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Iran Presidential Elections: Karroubi rejects Khatami's request to withdraw?


Source: Press TV

Mehdi Karroubi determined to remain in the election

Mehdi Karroubi will not withdraw from the election in favor of any presidential contender, says member of Iran's National Confidence Party.

"It is not logical for a candidate who announced his candidacy months ago to suddenly withdraw from the election," said member of the central council of the National Confidence Party, Abolfazl Shakoori.

Shakoori referred to a recent meeting between former president Mohammad Khatami and presidential hopeful Karroubi, saying no decision regarding the withdrawal of any Reformist candidate was made in the meeting.

Shakoori made the remarks while speculations ran high that Khatami has met Karroubi to persuade him to withdraw his candidacy in favor of Iran's Mir Hussien Mousavi, another Reformist candidate.

Some Reformist figures have been trying to reach a consensus over a single candidate for the Reformist camp.

In a shocking move, Khatami withdrew from the race in March for what he described as an effort to avoid the split of the votes of the Reformist camp.

"Karroubi won't withdraw because he has made a lot of effort to maintain his position," Shakoori added.

The Reformist cleric who heads the National Confidence Party was the first candidate to announce his bid to run for president. Karroubi, on various occasions has declared his determination to stand until the election day, June 12.

"I have neither signed contracts with anyone nor have been promised anything. Mr. Khatami withdrew his candidacy by virtue of his personal decision. In my meeting with Mr. Mousavi I persuaded him to join the fray," Karroubi told Zanjan University students on Saturday.

Ahmadinejad blasted over domestic policies

An Iranian Principlist party criticizes President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying his four-year handling of internal affairs has been weak.

Some Principlists will not support Ahmadinejad in the upcoming presidential election because they are critics of his performance and management, Tabnak quoted Amir-Ali Amiri -- head of the political office of the Development and Justice Party -- as saying on Saturday.

According to him, Ahmadinejad did not make optimal use of the Principlists' capabilities in handling the country's affairs.

The hard-working government of President Ahmadinejad could not make considerable achievements in domestic policies because of its mismanagement and waste of resources, he insisted.

The politician went on to say, "If Principlists have concerns about the country, they will refrain from providing any support for Ahmadinejad. Otherwise, it shows that they think of factional interests instead of national interests."

Amiri said the problems the country currently faces includes a decrease in oil revenues and the global economic crisis. He called on Principlists to consider an effective manager from the choice of election candidates for the next four years to counter the challenges.

He voiced support for the idea of a coalition government, floated by Secretary of Iran's Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei, and said the candidate elected by the coalition front should remain committed to its principles.

The architects of the coalition-government idea believe that a person cannot single-handedly lead the country and that it is therefore necessary to seek the help of politicians from both political poles in order to be able to usher in more consensus-based politics.

Former foreign minister Ali-Akbar Velayati, Tehran mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf and Rezaei are together considered to have a high chance of success in contesting the presidency in the upcoming elections for the possible formation of a coalition government.

Amiri said that Ahmadinejad should be allowed to join in on the coalition-government plans, only if "he accepts to work within its framework".

Abtahi canvassing support for Karroubi

Iran's former vice-president has been named as the cultural consultant of presidential contender Mehdi Karroubi's elections headquarter.

Abtahi who is a close associate of former president Mohammad Khatami and member of the central council of Association of Combatant Clerics has thrown his weight behind the reformist cleric Karroubi.

The decision comes amid efforts of some Reformist figures who seek reaching a consensus over a single candidate for the Reformist camp.

"The Reformist platform was divided into two groups, the supporters of Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, so it is natural that we pave the way for the Reformists' victory, which is not a big deal," Abtahi told Fars News Agency.

Abtahi did not reveal the candidate of the Association of Combatant Clerics, saying that the party members have not held any meetings on the issue as of yet and the time of the decision making is not clear.

"Despite the greatest respect that I have for Mr. Mousavi's friends and supporters, I have decided to contribute to the elections as Mr. Karroubi's consultant," Abtahi said.

The Reformist figure enumerated Karroubi's boldness, support for people's rights, ability of interaction and cooperation with the system, flexibility and interactive nature in foreign policy as his reasons for backing Karroubi's campaign.

Karroubi who is the first candidate to announce his bid to run for president has repeatedly reiterated his determination to stay in the scene of the elections until the election day, June 12 .

Iran's leading reformist figure Seyyed Mohammad Khatami is reportedly set to meet Mehdi Karroubi to discuss the issue of "vote split".

According to Mohammad Mohammadrezaei, an official at Iran's election headquarters, Khatami is expected to discuss concerns over Karroubi and Mirhossein Moussavi's decisions to run together on the Reformist platform.

In a shocking move, Khatami withdrew from the race in March for what he described as an effort to avoid the split of the votes of the Reformist camp.

Two Reformist parties, the Islamic Iran Participation Front and Mujahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization have officially declared their support for former premier Mir-Hossein Mousavi at the tenth presidential race in June 2009.

Ahmadinejad wants hopefuls treated with respect

The Iranian president has warned against any efforts to prevent presidential candidates from making use of their "campaign opportunities".

"All candidates should have equal opportunities for their electoral campaign. No one has the right to damage the electoral chances of any candidate," Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Saturday.

His remarks came as a response to criticism leveled against some officials that have prevented candidates from making campaign speeches.

With less than two months to the elections, the president also requested that presidential hopefuls avoid "character assassination".

It is "illegal and immoral" to insult candidates and to prevent them from holding campaign meetings, he said.

Iran's June 12 elections will see former Majlis speaker Mehdi Karroubi and former prime minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi stand for election on the Reformist platform.

Incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has yet to officially announce a bid for re-election.

Iran's former president Mohammad Khatami, who is popular among the Reformists, officially withdrew his candidacy for the Iranian presidential vote on March 17, saying he wanted to prevent the division of the votes.

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