they claim that Mashaei has handed his campaign staff over to Jalili.

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Mashaei Says He Will Reveal Information ‘Behind the Scenes’

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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.”

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Ahmadinejad has alleged 3 hour meeting at the home of imprisoned leader’s sister

Ahmadinejad and Noghre kar Baztab-e emruz claims that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad along with his family visited, and for some three hours, the home of the sister of Zahra Rahnavard, one of the political leaders of the so-called Green Movement and wife of Mir Hossein Mousavi, who is currently under house arrest. Baztab claims that Ahmadinejad visited the family in order to offer his condolences to Abdolhamid Noghre Kar and his wife Mrs. Rahnavard, Zahra Rahnavard’s sister. The alleged visit which has only just been leaked is reported to have taken place last week. Ahmadinejad’s visit has as already been interpreted as another act of effrontery to the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who according to the head of Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces, is directly responsible for the house arrest of Mousavi, Rahnavard, and Hojjat al-Islam Karroubi. Apparently Mrs. Rahnavard complained to Ahmadinejad of “lack of news” from Mousavi, Rahnavard, as well the opposition leaders’ children. Ahmadinejad and Noghre Kar have known one another for some 40 years and have family ties. Noghre Kar, like Ahmadinejad, was a professor at the University of Science and Industry. When Ahmadinejad and other fellow students such as Sadegh Mahsouli (Ahmadinejad’s former Minister of the Interior) and Mojtaba Hashemi Samareh (a senior advisor to Ahmadinejad) were studying at the university, Noghre Kar encouraged them to continue their studies. Continue reading

What are the Endurance Front’s choices ahead of the presidential election?

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.

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