The supreme leader’s deputy representative to Sepah (Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps) said last night that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had asked Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on three separate occasions to intervene in the elections.
In a speech today, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stressed the importance of voting. A high voter turnout is something he and other top leaders of the Islamic Republic have pushed for in the last few weeks before the June 14 election. There are approximately 50 million eligible voters, and despite claims by various Iranian media that voter turnout will be far above 50%, it has been difficult to independently verify.
Khamenei said, “My first recommendation is for an enthusiastic presence at the ballot box. It’s possible that an individual for some reason may not want to support the Islamic system, but he wants to support his country. Everyone must come out and vote.” Interestingly, on June 4, Khamenei used the opposite argument to urge people to vote. “Each vote you give to any of these eight candidates … is a vote you’ve given for the Islamic Republic,” he said. “A vote for any candidate is a vote for the Islamic Republic. It’s a vote of confidence in the system and the mechanisms of the election.”
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
Prominent Reformist political figure Mostafa Tajzadeh, who was arrested after the 2009 elections and is currently in Evin prison, has written a letter to the people of Iran, published in full by Norooz News. Tajzadeh, a member of the Reformist group Islamic Iran Participation Front and who served as a minister in for president Mohammad Khatami’s administration, has written numerous letters since his imprisonment.
The office of the Supreme Leader has issued a chart of the “dos” and “don’ts” for the media in covering the upcoming presidential elections this summer. Iranian media, particularly the websites that are close or attached to specific political figures, tend to be relentlessly aggressive in times of political turmoil, such as elections. The list consists of various statements Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has made on different aspects of the media. One side consists of a list of seven dos. The other consists of 13 don’ts.
The first recommendation is to “Add to the level of public awareness and analysis” because “people should analyze in order to understand that the system is beneficial for them.” The first point continued that whether writing about “politics, culture, economics, foreign policy and especially domestic issues, they must move in the interests of the system.”
The second point is the “three primary responsibilities: critique and monitor, spread information (truthfully and transparently), exchange of ideas.” The point added that “a free media is a sign of the growth of a nation;” however, Khamenei argued, “there other things that are of value and these freedoms must not trample those other things of value,” adding “one must be able to preserve freedom while at the same time understanding the truth, to have a free media while not provoking injuries.”
The third recommendation is for people “who write and speak” to “encourage people toward a better election.” The fourth point to journalists in the media is to “guard the elections as if it were a divine blessing” because “the enemy wants to use the elections against the security of the country.”
In the fifth recommendation, Khamenei warns that “criticism should be logical and realistic.” He offers the example of the media’s recent attention to Iran’s issues with domestic production and the closing of factories. He said, “If there is a factory that is experiencing problems and you want to state that with a realistic view, very good. In addition, for example, two other factories were also opened. If you point out the positive points, the country will understand the issue. If you don’t point out the positive points, the country will not understand the issue.”
Khamenei asked that “the electronic media also bind themselves to the law” in the sixth recommendation. Websites in Iran, as opposed to newspapers, sometimes have fewer bureaucratic hurdles to cross in order to produce their work and sometimes operate more freely. Bloggers have virtually no supervison except for Iran’s cyber police. In November of 2012, relatively unknown blogger Sattah Beheshti was apprehended by the cyber police and died a short time after in custody. Iran’s judiciary stated that while Beheshti had signs of abuse on his body, he may have died from shock. His case has been take up by various activists and online campaigns that have been critical about the lack of accountability in this case.
In the seventh recommendation, Khamenei warned about accepting and “quoting” lies and gossip about one another. He recited the verse from the Quran, “When you heard it, the believing men and the believing women should have had better thoughts about themselves, and should have said, ‘This is obviously a big lie.’ [24:12]” Although, on this last point, Khamenei elaborated that this was a “societal” problem.
This was the top story and headline on many websites inside Iran. Even Iran’s English-language Press TV highlighted this part of the speech to lead one of their segments.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, made these statements while giving a speech in the Eastern Iranian city of Mashhad yesterday. This was his first speech of the New Year. Although the Supreme Leader made these controversial statements, some believe there were positive points to his speech as well, particularly about negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.
After beginning his speech by discussing the “economic progress” Iran experienced the previous year, Khamenei change the subject to America. He said that “America is at the center of conspiracies against Iran, and after 34 years, whenever the [the word] enemy is mentioned, America quickly comes to people’s minds.” He added that “the leaders of America should carefully reflect on in this issue and ask themselves why” this is so.
The Supreme Leader said that “there are also other enemies, such as the wicked English government.” He also said that France “especially in recent years, since [former French President Nicolas] Sarkozy, has made clear its enmity with Iran.”
In regard to Israel, Khamenei said that they “are not at the level to be counted as Iran’s enemy.” He continued that “sometimes, the leaders of the Zionist regime also threaten us; they make threats of a military strike. But in my opinion, they know themselves, and if they don’t, they should know that if they make a mistake, the Islamic Republic will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground.”
Khamenei said that despite the efforts of the Americans, “the world community is in no way an enemy of Iran.”
In regard to the Western sanctions on Iran, Khamenei said that “the Americans, despite their apparent statements of friendship with Iran, from the beginning of the previous year they started with severe sanctions on oil and banks, and they insist that with these hostile acts, not to be considered an enemy.” He said that “if the sanctions had an effect, the fundamental reason is that the country’s economy is attached to oil.” He stressed the need to design “a plan to have an economy not attached to oil as a priority for future administrations.” Khamenei added that an economy not dependent on oil “is possible on the condition that there is correct planning and execution.”
On the nuclear issue, Khamenei said that “it’s been some time that the Americans from various channels have sent messages that they want to hold separate negotiations with Iran about the nuclear program, but based on previous experiences I am not optimistic.” He added that “from the American’s viewpoint, the meaning of talks is to encourage the opposing side to accept their terms.” However, he said that he “is not opposed to negotiations.”
Khamenei said that “many times we said we are not after a nuclear weapon, but the Americans say, ‘We don’t believe you.’ Under these conditions, why should we believe the Americans?” about their intentions on negotiations. He added that “our take is that the recommendation of negotiations is a tactic by the Americans to deceive world public opinion and the Iranian people, and if that is not the case, the Americans need to prove this with their actions.”
One of the tactics Khamenei referred to was the issue of negotiations between America and a representative of the Supreme Leader. Khamenei said that “they said that some [representatives] of the Supreme Leader have negotiated with America, while such words are sheer lies, until now no one from the Supreme Leader has negotiated with America.” Khamenei however did admit that “various administrations, on some specific issues, have negotiated with the Americans, and on those negotiations the administration was bound to observe the Supreme Leader’s red lines.”
Khamenei said that “if the Americans are really inclined to solve the nuclear issue with Iran, they must acknowledge Iran’s right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.” He added, “if the Americans truly want to end this case, the path to a solution that we recommend is that in words and deeds, to stop the enmities with the nation of Iran.”