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Principlists to dissuade Khatami from running: MP

TEHRAN, Feb. 14 (Mehr News Agency) - MP Ali Motahhari revealed on Saturday that some principlists will negotiate with former president Mohammad Khatami to convince him not to contest the June presidential election so that principlists would consider candidates other than the current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"We will discuss a plan with Khatami according to which (principlists) introduce two candidates in the presidential election such that Ahmadinejad is not one of them... " he told Mehr News Agency.

"The plan ... was discussed with many people and all of them agreed with that. However, the pursuit of the plan will depend on Khatami's withdrawal from the election."

Motahhari added if Khatami runs for president, the plan will be abandoned.

He also stated if Khatami runs for president, then there will be a general agreement among principlists on Ahmadinejad candidacy.

The conservative MP also said Khatami is not fit for presidential post.

"I do not agree with Khatami's candidacy because I see him as an intellectual figure not an as administrative one, and I do not see him as suitable for presidency. All in all, if Khatami does not nominate, it is better for him although he is the final decision maker."

Khatami appoints ex-aide as election campaign chief

The former first vice president Mohammad Reza Aref has been appointed as Mohammad Khatami's election campaign chief, the Mehr News Agency has learnt.

The decision came at Saturday night meeting as some members of the Baran Foundation met with Khatami who announced his official candidacy for the June presidential elections on February 8.

According to reports, about 50 campaign offices allied to Khatami have started their activities across the country.

Principalists will meet Ahmadinejad to voice concerns

Followers of the Imam and Leadership Front Secretary General Habibollah Asgaroladi on Saturday announced that the front will have a meeting with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to share the principalists' concerns about the upcoming presidential election.

Principalists must make collective efforts in the run up to the election, otherwise they would not succeed, he said in a meeting with the Islamic Coalition Party officials in Tehran.

Asgaroladi said the next president should gain more votes than previous presidents of the country and that the future administration should prove more efficient.

He also said that any criticism of the current administration and president must be "constructive".

The Islamic Coalition Party Secretary-General Mohammad Nabi Habibi also said in the meeting that his party would like a conservative politician to win in the June election.

Habibi argued that if principalists contest the presidential race with a single candidate they would gain a high number of votes.

The comments from the conservative camp come as former reformist president Mohammad Khatami, who is seen as the arch rival of any conservative candidate, has declared candidacy for the June presidential election.

... Payvand News - 02/15/09 ... --

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