June 24, 2005
Iran's runoff election candidatesBy Mehran Riazaty
Iranians today go to the polls for a runoff election. Although the mullahs approved all candidates allowed on the ballot, it is worthwhile examining them in their own words.
Rafsanjani vs. Ahmadinejad
Relations with the United States
Rafsanjani: 'I believe that if the Americans renounce their hostile stance and show goodwill, the road will be prepared for negotiations.'
Ahmadinejad: 'in the past, the Americans broke off relations with Iran to create pressure. If they want to re—establish them now it is for the same reasons. We do not want to have imposed relations.' 'The US administration cut off ties unilaterally to lay waste to the Islamic Republic. They want to restore them today for the same reason.'
Iran's nuclear program
Rafsanjani: 'I have always been hostile to the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction and nuclear weapons. But it is not acceptable for us to renounce (uranium) enrichment for civilian purposes.'
Ahmadinejad: 'The Iranians want to possess civilian unclear technology. The world should know that it can not contain this effort.' 'We do not need a nuclear weapon.' This does not correspond with our culture and Islamic beliefs.'
Rafsanjani: We have to increase the role of women in national decision making.
Ahmadinejad: 'I believe women have certain qualities, such as being responsible and precise.' Some draw fake line between men and women as if they were two different classes. We all belong to the same nation and must not have a sexist attitude.'
Rafsanjani: 'Our red line is the law. Everyone must apply the law, but I do not think that criticizing the Supreme Leader should be a reason to imprison somebody.'
Ahmadinejad: 'In our democratic system, liberty is already beyond what could be imagined.
February 24, 2004——Rafsanjani said that he is open to the idea of dialogue with the United States. He added that 'For me, talking is not a problem. But this is only if it was for me to decide on personally.'
Friday 27, 2004——Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani in the Tehran Friday Prayers said that the Iranian foreign policy has put a stop on its agenda the d�tente policy (towards U.S.), and that Iran would keep its door open to all states for cooperation except the United States and Israel.
Interview by USA Today's Barbara Slavin with, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, former president of Iran on February 6, 2005:
Following the victory of the Islamic revolution in 1979, Ahmadinejad, who holds a doctorate in engineering from the Iran University of Science and Technology, become a member of the Office for Strengthening Unity and reportedly supported the decision of its central committee to storm the US embassy in Tehran and take American diplomats as hostage.
Ahmadinejad was considered a leading counter—terrorism expert of the Iran's Revolutionary Guard. He was also given the responsibility for the execution of the fatwa for the assassination of Salman Rushdie.
Ahmadinejad's own words: "We did not have a revolution in order to have democracy".
According to a recent research by Harvard, the Iranian government has tightened its control over the internet, increasingly blocking content in its national language of Farsi and restricting what citizens can publish through Web journal.
On June 17, 05—— Iran's judiciary has shut two pro—reform dailies for printing a letter accusing Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of heading a system that abused people's votes. The liberal Eqbal and Aftab—e Yazd newspapers were sealed late on Sunday by order of the Tehran Prosecutor's Office. Issa Saharkhiz, a liberal journalist and former deputy culture minister said 'Both papers published a letter which was critical of Khamenei.' Criticizing the Supreme Leaders is a crime and many journalists have been tried and dozens of newspapers closed in Iran for similar offences in recent years.
Out of 46,786,418 eligible Iranian voters, 29,317,042 participated in recent persidential election in Iran. Ali Akbar Rafsanjani with 6,159,453 and Mahmud Ahmadinejad with 5,710,354 votes are going to compite with eachother in second round.
Ahmadinejad is strongy supported by son of Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei Mojtaba Khamenei, members of Revolutionary Guards, Basij, head of Iran' Parliament Adel Hadad (Daughter of Adel Hadad is wife of Mojtaba Khamenei), and many other fundamentalist groups in Iran.
It is intersting to know that Rafsanjani was humiliated by reformists in parliamentary polls in 2000 when he failed to gain a seat.
Iran's former parliament speaker Mehdi Karroubi, said that in the province of southern Khorasan there were 127,000 eligible voters, but 298,000 votes were counted.
Mehran Riazaty formerly worked as a media analyst, specializing on Iran, for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.