Iranian President's Chances Of Reelection Increase
By Abbas Djavadi
Ahmadinejad appears to have secured the supreme leader's backing.
The uncertainty over whether or not conservative forces in Iran will throw their
support behind incumbent Mahmud Ahmadinejad's bid for a second presidential term
On April 25, a coalition of 14 conservative and clerical parties and groups
announced that they will indeed support Ahmadinejad's candidacy in the June 12
Coalition secretary Habib Asgarowladi said the group has "conveyed [to
Ahmadinejad] some concerns" on the part of the clergy and political
"But the consensus is," he added, "that, under current conditions, Mr.
Ahmadinejad best represents the thoughts and beliefs of the Imam [the founder of
the Islamic republic, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini] and the Supreme
Leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei]."
Under the Islamic republic's constitution, the supreme leader has the ultimate
decision-making power in all major political and strategic issues. Ahmadinejad
has not yet officially registered to run for a second presidential term.
Supreme Leader's Backing
Over the past few months, some conservative political figures who supported
Ahmadinejad four years ago have voiced concern and criticism of his policies,
especially regarding his management of the economy and the government
Ahmad Ghabel, a political analyst from Tehran, tells RFE/RL's Radio Farda that
it appears that Ahmadinejad now has the final and full support of Khamenei as
the sole candidate of the conservative "principlists."
"If the principlists could sense Ayatollah Khamenei's doubts on Ahmadinejad's
candidacy or any leaning on his [Khamenei's] side toward a different person,"
Ghabel says, "somebody else from among the principlists would certainly enter
All the same, some conservative groups and individual politicians who are
staunch supporters of the supreme leader, such as the Militant Clergy
Association and parliament speaker Ali Larijani, have not yet made any clear
statement about their preferred candidate.
A professor at the University of Tehran, who asked to remain anonymous, agrees
that Khamenei appears to have made up his mind and "Ahmadinejad seems to be the
"I believe that in the inner circle of the supreme leader, they think [U.S.
President Barack] Obama has not taken yet any concrete conciliatory action, and
with the threat of harsher sanctions against Iran, they believe the new U.S.
administration is basically following the Bush policies with nicer words," the
"A hard-line and aggressively anti-Iranian government has come to power in
Israel," he adds. "And look at the situation in Pakistan and the worsening
violence in Iraq. Khamenei doesn't want to send a pigeon to confront hawks in
the region in the next four years."
Abbas Djavadi is associate director of broadcasting with RFE/RL. The views
expressed in this commentary are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those
Copyright (c) 2009 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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