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Iran: Reformists try to get behind a single candidate

Source: Radio Zamaneh

Iranian reformists are working toward consensus over a "single candidate" for the coming 2012 presidential election to "attract the majority of the vote and reclaim the executive power from Ahmadinejad supporters," says the parliamentary adviser to the Expediency Council.

Ghodratollah Alikhani told the Mehr News Agency on Saturday: "We are discussing political figures in the reformist movement but we have not reached a final choice yet."

Iran's next presidential election is slated for June 2013.

So far, the name of Mohammadreza Aref has emerged as a strong choice for the reformist camp, which has been confirmed by Hassan Ghafourifard, a spokesman for the reformist Islamic Engineers Society.

Ghafourifard added that former president Mohammad Khatami and former interior minister Abdollah Nouri are highly unlikely to run in the coming election.

Analysts have also named Mohammad-bagher Ghalibof, the current mayor of Tehran, as the final candidate for the principalists, the conservative faction of the Islamic Republic.

Ahmadinejad supporters are trying to present Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, Ahmadinejad's chief aide, as a presidential candidate.

Other possible candidates in the reformist camps are political activists Isaac Sajjadian and Mohammad Ali Najafi, linked to the Executives of Construction Party.

Iran's last presidential election triggered mass protests, after reformist candidates challenged the victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with allegations of vote fraud.

The government cracked down on protesters, killing and incarcerating many, and it has practically ousted the reformist camp from the political arena over the past three years.

The reformists candidates who ran in the 2009 presidential election are currently under house arrest.

Intelligence Minister says politics closed to "sedition" leaders

Iranian Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi says the government will not allow "leaders of sedition" to return to the political arena.

The Iranian establishment refers to the reformist opposition figures who challenged the results of the 2009 presidential elections as "leaders of sedition." Their allegations of election fraud led to unprecedented mass protests all across the country, which were quelled by a severe, months-long crackdown on protesters.

Since then, the reformists have been practically ousted from the political arena in Iran, and the two men (Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi) who ran against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and challenged his victory in the presidential race have been under house arrest for nearly a year and a half.

Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have been under house arrest for nearly 1.5 years.

Iranian media report that the Intelligence Minister spoke at Tehran's Friday Mass prayers, saying: "Some of the leaders and links of the sedition think that they can return to the scene by infiltrating certain groups in order to once again challenge the Revolution and the system. But we are completely aware of these movements and will confront them."

He added that his ministry will see to it that the people are not faced with any more challenges.

"We will not allow the sedition and anti-Revolutionaries and their domestic and foreign plans to repeat the sedition of 2009," Moslehi said.

While the Intelligence Minister did not directly refer to reformist figures and Islamic Republic forces, his statements appear to refer to recent attempts by some reformist groups to create a space for reformist participation in the presidential elections set for 2013.

Former president Mohammad Khatami, a top reformist figure, has become more vocal recently in presenting the views of his political supporters.

... Payvand News - 07/08/12 ... --

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