By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL
A screenshot from a hard-line Iranian pro-establishment website highlighting the difference between the cars used by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (right) and Said Jalili.
Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and the country’s top nuclear negotiator Said Jalili are believed to be among the main contenders in the June 14 presidential election. And there is increasing speculation that Jalili could be the establishment’s candidate to face Rafsanjani in the upcoming poll.
Long before the vote, hard-liners had begun campaigning for Jalili to run, while portraying him as a pious man. They have been presenting him as a devotee of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and as someone who leads a simple and modest life.
Rafsanjani, on the contrary, is considered to be one of Iran’s wealthiest men and has faced allegations of financial corruption.
This could be used by his opponents against him if he is allowed to run by the Guardians Council.
In recent days, photos of the cars Rafsanjani and Jalili used on May 11 to come to the Interior Ministry to register for next month’s vote have been posted side by side on a number of hard-line, pro-establishment websites.
The photos appear to show Rafsanjani being driven to the registry office in a polished, dark blue Mercedes. Jalili came in a Kia Pride, which is the most common car in Iran.
A caption on one of the websites highlighted the disparity, inviting readers to spot “the difference between Said Jalili’s car and Hashemi Rafsanjani’s!"
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